Foodie Friday: Holidays and food allergies

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Food is such an integral part of our lives…..and around the holidays, it seems to take on an even greater importance. Holiday traditions often revolve around food–Christmas cookies, the Yule log (our Christmas Eve dessert), latkes on Hannukah, turkey and stuffing on Thanksgiving, pies, sweets, cranberry sauce….the list goes on and on. And if one of your children has a food allergy, well, then these fun holiday traditions are full of potential issues, tantrums or epipen moments.

My babies get wheat for the first time. Yum, gluten.
My babies get wheat for the first time. Yum, gluten.

We have been lucky, so far, to have kids who are allergy free except for an issue with amoxicillian. However, we have close family members with Celiac’s and a constellation of other allegies, including eggs, nuts, peanuts, peas and chickpeas. Seriously, who knew people were allergic to chickpeas? But I digress. Now, our Thanksgiving dinners have gluten (wheat) free stuffing (not as good, but the sausage is a nice touch). We can’t add chestnuts either due to the nut issue. And pies are out for the Celiac. I once ate a gluten free, egg free, nut free, dairy free cake at a toddler’s birthday. It wasn’t the tastiest cake I’ve ever had (ok, not even on the top ten) but it had a pile of frosting and candles and the birthday boy in question didn’t seem to notice a difference. Meatloaf gets made with rice as a binder, instead of egg & breadcrumbs (not bad at all). And, did you know you can buy dairy free, egg free cookie mixes? Or dairy free margarine?

I’ve learned a lot about allergies in the past six years or so. For those of you dealing with food allergies, what are your tricks to getting through the holidays? What recipe can you not live without? What food substitution works well for you? How do you make tasty holidays meals for everyone in your family?

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8 thoughts on “Foodie Friday: Holidays and food allergies”

  1. We also have Celiacs in the family. For Thanksgiving I often make a pecan pie, but before I put the filling in the pie crust, I reserve a portion to be cooked sans crust in a small dish.

    I agree that a delicious frosting can make you almost forget that a cake is gluten-free. If buying frosting in a can, make sure to check the ingredients, as at least one major manufacturer puts wheat in theirs.

    We serve gluten-free crackers with cheese, smoked salmon, etc. for appetizers. Those with Celiac disease also often bring their own gluten-free bread when visiting.

    I save those tiny jars of jam from hotel breakfasts and have them out for those with Celiac, so that they don’t have to use our “contaminated” jars of jelly and jam.

    I make a yummy sausage and lentil soup that is gluten free. It freezes well and is good to have on hand for visitors.

  2. My husband has a very rare condition called ‘exercise-induced anaphylaxis’. That essentially means that he has a long (long) list of allergies and if he eats any of those things and then exercises at all ( work, sports, aerobic exercise, etc), he goes into anaphylactic shock. His worst allergy is to peanuts. He can’t even be in the same room as people eating peanuts or the peanut dust can cause him to start reacting immediately. Because of this, when we are going to parties (family or otherwise), we mention the peanut allergy and ask if we can do things peanut-free. We’ve never had a problem to date. As far as the other food is concerned, we always bring food with us and my husband eats what we bring and then whatever else he can. He tends to be embarrassed if people know all the things he’s allergic to, so he’d prefer to eat what he can and then grab something at home. My kids are too little to know what they can and can’t eat, but we hope to teach them that there will be things that they can’t eat and that it’s okay to not eat everything when they go to parties. We have lots of ‘undercover’ ways to ask what’s in stuff like ‘oh, that looks (or smells) great! What’s in it?’ or ‘mmm, that smells like celery. Is there celery in that?’ That works for us and we’re able to stay safe and not have the stigma of being ‘un-invitable’ to parties because of our allergies. We’ve had multiple instances of people inviting us to parties and then after finding out about our allergies, have never invited us over again.

  3. We have multiple, severe food allergies, including peanuts, eggs, and milk. For Halloween, I make up a goodie basket with safe candy, toys, stickers, etc. before we go trick-or-treating. When we come back, I read all the labels, and for every piece of candy I have to take away (basically everything), my son gets to pick out an item from the safe basket.

  4. Hi! My son is allergic to soy, peanuts, eggs, wheat and dairy. I had a hard time finding food to feed him, so I started making my own recipes. I started a website , to help other people with food allergies. There is a food allergy blog and allergy friendly recipes.



  5. Food allergy affects an estimated 6 to 8 percent of children under age 5, and about 3 to 4 percent of adults. While there’s no cure, some children outgrow their food allergy as they get older. It’s easy to confuse a food allergy with a much more common reaction known as food intolerance. While bothersome, food intolerance is a less serious condition that does not involve the immune system. “..:^

    Look out for our web portal too

  6. For us, it’s my kids that have the food allergies and intolerances! So we usually have everyone round to our house. It’s tiring for me to keep cooking for everyone but it’s easier than trying to negotiate food choices with multiple different people.

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