Have you invited friends and family over for dinner and are aware that some of your guests have food allergies? Here’s five simple steps you can follow to help your food allergic guests feel included, comfortable, and safe eating in your home:
1. Involve Guests in the Planning
Families with food allergies don’t expect to be pampered guests at meal gatherings. They are ready and prepared to help you plan food dishes that are safe for them and most of the time will offer to bring some of the food items that require ingredients which may not be as easy for you to find.
2. Say “No” to Nuts
If the food allergic family you are hosting has toddler-age children that are known for picking random objects up off the floor and placing them in their mouths, opt to avoid nuts or peanuts in any of the food that you serve. Nuts and peanuts are not only among the 8 most common food allergens likely to cause anaphylaxis, but also easy to drop on the floor and look attractive to young toddlers in the exploratory stages. Even a small crumb or trace of the food touching the tongue, or eyes of someone who is allergic can cause a serious reaction. Consider also any other foods containing your guests allergens that may easily crumble to the floor or cause airborne reactions.
3. Implement Allergen Controls
Cross contact can easily occur in a kitchen where meals for food allergy families are not normally prepared. Review this helpful booklet from FARE to ensure proper safety precautions are in place to keep your guests safe. Remember to ask all of your guests to wash their hands with soap and water before and after eating to minimize risk of passing food proteins on to your food allergic guests.
4. Separate Serving Spoons for Every Dish
Make sure each item on the dinner table has it’s own serving spoon, and ensure that each spoon stays with and is used only on the dish where it was placed. Simply using the same spoon to serve two different dishes can cause cross-contact issues that can be harmful.
5. Separate Safe Food From Unsafe Food
If you are serving the food buffet style, simply arranging the food so that the safe items are placed at a distance from the unsafe items provides an added layer of protection against cross-contact.
6. Food Allergic Families First
When it’s time to eat, allow your food allergic guests to serve their family’s food first. This gives them the added piece of mind that cross contact between safe and unsafe dishes has not accidentally taken place.
Are you hosting a large party or pot luck event? Click here to discover a quick way to ensure your food allergic guests have something available to enjoy, then stick around and subscribe to our site or join our social network for more party food ideas from Allergy Cookie.