Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Enjoying Holiday Parties When You Have Food Allergies

There’s nothing like walking into an office party, holiday dinner, or visiting friends during the December holidays and being unable to eat a lot of what’s being served. If you suffer from an allergy to dairy, nuts, eggs, or wheat, these can surely be trying times.
However, it’s not impossible to enjoy the holiday festivities and foods when you suffer from a food allergy. Some targeted questions and careful planning can help you avoid undue disasters and enjoy the season without too much fuss.
Choose vegan
Any true vegan recipe will not contain dairy, eggs, or honey – anything that comes from an animal is omitted. Many vegan recipes are quite satisfying and are based on nuts or legumes, great sources of protein, to provide texture and substance. (If you have a nut allergy, ask about ingredients ahead of time). Vegan dishes also imply vegetables and fruits so a vegan diet is a great way to make sure you eat plenty of these important parts of the food pyramid.
Go for the crudité and salads. 
Fresh vegetables are highly nutritious and avoid common food allergens. For people who need a gluten-free diet, try salads and side dishes—especially fruit, vegetable, and grain salads. You can enjoy dishes made with quinoa, oats, millet, buckwheat, rice, or corn; potato salads (depending on its ingredients and your restrictions) and vegetable dishes. Sweet potatoes, yams, and winter squashes make excellent, versatile bases for delicious cold-weather casseroles and soups everyone can enjoy with a little forethought.
Tree nuts or peanuts? 
Tree nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, almonds, and cashews grow on trees in shells; peanuts are actually legumes that grow in the ground on vines, just as beans do. However, both are common allergens (although people who are allergic to one type are not necessarily allergic to the other). If your nut allergy is severe, don’t hesitate to reveal this to your host or the restaurant and ask about menu ingredients to determine what is safe for you to eat. Bear in mind that many international foods are prepared with peanuts or other nuts in the sauces or as ingredients. Ask to read the labels of packaged foods as protection. Depending on what’s being served, you might want to eat at home first and then show up for worry-free fun with friends and family.
Avoid the egg nog. 
Egg nog contains eggs (obvious) and dairy. Drink water, juice, soft drinks, sparkling cider if eggs and dairy are allergens for you. Or ask about or bring a dairy-free variety made with soy or nut milk (if you can eat the eggs).
Whether you eat at home ahead of time, bring an all-in-one dish to the potluck, or call ahead to ask about what’s being served, the SensitiviTees family wishes you an enjoyable (and filling) holiday season!