Tips for Allergy-Friendly Social Events with Family and Friends

allergyfriendlyfamilygathering

With Labor Day coming up and the holiday season quickly approaching in the fall, why not start thinking about creating allergy-friendly social events with your family and friends now?

Social events with family and friends can be extremely stressful if everyone is not on the same page. It is not uncommon for family members and friends to continue to serve foods that present a danger to your child after they have been diagnosed with a food allergy. In most cases, they don’t do it to be mean or to exclude your child. Although sometimes strangers or acquaintances genuinely do not care if any particular child is excluded (which is sad but true), most people are willing to create a safe environment for their friends and family.

As with most situations, communication is crucial. Once your child is diagnosed with a food allergy, it makes sense to sit down with your friends and family to discuss any upcoming holidays or “get-togethers.” Let friends and family know ahead of time what precautions need to be taken in order to keep your child safe. Together, you can decide who will be hosting which events, where they will be held, what types of foods will be served, and what the expectations are for everyone involved. While you may not agree on every detail right away, this will give you a good start. The most important thing is to ensure your child’s physical and emotional well-being with a little forethought and planning.

Here are a few tips to get everyone on the same page and create a safe and fun environment for your child:

  •  Speak to the host ahead of time.
  •  Express your desire to work together to create a safe and enjoyable time for everyone.
  •  Make sure that host and other guests are aware of your child’s allergies.
  • Ask the host about menu plans and if she would like for you to bring any safe dishes to share with the other guests.
  • Share ideas for safe dishes.
  • If you are comfortable with the host preparing food for your child, be sure to explain to her the importance of label reading and how to avoid cross-contact. You may want to suggest some safe brands for her to use, as well.

I often recommend bringing food to any social gathering so that you know your child has something that she can safely eat. If you bring enough for everyone, then she is less likely to feel different or left out. With that being said, sometimes it’s not feasible for everyone to eat exactly the same foods, especially if you are managing multiple children with multiple food allergies but the effort, when possible, is usually appreciated by everyone involved.

I would love to hear your tips for creating safe and fun social gatherings. Please feel free to leave a comment below.

About Tiffany deSilva

Hi I'm Tiffany deSilva, MSW, CPC, CHC, Founder of BrightFire Living, LLC. I am a social worker, speaker, author, certified health, wellness and lifestyle coach, certified green living coach and toxic-free consultant. I am passionate about helping women like you to detox each area of your life, safeguard your family's health, and live life fully charged and completely lit up! I am on a mission to empower women and families who are managing food allergies, autoimmune disorders, and other modern chronic health conditions to live a safe, happy, and healthy life that truly lights your fire!

Feedback & Comments:

  1. I always just bring my own safe dishes (that anyone is more than welcome to have!)

  2. Social settings can be so hard with allergies, glad to see other people planning ahead for those times!

  3. I love your tips- I always tell people to talk with the host ahead of time too! People can feel very shy about this but it ends up being more beneficial for everyone. I also bring enough of at least one dish that I can eat for everyone, that way I know I can eat for sure!

  4. Great info. I always try and bring my own food that a) people can share and b) I know that I can eat!

  5. Thank you- especially with the long weekend and lots of social outings coming up :)

  6. These are great tips, especially if you’re new to allergies and are feeling lost how to address these issues!

    • Tiffany deSilva says:

      Thanks, Keeley! There is a lot to consider with food allergies, especially for someone newly diagnosed.

  7. I love these tips! It’s all about respect and collaboration.

    • Tiffany deSilva says:

      Thank you, Georgianna! I like that you highlighted respect and collaboration. Those to things go a long way in navigating many areas of our lives.

  8. We have this all too often…thanks for the great tips Tiffany!

  9. Good tips Tiffany! I tend to always say “oh we will bring something for Little Man,” but I forget the sometimes, sometimes, hostesses truly want us to allow them to do for us. I cherish friends like that and can generally pick up on when they “get it” and when the don’t. So I bring something just in case, but try to do my best in supporting them and the try to cater so lovingly to us.

  10. Fantastic tips! I love when my family takes the time to make our get together’s work for my celiac disease. Makes me feel loved!

  11. These are all such great tips! Thanks for sharing.

  12. Great tips! Thanks for sharing!

  13. These are great tips Tiffany! This is an area that can never be covered enough, as it’s so hard for people to understand and cater to the different dietary needs – they need help!

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