Top 5 Tips for Hosting an Allergy-Friendly Thanksgiving
It’s that time of year again! The smell of pumpkin spice and apple pie fill the air as we prepare for the kick-off to the holiday season. For many, time with friends, family, and loved ones, often means getting together to share a meal. This beautiful tradition can sometimes be stressful, especially when your loved ones have allergies you aren’t sure how to accommodate. That’s where we come in.
We have put together a guide to hosting an Allergy-Friendly Thanksgiving that’s sure to help you have a stress-free holiday season. Read on for our Top 5 Tips for Hosting an Allergy-Friendly Thanksgiving, brought to you by Queen Street Bakery’s Registered Dietitian – Alicia Lang, RD:
Get a list of allergies in advance
Before the big day, make sure your clear on any accommodations necessary for your group. Ask further questions if needed – it’s better to be over-prepared than make a mistake that could ruin someone’s holiday. Always talk to your guests before-hand to make sure you’re all on the same page!
Do your research on sneaky foods for the allergens you’re looking out for
Allergens can sneak up on you in places you may never expect. For example, gluten is found in many common sauces like Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce that may be used in your holiday recipes, making any dish that uses those ingredients unsafe for someone with Celiac disease, gluten intolerance or a wheat allergy.
Also be sure to check how you are storing your ingredients, as this may change the safety of the food. For example, many people store brown sugar with a slice of bread in it to keep the sugar from drying out. While this might be a great hack for most, it means that someone with celiac disease cannot eat anything made with that brown sugar. Best to buy a fresh bag in a case like this.
Cross contamination is a real threat to individuals with allergies. Before you start cooking for the day, be sure to clean your kitchen thoroughly to prevent any unintended risks. Be sure to only use cleaned and sanitized equipment like cutting boards and knives when preparing food. When your plan does not include a 100% allergen-free meal, be sure to make the allergen-free dishes FIRST.
Mark any unsafe foods
While you try your best, if you aren’t used to cooking for those with allergies, you might slip up and use an unsafe ingredient or cross contaminate. Or, not every dish may be easily made to accommodate for the allergies. Be honest about any slip ups, and let your guest know! Better to be safe than sorry. It’s okay, your guest will still be grateful you tried.
Cook foods separately.
A common thanksgiving meal often involves a stuffed turkey. While this is delicious, a turkey that is stuffed with bread is not safe for someone with celiac disease, even if they skip out on the stuffing itself. Try baking the stuffing in a dish on the side, rather than stuffing the bird itself.
Also, avoid baking allergen-free dishes & non-allergen-free dishes at the same time to create the safest environment possible.