Food Allergies Ruining Your Holiday Plans? Fork It!

Making Mealtime TraditionsThe holidays are upon us- creeping up around the corner and taunting us, reminding us that food shall be everywhere soon. If your kids have food allergies, do you hide? Do you stay home and make your own safe feast? Or, do you accept someone else’s invitation and imagine that it could be just that simple. Before you gasp and start to list the reasons of why you should not do this, let’s go over the reasons of why you should.

Spreading knowledge I know most of us are up to our eyeballs with how many times we have tried to educate others on living with food allergies. I still stand by my word- knowledge is power. The more that you help others learn about the foods that you can have and the recipes that they can also make easily and safely, the more they will feel empowered to do so. What you do need to remember is that this requires a lot of patience and courage on your part to make sure that all of the safety details are passed on as well.

Bonding time What better way to have an excuse to spend extra time with friends and family than to grab a bunch of food?! Because having food allergies often means extra preparation for those who don’t normally handle food allergies, this is the perfect way to finally catch up and make some edible items. By doing so in a social situation rather than the actual day of a holiday, there is less tension in the air, less worry of serving a meal on time and more chance that the food allergy-free lesson will be remembered.

Eating Because, let’s face it, we all love to eat. Nobody can tell me that the smell of good cooking and great conversation leading to a full belly is a bad thing (as long as it’s done safely). Rather than thinking of all of the reasons not to eat, think of all of the reasons that we should eat. Don’t fear the food- be cautious, be prepared but don’t feel that your life should be limited by a diet that is different. Even with food allergies, you have the ability to indulge.

Learn to enjoy the holidays again Even if you are not at ease with having someone else cooking for you; remember that the holidays are meant to be a time full of joy. Obviously, how you decide to do this is up to you but looking back, do you most remember the bad things or do you cherish the good things? Use your favorite recipes and cook. Plan your menus ahead of time to make it easier on yourself.  Start new memories of your own and see how others also begin using your recipes in the coming years.

Recreate a food that you always wanted to try but didn’t. Who says that stuffing has to be made from bread? Why does pie have to have milk when there are so many dairy free options to try? Research recipes and products that you can use, add and tweak ingredients and just go for it. The best part if tasting- for you, for your family and you get to lick the spoon.

Celebrate yourself too because you deserve a pat on the back for everything that you do on a daily basis. It’s ok to acknowledge that your life is different from people who do not have food allergies. It’s ok to tell everyone how you had a horrible recipe experience and the food was just awful. This happens to everyone, every day and it’s not just with food allergies- it’s with every single person that cooks anything. Being honest about what you accomplish is a great way to boost your own morale. It’s also another way to encourage others to try some of the foods that can be offered to you at a future gathering.

Enjoy the holidays, eat well and be happy with all that you have been given over the past year. When you invite positive thoughts, more are sure to follow. Don’t put the fork down- pick it up.

Need a new holiday recipe? I am sharing one of my favorite recipes with all of you-

Mahogany Rice & Quinoa Stuffing 

  • Gluten Free Stuffing1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Minced Onion
  • 4-5 Apple Chicken Sausage (cut into pieces)
  • Baking Spray
  • 1 1/2 Cups cooked Lundberg Family Farms Black Japonica Rice
  • (cooked in organic chicken broth)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Cooked Quinoa
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Rosemary
  • 1/2 – 1 Cup Already Roasted Brussels sprouts*
  • Sea Salt to Taste

*To roast Brussels Sprouts, heat the oven to 400°, chop clean Brussels Sprouts in half and toss with oil, garlic and sea salt. Stir to prevent burning on one side.

  1. Using a medium frying pan, heat the oil using medium heat. Add the onion and sauté. Add the sausage and stir until sausage is browned. Set aside.
  2. Lightly oil a large casserole dish with baking spray. Combine the cooked rice, quinoa and rosemary.
  3. Using a mini chopper, chop the Brussels sprouts until it is in small pieces. Mix into the casserole dish. Next, add the chicken sausage either as bite sized pieces or ground in the mini chopper. Add sea salt to taste.  Use this to stuff the turkey or bake at 350° and serve as a side dish.

Makes approximately 6 servings

About the Author

Tracy Bush is the founder and President of Nutrimom, Inc., also known as Nutrimom - Food Allergy Liason, a consulting business that specializes in providing guidance and support for anyone that has been diagnosed with food allergies. Tracy helps others with simple steps, such as finding safe, wholesome foods to supplement allergenic foods, where to shop and how to maximize their budget while adjusting to their dietary change. You can view additional information about what she does as well as her new e-book "The Stepping Stones to Food Allergies" at www.AllergyPhoods.com. Tracy is a member of the PedSafe Expert team

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