Allergy Friendly Holiday Ideas

There are so many holidays that center around food and it can be a tricky time for children and parents who have food related allergies or sensitivities. According to Guifeng Xu, MD;Linda G. Snetselaar, PhD; Jin Jing, MD, PhD, et al in their study on children with Autism that was published in 2018, found that children with Autism were more likely to have a range of allergies from food to topical and respiratory. 

If you find yourself in this demographic, here are some ways to prepare for allergy friendly meals and snacks. 

  • Communicate your child’s needs
    • It can be difficult to communicate with a large number of people what your children’s allergies entail but it can be helpful to create a list of things they can do to help. Whether that be purchasing snacks that can accommodate your child’s needs, sanitizing an area properly, and creating an environment for your child to be comfortable at a gathering. 
  • Bring preferred snacks and materials to sanitize
    • Prepare ahead of time with snacks and things to sanitize that will create a relaxing environment for all 
  • Help your child to learn and advocate for their needs
    • Find ways to have your child to identify what they can and can not eat or be near and be able to communicate that with others. This will help them to independently communicate their needs when you can not be with them.
  • Teach family members or friends to read labels 
    • Show your family members or friends how you live in an allergy friendly environment by modeling to them what you do or how you read labels for allergy information. This will help them to assist you and your child’s needs. 
  • Suggest activities that do not involve food
    • When your family or friends are brainstorming ways to connect and meet up for the holidays, suggest some activities that do not include food such as crafts, board games or movies that your child can participate in. 

Works Cited

Xu G, Snetselaar LG, Jing J, Liu B, Strathearn L, Bao W. Association of Food Allergy and Other Allergic Conditions With Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children. JAMA Netw Open. 2018;1(2):e180279. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.0279