So you’re planning on hosting the party of the year, and one of your attendees has a food allergy. You know that food allergies are serious and that you’ll need to take certain steps to ensure your friend or loved one is safe, but maybe you’re not quite sure where to start.
No need to stress! We’re here to share a quick and easy beginner’s guide for hosting parties with food allergic guests in mind.
Tip #1: Transparency is Everything
If you don’t have much experience preparing and serving meals for people with food allergies, you’re not alone. Luckily, you already have a pro in your corner! Reach out to your food allergic friend or loved one and ask them specific questions that will help you understand how to keep them safe. You can ask questions like:
“Is there anything you’d like to be kept out of the kitchen entirely?”
“What do I need to do when preparing everyone’s food to keep you safe?”
“Can you show me how to check a food label so I know what ingredients are safe to buy?”
There’s a good chance that your guest will be more than happy to share their needs and have an open discussion with you about their experience with allergies. Asking for accommodations can feel isolating for food allergic folks, so being open to learning is a great way to show them that their comfort and safety is what’s most important to you.
Tip #2: Many Hands Make Light (Allergy-Friendly) Work
If you have the space, inviting your food allergic guest to help you cook for the party is a great way to make sure food preparation and allergen label reading is done properly. Plus, it’s always nice to have a friend keep you company during a long day of party prep! Plan ahead to securely store any food or ingredients that might cause them a reaction and fully disinfect the surfaces of your kitchen while you wait. That way, when they arrive, you can get straight to cooking.
If your guest isn’t able to help out ahead of time, you can always ask them to bring a shareable “safe dish” so that they have something to enjoy at the party. Just remember to store it separately to avoid cross contamination with other non-allergy friendly food.
Tip #3: Safety First? Serve First!
The easiest way to ensure guests with food allergies are safe is to omit their allergen (or allergens) from the party entirely. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible. In the event that you must serve foods that aren’t safe for your friend or loved one, here are a few ways you can avoid cross contamination between “safe foods” and “unsafe foods”:
- Fully disinfect your countertops and cooking supplies (pots, pans, utensils, cutting boards, etc.) before cooking
- Prepare all food allergy friendly dishes FIRST and store in clean containers before starting on “unsafe” dishes
- When you’re completely done cooking, remember to disinfect your workspace, wash, dry, and store all supplies that were used, and wash your hands thoroughly
- Invite your food-allergic guest to serve themselves using clean serving utensils first before inviting anyone else to dig in
- Ask all guests to wash their hands after eating and clear dirty dishes away from common spaces frequently
Tip #4: Maintain an Attitude of Gratitude
Without experiencing food allergies yourself, it’s difficult to fully understand the stress of having to advocate for your safety everywhere you go. You can make a huge difference to food allergic guests by thanking them for sharing their experiences and for helping you learn more about their condition. Remind them that taking a few extra precautions is no big deal compared to how much fun it is having them around!
With some preparation and collaboration, hosting a party that all of your guests can enjoy safely is a breeze. If you attend parties as a person with food allergies, don’t forget to send this guide to your hosts ahead of time and let us know what other pro tips you like to share with friends and family. Happy partying!
About Intrommune Therapeutics
At Intrommune, we are dedicated to improving and protecting the lives of the over 220 million people worldwide who suffer from life-altering food allergies. Our revolutionary oral mucosal immunotherapy (OMIT) treatment platform is a patient-friendly solution that conveniently incorporates allergy immunotherapy into a patient’s established teeth brushing routine. Our lead product, INT301, is in Phase 1 clinical trials for peanut allergy desensitization.
Explore our website to learn more about our mission to develop simple, safe and easy-to-use solutions for food allergy sufferers so that they and their loved ones can live their lives without fear.
Blog cover image by Artem Kniaz, licensed for use under the Unsplash License.