As the holiday season approaches, many of our social calendars are being filled with holiday parties and family get-togethers. Good food, drinks and company always make for a festive atmosphere, but what happens if we have food allergies or intolerances? So many of the typical party foods are laden with gluten, dairy, you name it…which has the potential to stop us from enjoying the same refreshments that are on offer, especially if you are at a work function and don’t want to come off as the picky eater or play 20 questions with the party organizer about ingredients. And what if the party is after work and before dinner, and you’re HUNGRY? Here are a few tips that require a bit of proactive-ness and pre-planning on your part, but really could pay off at the end of the day and help you enjoy the festivities.
- Get involved. If there is a party planning or refreshments committee, get yourself on it! This way, you can read your own ingredient labels and have a say in the food that is served. Chances are that you’re not the only one with a food allergy/intolerance at the party, so you’ll be doing others a favor. This may seem like more work than you’re up for, but just see it as a gesture of generosity during the holiday season 🙂
- Speak to the organizers in advance. If you really don’t have the desire to help with the planning, speak to the people who are doing the planning. With the prevalence of food allergies and intolerances today, this shouldn’t be a totally foreign concept to them. You could even offer to bring some snacks or a dish of your own to contribute to the effort.
- Bring your own food. I’ve heard of many mom’s who bring treats for their allergic kids to birthday parties, but this may be a bit tougher to swing at an adult party. Obviously, how smoothly you can do this depends on the type of party and who’s there. If it’s mainly family and close friends, you may feel more comfortable whipping out your own food. If it’s a more formal gathering or a work party, you may just want to ignore the food and eat on your own before or after. Either way, just remember, it’s not like doing something so outrageous or creating trouble for anyone – you’re taking care of yourself, so own it and have fun!
- Eat beforehand. Make the party about the people and not the food by not showing up hungry. It’s always a good idea to keep some healthy snacks on hand to sustain you between meals, but it’s even more important when you know you’re going to parties or get-togethers where you just have no control over the food.
- Throw your own party! Why not add to the festivities with your own get-together where you can be in complete control of the food offered? You could even make it a pot-luck to get a good variety in!