…'til you wobble! This is a very busy and exciting time of year for obvious reasons! It is also a very stressful time of year for those of us managing food allergies. Coordinating menus and pleasing everyone can be a tall task, but it does not need to forecast a holiday season of stress. We all can safely enjoy the holidays with a little prep and planning. Part of enjoying the event, holiday, etc is enjoying the journey! This is a great week to start planning your menu and doing the research needed to determine how foods are prepared to avoid cross contamination, decoding the ingredient list to determine any hidden dangers, and educating family members about your family's food allergies. For us, the last piece regarding education consists of reminding extended family that we do have kids who are severely allergic to nuts, peanuts and eggs. The nuts pose the greatest challenge for our family since we ALL love nuts and love to use them to adorn our delicious desserts and side dishes (ie. pralines, pecan pie, sweet potato casserole with crushed pecan topping, etc..) We are very thankful to be blessed with family that is accommodating. Rather than have a 'forbidden list' for our family, we ask that those foods all be grouped together and placed out of the way (ie. middle of serving area, not easily accessible by the kiddos). Then we review our food allergy rule with the kids (ages 3 and 5 years): RULE #1. Do NOT eat anything until it is approved by either of us--YOUR PARENTS--not grandma or grandpa. We also stress that just because you have eaten it before does not mean that you can eat it again. This is what works for us right now. There is no perfect way to navigate the food allergy world of the holidays other than to be practical and reasonable. Sanity is appropriate this time of year to keep you jolly, right?
I wanted to mention that one of the policies that Dairy Allergy Mom and I worked to have included in our school's food allergy policy was recently implemented at our childrens' Halloween party. Learning from a prior incident involving class parties and, separately, from my child's preschool class food policy, Dairy Allergy mom and I thought it would be helpful to other room parents and helpers, to identify the food allergy students with a bright yellow sticker indicating that they have food allergies. The teachers and parents liked the idea. The stickers are for the elementary students.
Special blessings for all of our Veterans and many thanks from HFAN. Please thank a Veteran for his/her service. We all do what we do because of them. THANK YOU for your service!