Did you know that as many as 15 million Americans have food allergies? If you’re a bubbly holiday traveler like me, chances are you will meet someone with a food allergy this season – at a party, special event, or even in the air. Here are steps to take to stay safe, whether you’re taking care of your own allergy or accommodating a friend of family member.
A long-time friend and food allergy advocate, Eleanor Garrow-Harding, president and CEO of the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Connect Team (FAACT) shared a few tips on how to enjoy a food allergy-friendly holiday.
As a Host or Hostess
Plan and discuss in advance any dishes that might be brought into your home. Gently advise your guests of meals that are less likely to contain specific allergens.
As a Guest
Offer to come a little early to help cook, clean and set-up to help avoid any risk of cross contamination with other dishes. Believe me – it will be greatly appreciated. Consider preparing an additional meal for your little ones to share with others.
Plan your route and consider packing extra allergen-friendly meals and snack, in case you can’t stop along the way. Aim to eat a filling meal prior to traveling to give you more flexibility on stops.
Visit a restaurant that you can trust. If in doubt, research the restaurant and consider calling ahead to inform the chef or manager. Be certain to let your server know and think about visiting at a time that is less busy.
Traveling by Air
This is a time when you have to be extra careful and cautious. A few tips for the air traveler with allergies: Plan, prepare, and pack. Plan ahead in case you miss a chance to grab a bite at an airport. Especially for children, prepare enough allergen-friendly snacks and products to pack in your carry-on.
During any trip, always be prepared for those unexpected emergencies and situations. Always have available medical IDs, extra medications, safe snacks, and—most importantly – emergency plans. Additional details about traveling with food allergies are available on FAACT’s Travel Checklist.
Here’s wishing you a very happy, allergy-friendly holiday this season!
Tony is allergic crustacean shellfish (shrimp, crab, lobster).