How To Host a Person with a Food Allergy

For a person with allergies, the hardest place to eat is other people's homes. As a host you can make it a little easier by following these simple steps.

  1. Do a little research. Search the Internet and get yourself familiar with their allergy. Don't just assume that you know, because many foods have hidden ingredients.

  1. Review the menu with your guest. If you let them know ahead of time what you are serving, then they can help you provide foods they can eat. You can also ask them to drop by ahead of time and bring some foods for you to try and incorporate in the menu.

  1. Provide food labels and recipes. This is a huge help for you guest. If you have a "secret recipe," then write the ingredients down (without quantities or instructions, if you want to keep the secret). People with allergies are sensitive to any amount of the allergen, so they don't necessarily need to know the exact recipe. This is one of the easiest ways to ensure safety when you host a person with a food allergy.

  1. Let them bring their own food. If you have theme, like Mexican or Italian let them know. Whether they bring enough of their own meal to share, this is a great way to ensure your guest has safe food to eat. Let them know what you prefer that they do.

  1. Do not be offended or upset if your guest cannot have something you've made. Sometimes, even with the best of intentions and careful menu selection, hidden ingredients prevent you guest from partaking. Don't be upset!

  1. Remember that even very little of an allergen could make your guest ill. It is important to take the allergy seriously. Do not neglect to mention even the smallest amount of an allergen.

  1. Be mindful about cross contamination when preparing foods. Clean surfaces and utensils often. Keep foods with the allergen away from other foods.

  1. Be mindful of cross contamination when serving foods. When dips and spreads are used for several different foods, traces of allergens can be transferred to other foods. Also, if someone uses a utensil for the wrong dish or more than one dish, allergen transfer can result. It is easy to avoid by allowing the guests with the allergy to serve themselves (or serve them) first.

It is wonderful to share a meal with friends and family. For people with a food allergy, this is especially nice because they often feel isolated. They usually find it difficult to ask people to accommodate them. It takes you, the gracious host, to be sensitive to all your guest's needs.


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