Whether you're a parent of a child with food allergies or hosting guests with food allergies, you can glide through the holidays safely by using the following tips:

  • Always read food labels. Even if you think a food product is allergen-free, read the label. Food manufacturers change formulas often. This may introduce allergens into previously “safe” foods and beverages.
  • Try modifying traditional recipes using allergen-free ingredients. Focus on ‘like items’ when considering swaps: non-dairy milks for cow’s milk or naturally gluten-free grains for wheat (like buckwheat or alternative flours, like oat or almond flours). Eggs in recipes often can be substituted with ground, rehydrated flax or chia seeds.
  • Keep it clean. Prevent cross-contact and cross-contamination by creating separate preparation areas in your kitchen and having any helpers frequently wash their hands with warm, soapy water.
  • Communication is key. Communicate at the start that you would be more than happy to help with shopping or prep. This way, the host can feel comfortable and you can feel confident in the foods served. As a host, you may choose to prepare only “safe” foods and let guests know what they can and cannot bring.

A note about holiday gatherings during COVID-19…

Holidays can be fun and safe by having a small dinner with only people who live in your household. You can also prepare traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Deliver meals to their doorstep or in a way to reduce in-person contact. When preparing recipes for a smaller group, use one of many free online recipe converters to help you quickly resize your recipes.

Rev. 11/2020. MassGeneral Hospital for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital do not endorse any of the brands listed on this webpage. This webpage is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.