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Parties, relatives and food, oh dear!

Does simply the thought of family gatherings with food allergies and gluten sensitivity make your head spin?

Would you like to feel a bit more relaxed, confident and prepared before attending Aunt Bea’s birthday party, your next holiday event or the grand anniversary celebration?


Here are some tips to help you safely manage these special yet sometimes stressful events.

Ask these 7 questions.


  1.  Is the event venue safe?

  • Find out ahead of time where the event will be held and determine if the venue is hazardous. For example, if the event is going to be held at a seafood restaurant and you or a family member are allergic to shellfish, then you might want to pass or join the party after the meal.
  • If the event is going to be held at an acceptable restaurant, speak with the manager or chef ahead of time and inquire about allergy or gluten free menu items.


  1.  What is being served?

  • Speak with the host/hostess prior to the event and explain your or your child’s dietary restrictions.  Ask if there will be any food that may be safe to eat or offer to bring your own food.
  • If there’s an event coordinator, consider speaking directly with that person or the chef and communicate their food recommendations with the host/hostess.


  1.  What can I bring?

  • Offer to bring snacks, an entree or dessert so that you know there will be a safe option.
  • Consider making enough for others to enjoy.


  1.  Are you hungry?

  • Eat before leaving the house so that you aren’t famished when you arrive and tempted to eat food before thoroughly investigating whether or not it’s safe.
  • If you arrive full, you may choose not to eat at all and instead enjoy the company of the guests without being worried about feeling ill or having a reaction.


  1. Do we have medication? 

  • Make sure you have Epinephrine auto-injectors on the way out the door!
  • Carry 2 auto-injectors,  Benadryl , inhalers and any other necessary emergency medications since as much as you plan, accidental ingestions do occur.


  1. Should I host the event?

  • Consider hosting that event or future events so that you have more control over the food.
  • If you do decide to host, you may wish to provide all of the food.  If others are contributing, suggest specific items for them to bring such as drinks, paper products, decorations, or prepackaged foods.


  1. What non-food centered activities or traditions can we start?

  • Brainstorm and think of alternative activities for the future that don’t involve food such as attending sporting events, musicals, movies, plays.
  • Involve the kids, be creative!


I hope these 7 questions have given you some ideas to help you navigate and enjoy special events with family and friends.



Do you have any tips to share?  Please comment below.


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7 Tips for Navigating Family Gatherings with Food Allergies and Gluten Sensitivity

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