Parties and Potlucks with Allergies

My husband and I love going out to visit friends and family! Whether it's a picnic in the park, a holiday party, a game night, or just a small gathering, we enjoy seeing people. And whenever we do, there's usually food involved. Anything from snacks to a full meal can be shared at these gatherings. And if you're watching what you eat, this can be challenging.

No matter if you have allergies or are just trying to eat healthy, get-togethers can be tricky when it comes to eating. For myself, I have tree-nut allergies, I must eat gluten free, plus I'm trying to eat healthy. Most food at a gathering has potential to make me sick.

Fortunately, I've learned to adapt and find ways to still enjoy visiting people! Here are some tips to help you have a little more control of what you eat when at a party.

First of all, don't hesitate to talk to the host before the event and talk about your allergies. Once you take your concerns to them, most people are very open to helping you enjoy the party. Help them understand your needs, and have a list of suggestions for minor changes that can make all the difference. Leaving the nuts on the side of the salad instead of mixed in. Making sure the BBQ sauce on the pulled pork is gluten free. Simple things that mean you can eat with everyone else. My family has been great about making small changes that have helped me not get sick. Most people are completely willing to help if you make a few suggestions.

If it's a potluck, make sure you take something you can eat! It doesn't make sense to take food you cannot eat, and then complain about the lack of choices. I love to take brownies to activities. Super healthy, I know! When I take my frosted, super rich, gluten free brownies, people are stunned that they are gluten free. Show people that you can still enjoy what you eat!

If you're eating at a potluck, don't be afraid to ask questions. Ask who made the food, what they put in, what sauce they used. Make sure you get the recipe if it's something you can eat and enjoy! Most people love to share their recipes and don't mind the questions. For me, I would rather ask than be sick from eating something I wasn't sure about.

Eat a little snack before you go, if you're not sure what options you will have. That way you aren't starved, desperate and miserable at the party. I've been there. Nothing but salad to eat and I'm starving. Added benefit- if you have the snack before, you're not as likely to binge at a potluck. You eat less!

One last tip: have an emergency snack in your purse or car. No one else has to see it! But if you can't find anything to eat, it's so much better to have something you know is safe. Excuse yourself for a moment, go eat something, and go back in. I have a gluten free granola bar in my purse at all times. While it's not tons, if there's nothing else to eat, it is a life saver!

Here's one of my newest favorites for potlucks- a gluten free version of the Chinese cabbage salad. No ramen noodles, but still great flavor and crunch! Enjoy!

Gluten Free Chinese Cabbage Salad

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    Brenda Lower
    Monthly Newsletter Contributor since 2015
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