The holidays are a particularly difficult time for people with allergies. We want to partake in the festivities and great food, but the consequences aren’t usually worth it. I do indulge sometimes but over the course of the holiday season the constant consumption of wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, peanuts and highly refined foods are simply too much for my body.

How do you plan for guests like me? What steps do you take to ensure we have a pleasant experience?

I saw a cartoon once from the New York Times where all 10 Thanksgiving guests had different allergies or diet restrictions that made it impossible for the host to cater to them.  Here’s some of those examples and how you can plan accordingly:  

Lactose-intolerant: No dairy products, such as milk and milk-based products including creams, butter, yogurt and cheese (some people can’t tolerate soy or eggs, either). It’s best to ask what they can eat and if they’ll like to bring a dish they can have. Some can eat small amounts of these products in a dish or two, but more simply can’t have it in any form. Lactose is often found in boxed, canned, frozen, packaged and prepared foods. Opt for salads and sides such as green beans. Olive oil and lemon (with sea salt) also makes a great natural dressing substitute.

Vegan: No meat, dairy, eggs, seafood for most or any processed foods containing animal-derived ingredients including highly-refined foods. Raw meals and plant foods work best. There are great recipes that other guests would enjoy that fall in this category; check bookstores or go online. Include nuts and seeds, lightly steamed vegetables, and raw veggies for dinner. Some vegetarians will enjoy the sides such as stuffing, tofu, pumpkins, etc., based on the ingredients, of course.

Lacto-ovo-vegetarian: No beef, pork, poultry, fish, shellfish or animal flesh, but eggs and dairy products are fine. Note: a lacto-vegetarian eats eggs but not dairy products, and an ovo-vegetarian doesn’t eat meat or dairy but eats eggs.

Do know anyone with allergies? What are some of the meals you’ve prepared for them? Are there dishes all of your guests enjoyed as well?

A journalist by trade, Corinne has written for both the military and civilian populations. She has a Master's in Writing and Bachelor's in English. She is also a military spouse and her family is currently stationed at Fort Hood.

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