Holiday gatherings can be quite the challenge when you have food restrictions. Turning down Grandma’s special pumpkin pie or Aunt Millie’s amazing lasagne is emotionally trying, especially when everyone else is telling you how amazing they are.
But you owe it to yourself to have a great holiday, and no food, no matter how wonderful, is worth getting sick over.
There is no dish that tastes better than being well feels.
1 – Communicate
Talk with the host of the holiday meal. Explain that you (or your children) have food restrictions and in what types of foods and dishes the restricted item may be lurking. Explain that you don’t expect the host to readjust her menu just for you, but that often dishes can be easily altered to accommodate your needs without taking away from the dish. Ofter to show her how to make adjustments, but ONLY if she is open to the recommendations.
2 – Bring Safe Dishes
Bring a dish or two with you that is safe and that everyone will enjoy. Check with the host on what type of dishes she’d prefer you bring so you fit in well with her plans. Try a new twist on an old favorite or bring an entirely unique dish that others can indulge in, too. It will help others see that you can eat great food, too despite your restriction.
3 – Bring Back Up Food
Whenever I travel or go to a party, I always assume I won’t be able to eat anything. So, I pack safe provisions. This way, I won’t be tempted to eat something that could potentially be unsafe because I’m hungry. (Hunger does not help you make good eating decisions!) Even if I don’t need to use any of my back up food, having it helped keep my anxiety down.
4 – Eat Ahead of Time
Avoid showing up to a gathering hungry if you are not positive there will be safe dishes for you to eat. Again, I make much better food decisions when my stomach isn’t ruling my thoughts.
5 – Relax
Remember, the gathering isn’t about your food restrictions, it’s about spending time with others and celebrating the holiday. Don’t let unsafe food choices or poor preparation be the reason you don’t have a good time. Prepare, plan, and breathe. Make good choices and avoid anything you aren’t sure about. Being sick isn’t any fun – especially at a party and especially at the holidays. You deserve to have a good time.