Build Your Own Meal

An estimated 32 million Americans have one or more food allergies. When loved ones get together around the holidays (as COVID allows), dining out becomes a serious ordeal. Rather than risk a reaction during a family’s special meal, why not try making an allergen-free spread? Having a safe holiday is key to enjoying the winter months this year.

The top 8 food allergens in the United States are egg, fish, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts and wheat. From shrimp cocktail to buttery mashed potatoes to pecan pie, traditional holiday meals are full of potential hazards. Here are our top tips for serving a safe meal for all diners:

Don’t reinvent the wheel for a safe holiday

Instead of reworking traditional recipes, focus options that are already allergen-free. Roasted vegetables, broth-based soups and proteins like turkey and ham can all be easily made allergen-free. These can be a great foundation for someone dining with an allergy.

Get creative!

If your kitchen staff feels adventurous, there are tons of allergen-free substitutes for traditional ingredients on the market. Whether it’s a plant-based milk alternative or a legume-based flour, there is always a substitute available for baked goods and sauce thickeners, which can be sneaky sources of allergens. To take it to the next level, only look for ingredients that have been certified as allergen-free by Kitchens with Confidence!

Be mindful of cross-contact

This is a given in any kitchen environment, but during the holidays when new recipes and ingredients are around it’s critical to keep an eye on allergen-containing items. Set aside part of your storage that’s dedicated to allergen-free ingredients, and make sure that every container is properly labeled with the name of the product.This could also be a good time to invest in dedicated allergen-free kitchen equipment, like purple cutting boards.

With stress already being at an all-time high this holiday season, make sure all your guests feel safe when they dine with you. With a little planning and creativity, you can serve up a delicious allergen-free and safe holiday meal. If you want more info, make sure to check out our tips to having a healthier holiday!