Celebrating the Thanksgiving Holiday when Your Child Has Food Allergies
Thanksgiving Survival Tips
Thanksgiving is a holiday in the United States notable for overindulging on a large spread of traditionally prepared foods, many of which are laced with wheat, eggs, milk and other allergenic ingredients. A perfect holiday for many Americans includes eating a butter-basted turkey, creamy mashed potatoes, traditional bread stuffing and Grandma’s pumpkin pie - followed by leaving the table stuffed, loosening one’s belt, and then falling asleep in front of a football game on the TV.
Holidays like Thanksgiving that revolve around food can truly be challenges for families raising children with food allergies. The traditional meal for your family can present numerous allergy risks -- and the risks can be even greater if you are not preparing the meal yourself but relying on someone else to cook the meal. Is there any way around the stress and pressure of a holiday known for allergen-laden foods? Or can the foods be made safe for your food-allergic kids?
Additional Tips for Surviving the Holiday Season
Download KFA's free PDF booklet, Celebrating Thanksgiving with Food Allergies to find 12 food-free Thanksgiving craft and activities, strategies for making dinner and school safe and more!
There are different approaches to this challenge, including:
- Preparing the entire meal yourself at your home using safe ingredients.
- Helping family prepare the meal at their homes using safe ingredients.
- Preparing a safe meal for your child while letting the rest of your family enjoy their traditional favorites.
Your challenge is to decide what is right for your family and safe for your child.
Another approach to enjoying the holiday is to take the emphasis off food, and focus on other safe activities your whole family can enjoy together.
Don't be afraid to try new things with your family. Play your own football game. Volunteer to serve a meal at a homeless shelter (if your kids are old enough not to eat the food, of course!). Visit a state park. Take a walk in the woods. Play a board game, or start making some Christmas presents together.
Whatever you do - eat until you can't move, or stay away from the typical food altogether, or somewhere in between - have a happy Thanksgiving!
Updated November 2008 and November 2009.
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