Thanksgiving Prep: Guest with Allergies

Get tips on how to plan a Thanksgiving meal for guest with food allergies.
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When planning a big family meal, you want to accommodate friends and family with food allergies. Here are some tips and recipes to help take some of the pressure off.

Preparation Tips

Follow these four tips for allergen-free Thanksgiving success.

  1. Ask questions.

Don’t assume you understand the dietary restrictions of a loved one with a food allergy. It's better to inquire about what his or her specific needs are instead of guessing and getting it wrong.

  1. Plan out the menu.

There’s no need to give up on your favorite dishes. Decide what you want to make, identify potential allergens, then make some adjustments.

  1. Avoid cross-contamination.

Decide whether or not to make the entire meal allergen-free. If it makes more sense for you not to, avoid cross-contamination among cooking equipment, dishes and serving utensils.

  1. Make dishes ahead of time.

Prepare what you can a day or two ahead. Things are always more chaotic on the day of a holiday celebration; the more that’s prepared ahead of time, the more you can enjoy your company.

Allergy-Friendly Recipes

It’s fairly simple to make a roasted turkey free of common allergens like gluten, dairy and nuts, but appetizers, sides and desserts can be more difficult.

Gluten-Free

Breads and other starchy side dishes tend to get scratched off the menu because of the gluten content. There are plenty of gluten-free baked goods you can make, plus many Thanksgiving staples — like potatoes — are naturally gluten-free.

Dairy-Free

You can make creamy and decadent appetizers and desserts without a drop of cheese, milk, yogurt, butter or cream.

Nuts

You may not have noticed, but nuts are often hiding all over a Thanksgiving spread. You’ll find them in everything from crackers and green bean casserole to stuffing and even apple desserts.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

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