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  • Writer's pictureClaire Wellbeloved-Stone

Thanksgiving with Food Sensitivities and Allergies

It is almost that time of the year, when people brave the congested highways and busy airports to travel home for Thanksgiving. We have shared tips before about navigating airport security with medical supplies and liquid supplements, accessible train travel, booking hotels, finding accessible bathrooms, and managing anxiety on the road. Since Thanksgiving is a holiday that revolves around eating, we decided to turn our focus to food for this post. Whether you are hosting a Thanksgiving feast or attending a dinner at a friend or family’s home, there are many ways to make Thanksgiving friendly to those with allergies or food sensitivities.

General Tips

As a host you may have guests who have allergies or food sensitivities. Communicating clearly ahead of time will help make sure that everyone has a good holiday. If you are the host it is important to know whether your guest cannot eat a dish that has an allergen in it, or if their allergy is more severe and is airborne or can be triggered by something being prepared on the same cutting board. It may also be helpful to keep the allergen-free dishes on a separate table or surface. Everyone has different reactions, so it is best to speak with your guests who have allergies and sensitivities so that you can understand what will make for a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving for all.

As a guest it is also important to plan ahead. If you have allergies or food sensitivities, make sure to communicate this with your host. Have a plan for whether you will be able to eat some of the dishes, if you are bringing something to share, or if you are bringing your own food to supplement the meal. Food Allergy Research & Education posted some helpful tips on how to have a safe Thanksgiving with food allergies.

Recipes and Substitutions

Cooking for Thanksgiving can be both wonderful and stressful at the same time. Whether you are cooking the entire meal or bringing a dish to share, we have compiled some recipes to help you create classic dishes without allergens. Gluten-free stuffing can be made with gluten-free bread or with cauliflower. If you normally thicken your gravy with flour and are looking for a gluten-free alternative, there are several ways to do so, such as cornstarch, tapioca, or pureed vegetables.

Of course, you don’t want to leave dessert out! Consider a crustless pumpkin pie or crustless “apple pie” baked apples. For those with nut allergies, pecan pie can be made with pretzels or rice cereal instead of nuts. Allergy Awesomeness shared even more recipes to inspire your Thanksgiving feast. If you have your recipes that you always use, and just want to substitute an ingredient or two to make it allergy-friendly, Kids with Food Allergies has compiled a list of substitutions for common allergies.Happy cooking, and happy Thanksgiving!


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