It was just a few weeks ago that we talked about how Halloween candy can be frightful for those of us with food allergies, and we offered suggestions on how to keep your kids with allergies safe. Now, with Thanksgiving around the corner, we have some more tips on allergy-free eating that you can be thankful for.
When you sit down to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, you’ll be surrounded by a host of culinary delights: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, fresh bread, green bean casserole with almonds, shrimp cocktail and so much more. For most people, the only danger of eating these dishes is the inevitable “food coma.” However, if you or someone you love suffers from food allergies, the consequences could be much more serious.
Unfortunately, the top culprits of food allergies — milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat — are present in most of the foods we listed in our spread above. However, there’s no reason to forgo the holiday and all its wonderful foods. Here are some tips for a Thanksgiving menu that will make you forget you have any dietary restrictions at all.
- Read all labels carefully. It’s not always obvious that a food contains allergens. For example, did you know that turkey broth contains wheat, and some store-bought turkeys are basted with a gluten solution? Make sure you know what you are getting.
- Know what you can and cannot eat. Thanksgiving dinner is not the time to try that lobster appetizer if you think you may be allergic to shellfish or that peanut butter cookie if some nuts give you hives.
- Search for allergy-free recipes on the Internet. You can find delicious recipes for any dietary restriction, including gluten free, soy free and dairy free. The problem with doing this search, though, is that you’ll come up with so many amazing things to make, you won’t know which ones to choose!
- Use substitutes. Nowadays there are many allergen-free alternatives on the market that you can substitute without most even knowing. Earth Balance makes a soy free, lactose-free, gluten-free vegan spread that you’ll never believe isn’t butter. Silk makes wonderful milk alternatives using soy, coconut, cashews, or almonds. If you’re baking, applesauce and mashed bananas are great egg substitutes. For a great resource on even more substitution suggestions, click here.
Keeping these tips in mind, if you watch for ingredients and are careful about what you eat, you’ll have a Thanksgiving meal to remember — and not because it sent you to the emergency room.