It’s not easy cooking food for guests with allergies. You may not realize it, but there are a lot of allergens in meals that we typically eat.
As a host, you naturally want your guests to have fun and enjoy themselves. If you’re worried about what food to serve at your next dinner party, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
1) Learn the Common Allergens
You need to learn what common allergens look like, how they’re typically ingested, and the symptoms associated with them. If you’re like most people, you’re probably aware that a person could be allergic to nuts. However, you may not realize that nuts are also in a lot of processed foods, such as granola bars.
Common allergens include gluten, dairy, eggs, and nuts. Potatoes can help you avoid gluten, but you may want to check with the guest who is coming over to make sure potatoes are okay.
2) Try Not to Include These Allergens in Your Menu Completely
If you have an idea of common allergens and you can avoid them in your menu completely, that’s a great idea. However, it may not be possible to completely avoid them because some of these allergens can be in unexpected places, like in processed food.
If you have to include certain allergens in your menu, try not to serve them with more than one person who has that allergy.
We know it’s hard to have a dinner party with no food that’s on the “do not eat” list for your guests. Consider asking if your guests have any food allergies before you’re about to serve dinner.
3) Don’t Forget to Check Your Labels
This is a common problem for most people. You might have checked the ingredients list on your food and still missed an ingredient that could be harmful.
If you’re cooking pre-made foods, you want to make sure to carefully read the label on the box. If you’re using packaged or processed foods, double-check that the label doesn’t mention anything your guests might be allergic to.
4) Keep Your Kitchen Clean
The best way to avoid cross-contamination is to keep your kitchen as clean as you can.
Make sure that you don’t use your cooking utensils to touch any food that’s not on the menu. You don’t want to use the same spoon to stir the sauce that you’re cooking for your guests that you used to stir the rice. You should avoid touching containers that have food that your guests will be eating.
If you want to serve food that your guests may be allergic to, the best way to minimize their risk of becoming sick is to keep your kitchen clean.
5) Be Prepared for Anything
No matter how careful you are, you never know what’s going to happen. When guest is allergic to something that you didn’t think they would be allergic to, you need to be prepared.
If your guests know they’re allergic to a certain food, like nuts, it’s a good idea to keep some kind of epinephrine on hand. If a guest does become ill because of something you prepared, it’s a good idea to call an ambulance.
It’s not easy cooking food for guests with allergies. However, take the time to learn what common allergens are and include less common allergens in your menu. Keep your kitchen clean because you can minimize your guests’ risk of becoming ill.
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