Holiday Entertaining for those with Food Allergies | Carson Tahoe Health

Holiday Entertaining for those with Food Allergies

We caught up with the Carson Tahoe’s resident dietician, Kim Mason to give us some quick tips for making the safest food choices when entertaining those who may have food allergies.

The holidays bring many food-centric celebrations, which can be difficult for those who have food aversions or allergies to navigate. While you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your traditional recipes, it is important to make the comfort and safety of your guests a priority. Here are a few things to keep in mind:


Hang onto the labels. Keep the food labels for everything you cook, yes it can seem tedious, but holding onto the labels for a couple extra hours will be much better than a guest accidentally ending up in the hospital.

Suggest alternatives. Request flowers, wine or holiday-themed napkins and plates if guests are willing to contribute to a party- that way no dangerous foods accidentally arrive out of good intention.

If cooking turkey, look for “natural” turkey. Some pre-basted turkeys contain soy, wheat and dairy, which are all common allergens. Instead, look for turkeys labeled “natural,” which by law must be minimally processed.

Avoid cross-contamination. Paying extra attention to utensils and surfaces when preparing food is a must. Rinsing a knife that chopped walnuts is insufficient—thoroughly scrub all utensils and surfaces with soap and water and wipe clean to ensure your kitchen tools are allergen free!

Mark your utensils. Color code or find a way to distinguish your utensils by what they are allowed to touch, and be sure to keep them separate. This will save some time while cooking so you won’t have to wash everything in between every new ingredient. We recommend colored tape, or rubber bands to help identify what goes where.

Consider donating. If a guest brings a food item that contains allergens, and there’s an allergic diner, you could accept the item if it is well sealed and donate it later to a friend or a soup kitchen.