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How To Navigate The Festive Season If You Have Food Allergies Or Restrictions

Dec 22, 2023

The festive season usually means a busy schedule of social events, and going to holiday parties and gatherings can be stressful if you have food allergies or restrictions. You might feel like a burden to the host or feel like it’s impossible to avoid the foods you can no longer have. The holiday season is meant to be a time of joy and connection, so how do you reduce your stress and find more enjoyment?

The mere thought of attending parties might stir up a mix of emotions – the worry of inconveniencing your host or the anxiety of facing a buffet filled with off-limits treats. Yet, the holiday season is about warmth, joy, and creating lasting memories with loved ones. So, how do you reduce your stress and find more enjoyment? Let's explore some tips to transform your holiday gatherings into occasions filled with delight and connection.

1. COMMUNICATE YOUR DIETARY NEEDS

If you're attending gatherings or family dinners, communicate your dietary needs in advance. Don't hesitate to share your preferences and restrictions – it's the best way to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.

2. BRING A DISH THAT FITS YOUR NEEDS

One surefire way to guarantee safe and delicious options is by contributing a dish or two yourself. By taking part in the menu, you not only get to enjoy a tasty treat but who knows, your creations might become the highlight of the feast!

3. FIND ALTERNATIVE RECIPES FOR FOODS YOU LOVE

Rather than grieve the foods you can’t have this time of year, find an alternative recipe! It's never been easier to enjoy the foods you love, there are so many websites and blogs dedicated to specific food allergies and dietary patterns (our blog has a whole heap of vegan, dairy free & gluten free recipes!). Some easy swaps include gluten flour for almond or coconut flour and cows milk for dairy free alternatives like coconut milk if required. 

4. FOCUS ON WHOLE OR UNPROCESSED FEEDS

While cooking from scratch may seem like more work, it helps ensure food and prep areas are free from food allergens. You might even find that you save time in the long run because you don't have to scour every ingredient list. If in doubt, bring a plate of fresh fruit to a gathering, at least this is a safe option for most people which doesn't require an explanation of ingredients.

5. REMEMBER THE HOLIDAYS ARE ABOUT MORE THAN FOOD

The festive season is all about connecting with friends and family. Food doesn’t have to be the only thing that brings together, and taking the focus of food can help. For example, swap a family dinner for a family movie or games night. 

6. CONNECT WITH OTHERS

You're not alone on this journey. Seek out support from friends, online communities, or local groups that share your dietary challenges. Connecting with others who understand your experiences can provide emotional support and even give you some food ideas!

By a little bit of planning ahead, feeling confident to communicate openly, and embracing your creativity in the kitchen, you can relax and enjoy the festive season whilst sticking to any dietary restrictions. 

By Breeanna Betar

Breeanna is a degree qualified Clinical Nutritionist specialising in women’s health. In her private clinic, she works one on one with women to help them achieve their health goals. Bree possesses a profound understanding of women’s health needs and is committed to sharing her knowledge with the Naked Harvest community, and is proud to be involved in Naked Harvest’s mission of revolutionising the active supplement industry.