• How to Plan a Menu for an Allergy-Free Spring Party

    Allergy & Asthma Specialists℠ offers suggestions for throwing an allergy-free spring party.

    Did you know that about 32 million Americans suffer from food allergies? That number includes about seven million children, most of whom are allergic to more than one kind of food. If you’re planning a party, whether for adults or kids, it’s a good idea to try to avoid the most common allergens in your party foods.  Here, we’ve got some tips for throwing an allergy-free spring party that will be fun for everyone on the guest list!

    Know the most common allergens. Hopefully, you’ll be aware of any allergies your guests have, so that you can prepare dishes that cater to their particular needs. If you’re unsure, though, plan a menu that avoids these common allergens: milk, peanuts, eggs, fish, wheat, sesame, shellfish, soy, and some tree nuts like cashews, almonds, and walnuts.

    Rethink cake. Reading through the above list, you know doubt noticed that some of the most common allergens are also the ingredients in cake. Fortunately, you can make non-traditional cakes that are dairy-free and even wheat-free. To make sure everyone at the party can have an allergy-free treat, consider making multiple cakes.

    Plan a healthy snack table. Avoid serving nuts because even putting them on the table can create contamination. Instead, serve snacks like vegetable sticks, raisins, hummus and popcorn. Fresh fruit is a great option because you know exactly what’s in it. Make fruit kebabs, a fruit salad, or a platter with different types of fruit, for a sure-fire hit.

    Offer some gluten-free options. Gluten free cookies, doughnuts, and flour-less cakes can be delicious. For savory treats, buffalo wings and dip with carrots and celery are good options. And did you know that popcorn is gluten-free? Go for butter and salt popcorn for a healthy, popular snack.

    Consider making it a BYO affair. Encouraging guests to bring their favorite snacks to share is a great way to ensure that everyone has something safe to eat and enjoy. It’s also fun because it gives everyone the opportunity to taste things they may not have ever tried before!

    Don’t just focus on the menu. Did you know that some arts and crafts supplies can have allergens, too? For example, wheat ingredients in play dough have been known to trigger allergies. Be careful with party favors, too. Candies can sometimes be an issue, so stick to things like stickers, puzzles, bracelets, and games for party favor bags that are safe for everyone.

    When in doubt, choose a venue. Sometimes, your best option is really just to let someone else handle the details. Professional party venues can accommodate children’s allergy needs, as long as they’re informed ahead of time. Make sure the staff and manager know about the allergies so that you can be sure the menu and facility are free of any allergens that could be hazardous to your guests.

    Taking some time to plan can make your party fun and safe, even for your guests with allergies. If you or your children suffer from allergies, it’s a good idea to look for an experienced, board-certified allergist. The physicians at Allergy & Asthma Specialists SM are the region’s most experienced allergists in high-risk food allergy testing and challenges.  Call 610-825-5800 or visit the website for an appointment, or to learn more.