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FARE Blog November 22, 2023

Three Tips for a Safe and Joyful Thanksgiving

With each challenge posed on this day of gratitude, be sure to look for the opportunities that can be created.
Guest post by Teen Advisory Group (TAG) member Kailee Desmond

Thanksgiving can be full of gratitude and joy. But for individuals with food allergies Thanksgiving can also pose many challenges, especially since it’s a holiday revolving around food. Here are three tips that can help you have a fun and less stressful Thanksgiving while dealing with a food allergy. 

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  • Host Your Own Thanksgiving Day Gathering
Thanksgiving can be very uncomfortable for many individuals with food allergies. Whether you are politely saying no to unsafe food offered or explaining your dietary needs to family and friends, this can make Thanksgiving a rough path to navigate. One tip to have a safe and worry free Thanksgiving gathering experience is to host the gathering. This can help you have a safe experience because you can purchase, cook, and prepare the food. This will allow you to have fun with your peers and still stay safe during the holiday. Also, make sure to be a great host by asking your guests if they have any allergies or special dietary needs as well.
  • Come Prepared When Dining Away From Home
Whether you are traveling to a restaurant or a Thanksgiving gathering, prepare in advance to prevent an allergic reaction. For instance, if you are attending a Thanksgiving gathering at someone else’s house, inform your friends and family of your food allergy needs beforehand to help keep unsafe allergens off the menu. Additionally, if you know the food will be unsafe and can not be accommodated then bring your own allergy-friendly dishes with you or eat a safe meal beforehand. If you are spending your Thanksgiving meal at a restaurant instead, make sure to talk to the chef and server about your dietary needs and allergy restrictions beforehand. This can help you learn what foods are safe to eat on the menu and gives the kitchen staff time to prepare your meal with safe practices and protocols. Lastly, always make sure you bring your epinephrine auto-injectors with you, and make sure someone with you is trained on how to administer them in the event of an allergic reaction.
  • Thank Yourself (and Others)!
Dealing with food allergies can be tough, so during this holiday of gratitude thank yourself for all you have done to keep yourself safe throughout the year. Thank yourself for everything that food allergies have taught you and how strong you have been while navigating hardships. Additionally, take the time to express gratitude to others who have been by your side supporting you along your food allergy journey. All in all, during Thanksgiving, give thanks to all the food allergy friends in the world, including yourself. This can be shown by saying a simple thank you, writing a note, doing an act of kindness, or sending a heartfelt text letting them know how much they matter.

As you can see, there are simple tips that can help you have a safe and joyful Thanksgiving. With each challenge posed on this day be sure to look for the opportunities that can be created, such as learning to cook new recipes that are safe for you, perfecting your hosting skills, deepening your relationships, and discovering more ways to navigate celebrations with your food allergies. When you are faced with food allergy challenges always remember to look on the bright side and know you are not alone. We are all in this together. 

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