3 Ways to Enjoy Holiday Parties with Food Sensitivities

It can be daunting to think of all the food pushed at you, enticing you to take at least a bite of everything in sight this holiday season. However, you know what will happen if you indulge. The cramping, the aching, the bloating and then just plain discomfort for the next 24 hours to name just a few of the possible symptoms.

That’s no way to spend the holiday season when all you want to do is enjoy the food, the company and, oh yeah… the food! Whether or not you have sensitivities to gluten (what’s found in wheat products), eggs, nuts or dairy you can avoid the discomfort and completely savor every holiday morsel you desire! Here are three ways to enjoy the holidays, even if you have food sensitivities. 

First things first: KNOW and pinpoint that you actually have a food allergy and what foods are the triggers to your specific reaction. Here’s a short list of common foods that are known to elicit an allergic response. 

Wheat/Gluten: hives, eczema, constipation, diarrhea, leaky gut, excessive bloating

Eggs: hives, stomach pain, nausea, runny nose, eczema, rapid heart beat

Diary: (main culprit being pasteurized/homogenized milk) diarrhea, leaky gut, bloating, nausea, abdominal cramps, eczema 

Nuts: These are actually legumes, like beans. You may experience rashes, swelling in arms, hands, legs and/or feet, redness and tenderness, or hives.

These are just a snippet of possible food allergens or food sensitivity reactions that you may have experienced. Don’t feel the need to discount a negative reaction that you personally have that isn’t listed. You’ll know what’s working with or working against your system, so trust how your body feels.

Try this easy test to see if you are reacting to any possible food:

Completely eliminate ONE of the foods listed above (or another food you think may be the culprit) for a minimum of 2 weeks.

This gives your body time to adjust to not having that inflammatory response and to regulate itself. After the two week period, reintroduce the possible food that may be ailing you, making sure to not include anything new that you haven’t already been eating the past two weeks. Take notes of your physical condition before the food, while eating the food, 10 minutes later, 30 minutes later, 1 hour later, and up to 6 hours after eating.

If you have any possible reaction, you may be allergic. 


Now that you either know for sure your food allergy or have just discovered it, fear not, it does not mean you can’t still enjoy the surplus of goodies during the holidays!

1. Inform the Host(ess)

It can be a relief to see a variety of choices on the menu offering options like vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free food and the like. If you have been invited to a holiday event where food will be served, simply inform the host of the event of your food allergies and see if they are willing to accommodate you. For the most part, if it’s a large enough crowd or a smaller setting, these requests will be taken to heart.

2. BYOF

Bring Your Own Food. Now before you show up at a formal holiday event with a sack lunch it’s always good to simply notify the host that you are sensitive to certain foods and to make sure you are fed well, you’ll bring some food that you know agrees with you. This way, you’re sure to get enough to eat as well as partake in any foods you know are on your personal “safe” list.

If anyone asks, simply let them know you’d rather not spend the evening in the restroom! Make it fun and comfortable for you as well as other guests. It’s not as big of a deal as you may think. Plus, there are some fancy cooler bags that look similar to purses that you can show off! Check out some of these fun styles.

3. Provide A List or Recipes

If your host event is willing, send them a list of foods that agree with you (and more than likely, many others) as well as any simple recipes that they may send to their caterer. If this is more of a family event, you may also consider preparing your food in advance and having it already at the holiday event ready for you. It can be specifically labeled for you or as the food intolerance, ie. “gluten free / grain free” pumpkin pie, “egg-free” pound cake, etc. However, to make sure it’s not all gobbled up before you get a chance to eat it, have it specifically labeled; again keeping it light-hearted and fun. Try something like, “Katie’s Special Christmas Cookies, Do Not Touch! :-)”.

If you need some recipe ideas for holiday cooking, simply search for the food allergy you want to avoid. Try these search phrases:

  • Gluten-free holiday meals
  • Dairy-free treats
  • Grain-free turkey stuffing
  • Dairy-free and grain-free pumpkin pie
  • Gluten-free desserts
  • Grain-free turkey sandwiches

You may also try to interchange gluten-free and grain-free, as you’ll probably come up with similar results; it just depends on how the recipe is worded. Eat and eat well without the worries of embarrassing or troublesome food allergies while participating in all the festivities!


The holidays are a joyous time for gathering, sharing, feasting, families and being thankful for all that you have. No need to think that you can’t fully enjoy the company and atmosphere or fear any embarrassing “reactions” that may happen when you eat what everyone else is eating. The more you are informed as well as informing others, the more they will be willing to accommodate you and make you feel just as welcomed and eat just as well as everyone else too!

With the holidays in mind, check out these 3 Easy Vegetarian Dishes for the Holidays. 

Photo Credits: Richard Pigottmiheco , www.audio-luci-store.itmenemane comunicaions

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Andi LaBrune

Andi is all about having a joyous life, living in the present moments. Rocking it out on the homestead with her husband, 9 blessed children and some chickens and ducks, it's home for her in northern VA. She's the voice for Mompreneurs who want to get Sh!7 done! www.IAmCoachAndi.com.

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