Everyone loves a good potluck, right? Well, not exactly. People with food allergies dread these get-togethers where potential danger lurks in every dish. For up to 15 million Americans with food allergies, potlucks mean going hungry or spending hours in the kitchen making multiple, safe dishes to bring. Neither situation sounds like the good time these feasts were meant to be.
Unfortunately, the number of people with food allergies is growing. Researchers are working hard to understand why, but they don't know the cause yet. What they do know is that kids are more commonly affected by food allergies. But a food allergy can start at any age.
So, for the next office party, family gathering or church celebration, consider bringing a dish everyone can enjoy.
Recipes Most People Can Enjoy
Note: Even a trace amount of these foods in a dish could provoke anaphylaxis, a dangerous reaction that causes a sudden drop in blood pressure and swelling of the airways. It's important there are no allergy-inducing ingredients nearby during your food prep because of the risk of cross-contamination. Also, keep serving utensils contained to the safe dish – no swapping spoons.
Dips are always a good choice for parties. Bring veggies and corn chips to scoop up spicy olive hummus, guacamole and roasted corn, avocado and black bean salsa.
Side dishes are the food party hosts usually need most. Lucky for you, veggie sides are easy to make allergy-free. For starters, there's the traditional three-bean salad. But for something different, try black bean and asparagus salad simply dressed with olive oil and lemon juice.
Want to make something more exotic? Try a Middle Eastern chickpea salad that uses brown rice as the grain, or chilled spicy avocado cucumber soup made with Thai flavors.
If you're hosting the gathering, coming up with main dishes everyone can eat doesn't need to be difficult. You can grill burgers (leave off the cheese), chicken kabobs and steaks. Or, serve allergy-free fan favorites like oven-fried chicken, Italian meatballs or caramelized onion pot roast.
No one can resist a delectable fruit platter or a tray of crispy rice cereal marshmallow treats (replace the butter, which has dairy, with coconut oil). Both of these are easy to make.
Another pretty and playful dessert is chocolate bark. Add cranberries, sunflower seeds and marshmallows for a fall take or candy cane pieces during the holidays. It's even tasty with just sea salt and chili flakes. Want something more substantial? These healthier brownies, made with whole foods, satisfy everyone's sweet tooth.
Really, these days there's no end to allergy-friendly recipes. Check out 101 Allergy Friendly Party Foods for even more ideas.
Worried About Food Allergies?
If you suspect you or a loved one might have food allergies, get tested. Search for an allergist near you to make an appointment.
Take Our Food Allergy Quiz