The Fourth of July - Independence Day for America - is celebrated with patriotism, parades, fireworks and food. Outdoor food activities like picnics and barbeques are part of the day’s tradition and are fun for everyone. If you have food allergies though, caution is necessary. Here are some tips for celebrating worry free:
You never know what might be leftover and clinging on public grills. Before using them, cover them with heavy duty aluminum foil or, better yet, use a disposable grill cover or aluminum pan to avoid potential contamination with allergens.
Like a public grill, the public picnic table can also be risky. Consider using a festive, disposable table cloth as well as dishes and utensils. Not only are they worry free, they are fun and easy. Don’t forget sanitizing wipes too, which can be used on most any surface.
Potluck-style meals are popular at picnics and barbeques. You don’t always know if foods prepared by others are truly free of allergens and safe. Here is a reference for recipe substitutions that might be useful for some traditional picnic foods that you can share this with folks responsible for food preparation. http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/page/recipe-substitutions.aspx
Food labels are a good idea and often seen at celebratory gatherings that include a lot of people and food. If you’re preparing a dish, it’s a good idea to include common allergens on the label. Also, why not have some fun with food allergy labels? http://www.kidscanhavefun.com/food-allergy-printables.htm - This site offers ideas to use as stickers, labels, and tags and there are options for other major holidays too.
- You may want to bring your own food to the festivities, just to be safe. Check out these sites for ideas:
- http://cookitallergyfree.com/blog/2012/05/the-chopped-salad-that-dreams-are-made-of/ - This salad sports a variety of color, texture and flavors with 2 presentation options -ingredients either lined up or tossed together. Substitutions are suggested for various food allergies, too
- http://blog.foodallergy.org/2013/06/27/4-frozen-recipes-for-the-fourth-of-july/ - This site offers 4 frozen recipes that are cool and refreshing and also keep with the red, white, and blue color theme.
- Some excellent ideas and resources can be found in our past Food Allergy Living blog posts. Here are some that have relevance to celebrating the 4th of July:
Happy Birthday America! What are you doing this year to prepare and have fun enjoying Independence Day?
-Jody L. Benitz, MS, RDN
Image from Beverly & Pack