It’s that time of year again. School is out and its time to play. There are graduations, holidays, and reunions, and that means outdoor picnics and parties.
While most moms look forward to this time of year, it can be stressful for food allergy moms. You may even be tempted to forgo the family picnic, but with a little preparation you can successfully navigate that family party or picnic and avoid food allergies.
The first thing I like to do is check with the host to see what they are serving. Most outdoor parties involve grilling, and that’s great because grilled meats are among the easiest to make allergen-free. Ask the host to prepare a portion with nothing added and no sauces for your food allergic child. That might mean no cheese in the burger, or no sauce on the chicken. Stay away from hot dogs and sausages unless you are sure of the ingredients. Ask to have your child’s portion cooked first on the grill, to eliminate the possibility of contamination, and skip the bun.
Next, I offer to bring an allergen-free side dish. Typical side dishes for picnics – macaroni salad, potato salad, and cole slaw – tend to be made with milk and eggs. One of my favorite recipes is the Allergen-free Cole Slaw I have included for you here. The raisins in this dish make it a favorite with kids. Bring your own serving utensils and serve your child a generous portion first, before everyone else digs in.
For dessert? Fruit salad is often a good choice for food allergic families, or choose one of the great new non-dairy frozen desserts on the market, like the new Tempt ice cream bars. With flavors like Blueberry Pomegranate Swirl and Chocolate Fudge, you can’t go wrong. Be sure to bring some for all of the kids at the picnic, because these are so good everyone will want them.
Most importantly, follow your food allergy safety rules, and always carry your child’s medications.
Favorite Allergen-Free Cole Slaw
4 cups thinly shredded green cabbage 2 medium carrots, thinly shredded
½ cup green pepper, thinly sliced
¼ cup cilantro
½ cup raisins
3 tbsp rice vinegar
3 tbsp hemp seed or sunflower oil:
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1. Combine cabbage, carrots, peppers, cilantro, and raisins in a large mixing bowl.
2. Whisk together vinegar, oil, sugar, and salt until completely blended.
3. Pour dressing over salad and toss until coated.
4. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.
Makes 8-12 servings. This recipe can easily be scaled up for larger gatherings.