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Food Allergy Guide to Visiting Relatives Safely


Time with Friends and Family

Be clear about your allergies. Socializing with out-of-town family or friends can be tricky because they may not fully understand the risks that food allergies present and the safeguards you or your child need.

Be polite, clear and assertive – and never feel bad about saying no to a food or beverage that is offered to you. It’s far better to be safe and enjoy your time away than to get an impromptu tour of the local emergency room.

Be in the kitchen when food is being prepared, read labels and help out. If you’re not sure about the food on offer, bring your own. People may ask why you’re not eating what they’re eating, but before long, they won’t even notice the difference – and you can kick back and enjoy a little peace of mind on your holiday.

Keeping Peace in the Family

Combine food allergies or celiac disease and staying with relatives, and sometimes misunderstandings arise and dinner preparations can dissolve into a family argument. What’s the solution? Smart, organized communication – and don’t wait until you’ve arrived to lay the groundwork.

Remind the family hosts – preferably by e-mail for handy reference – that you or your allergic family member has some special needs. Detail the allergies, the necessity for label reading and suggest what you can do to make the mealtime process easier for people new to these diet restrictions.

We also asked some experts for their strategies for family peace. Excellent and somewhat varied tips follow. Republished from Allergic Living [1] magazine.

Beverley Cathcart-Ross
Parenting Coach, founder of the Parenting Network [2]

Laurie Harada
Executive director, Food Allergy Canada [3]

Gina Clowes
Life coach and director of Allergymoms.com [4]

Mary Allen
CEO, Allergy/Asthma Information Association [5]

Dr. Eyal Shemesh
Associate professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine [6]

Share your views on Allergicliving.com’s Forum [7].

First published in Allergic Living magazine.
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© Copyright AGW Publishing Inc.

See Also:
Family Food Feud [9]: Relatives and Allergies
• Tips for Traveling with Allergic Kids
When Family Doesn’t ‘Get’ Allergies [10]