If we were to roll back the clock a few decades, it feels as though dealing with food allergens was something that few had to deal with. Then, over more recent times, there has been a real boom when it comes to the diagnosis of them.
Of course, things are immediately stepped up a notch when it comes to allergens and kids’ parties. Due to the type of food that is typically served at these events, and so many small hands flying around, it means that the risks increase higher than ever before.
This is the reason we have collated today’s guide. In total, there are four resources that have hit our inbox over the last few months, and give you some insight on how you can deal with kids’ parties where allergens might become an issue.
Read up on the most common food allergies
In short, you can never be too careful. Food allergies are becoming more and more common and it is for this reason that you need to do your research accordingly. Sure, in most cases you will have been told that a child attending the party suffers from a particular allergy, but stay on your guard for nasty surprises.
The easiest way to do this is to research the most common food allergies, and their accompanying symptoms. We don’t need to remind you how severe some reactions can be, so having a firm understanding of some of them can be some really sound advice.
Not only that, but it can also help you to put together your menu. For example, peanuts are an exceptionally common allergy, so having foods containing these is already asking for trouble. Stick to safer options, instead.
Further reading: A list of the most common food allergies
Stock up on suitable replacements
OK, so diabetes isn’t strictly a food allergy, but it’s probably one of the easiest conditions to make this example out of for now.
Put simply, if you are aware that a child visiting your party suffers from diabetes, there are now plenty of options out there. If we had been writing this a decade or so ago, this wouldn’t have been the case, but the rise in sugar-free candy has certainly meant that we all have a lot more options.
The point we’re trying to make is that if you know of an allergy, stock up on suitable replacements. Sugar free candy is the easy example, but the list could go on. For example, it might be serving gluten free bread if you know someone suffers with a gluten intolerance. It’s all about accommodating everyone and particularly when it comes to children, nobody is going to know if you serve a replacement of this ilk.
Further reading: Sugar free chocolate examples
Make sure you are cleaning down surfaces accordingly
In some cases, an allergy will be triggered without the person even touching the food in question (and again, peanuts often grab headlines for this reason). Or, if they do, it will be touching a crumb that may have made its way onto the table. Unfortunately, some allergies are really potent in this way.
It means that you simply must keep on top of your cleaning. Surfaces are the biggest target and particularly if everyone is eating from the same table, you really can have your hands full as you try and stay on top of this.
Then, there are the dishes, which naturally require even more attention. The best tip is to have a “safe sponge”, which only touches those plates which are free of the allergens.
Further reading: How to clean and remove food allergens
Double and triple-check all of the ingredients
It sounds utterly simple, but sometimes it’s just about checking the ingredients list on food packaging.
Unfortunately, some allergens can really slip by the wayside when it comes to packaging. It can be hard to determine what is contained within a particular food, and what ingredients might trigger an allergy. Or, sometimes it’s not necessarily about the ingredients list as such, but more about any cross-contamination issues.
Further reading: How to read food labels and look out for the right signs