How to Safely Celebrate Thanksgiving with Food Allergies

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and most Americans have…

Thanksgiving food allergies

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and most Americans have visions of pumpkin pies and mashed potatoes dancing in their heads. For those with food allergies and sensitivities, however, Thanksgiving can pose some challenges. According to FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education), there are an estimated 15 million Americans with food allergies, and many of them will be trying to navigate the dinner table this Thursday.

Many Thanksgiving staples contain at least one of the “big 8” allergens – milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soy. Even the turkey might contain allergens due to seasonings, basting broth, or additives in the stuffing. Despite this, it’s still possible for those with food allergies to have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

One of the most important things anyone with food allergies can do on Thanksgiving (or any day) is to be honest about having a food allergy. On days such as Thanksgiving when food preparation is out of your control, you want to be able to feel confident that the food you are eating is safe for you. If you are open about your food allergy, it will be easier for your host to prepare foods safely and avoid cross-contamination.

It’s also important to read labels on any store-bought desserts and other food items that someone else may have brought to dinner. We encourage you to relax and enjoy your holiday, but always be aware of the food you are eating.

When in doubt, consider making some dishes on your own and bringing them to dinner. Here are a few allergy-friendly recipes we recommend*:

Vegetarian Butternut Squash Casserole
Gluten-Free Parsnip, Pork & Apple Stuffing
Vegan Green Bean Casserole
Vegan, Gluten-Free Baked Mac and Cheese
Gluten- and Egg-Free Mini Chicken Pot Pies

(*Remember to read these recipes carefully to ensure all of the ingredients are safe for your particular allergies. Everyone is different.)

Make sure you have a plan in place for the accidental consumption of an allergen. The symptoms of food allergies include swelling, hives, dizziness, wheezing, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and loss of consciousness. Keep your EpiPen on hand and make sure at least one person knows how to use it and will call 911 if you have a food allergy reaction.

While Thanksgiving with food allergies may take a little more work and preparation, you can still have a wonderful holiday.

We previously created an infographic detailing five of the eight major food allergens and identified the popular Thanksgiving dishes in which they might be present. Click here to view the infographic.

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

If you have any questions about food allergies don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to help! Feel free to give us a call at 212-729-1283 or email us at

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