How to Host an Enjoyable, Allergen-Free Party

If your child or any of his or her guests have food allergies (and there may be many allergies among many guests), throwing a party may seem daunting. However, as more children are diagnosed with food allergies, more recipes are being developed to accommodate them. Consider some of these suggestions for hosting an allergy-free party where everyone can relax and enjoy themselves.

When planning an allergy-free party, make sure to include that information in the invitations. Because of the common allergens present, some parents avoid allowing their children to attend parties. Inform parents that you intend to host an allergy-friendly party and request that they contact you if they have any specific allergies. This will assist you in selecting the appropriate foods to serve at your party. (For example, you may have many gluten-sensitive guests but none with dairy allergies.)

  • Gluten-Free Products

Cake, cookies, and cupcakes are common party foods made with wheat flour, which contains gluten. According to some sources, while most grains contain some gluten, some grains are so low in gluten - or contain a different type of gluten - that people with gluten intolerance can safely consume them.

According to other experts, grains like brown rice, millet, and quinoa contain no gluten at all. Oats do not naturally contain gluten, but they are frequently contaminated with wheat gluten during processing. If you want to use gluten-free oats in your party foods, look for them. 

Here are some gluten-free food suggestions for your party.

  • Rice or nutcrackers and cheese
  • Cornbread sandwiches
  • Meringue cookies
  • Deli meats
  • Potato chips
  • Rice pasta

Gluten-free pancakes or waffles (you can use gluten-free pancake and waffle mix, and as a variation, you can use the waffles or pancakes as wraps for sandwich fillings)

  • Eggs and Dairy

These are some of the other common food allergies in children. In fact, some children are exempt from certain vaccinations if the vaccine was developed using egg white. You can make egg-free party foods for your guests, and there is even dairy-free ice cream made from soy or rice. Make eggless brownies or cake. The cake-like texture of these baked goods is achieved with baking powder and/or baking soda.

Dairy-free foods are not as difficult to find; avoiding cheese and milk appears to be simple. However, you must be more cautious because dairy "hides" in foods such as cheese puffs, popcorn, and even bread.

  • Corn

Corn is a gluten-free grain, but it is also a common allergen among children. Rice is considered a safe grain for gluten-sensitive and corn-allergic children. Because corn is found in almost everything, avoiding all corn may be impossible (even party balloons may have cornstarch dusted on them). Before throwing a completely corn-free party, consult with corn-sensitive guests.

Consider nut and chocolate allergies in addition to the above. Peanuts are the most common cause of nut allergies; it is uncommon for anyone to be allergic to both "tree nuts" like walnuts and legumes like peanuts. Sunflowers are frequently used as a safe substitute "nut." Carob is a chocolate-free substitute that can be used in the same way.

Have fun!