Planning an allergy friendly birthday party may seem a little scary. The number of children with food allergies continues to grow every day, and while families with an allergy sufferer are well educated on how to keep their children safe, the general public always isn’t.
Whether you, your child or your child’s friend suffers from an allergy or not, it is always important to consider the possible allergic reactions that can be caused by the food we are serving at a party, and how to best make our guests aware.
One of the most common concerns for parents of children that suffer from allergies, after suffering a possible reaction, is that their child will be excluded or isolated from fun events like birthday parties because of their allergies.
Planning an allergy friendly birthday party is not difficult and allergy safe menu changes, activities and preparation can all be worked into any ideas you already have planned.
Start With the Invites
Make sure that everyone feels welcome to attend your child’s birthday party, allergy or no allergy. Include contact information for parents on every invitation and a note letting parents know that they are welcome to contact you if there are any allergy considerations that need to be made.
Have Party Activities Planned Out
If you are super organized, you may already have all the snacks, food and activities for the party planned out when the invitations go out. However, not everyone has all that figured out from the start. To make your party as allergy friendly as possible, have your party activities planned out as soon as the invites go out so that you can plan and coordinate with parents if they do call. Remember, it is not just food that can be an issue, but some crafting supplies contain popular allergens.
Provide Individual Dishware
Some allergies are so severe that even if an allergen is not eaten, but simply come in contact with, it can cause a reaction. Try to minimize this possibility as much as possible with individual dishware for each child, so that they know what is theirs. If you can’t budget for everyone to have a different color or set of their own dishware, provide something different just for any food allergic children– right down to the fork and knife they will be using.
Don’t Change, but Amend
A birthday party is a celebration of the birthday girl or boy, so it is important that you keep the activities and fun about what they enjoy to do. This can be a little more difficult if your child decides they want a food themed party– cupcake wars, pizza party with pizza making, cookie exchange or something similar– but it does not mean that you have to change the entire party. Amend, but don’t change. Ask the parent about what level of comfort they are comfortable with their child participating first, because they will be the best person to help you plan for or know the different possibilities for allergen contamination.
Allow for Safe Food
If you know upfront the allergies that you are dealing with and its limited to one or two item that can easily be cut out, an entire menu can be easily created, but remember that you need to check for hidden ingredients in condiments, sauces and batter. Otherwise, allow for safe food to be prepared with the parent’s help, or by the parents. Additionally, when it comes to serving the birthday cake, make sure there is always an option set aside for any allergy suffering guests.
By working with parents to help include, not exclude, children, you can help reduce the challenge for the parent and yourself.
Do you have any tips to add?