Preparing a Thanksgiving meal to accommodate guests with food allergies can be a bit of a challenge. It may be easier than being at a holiday dinner where nearly every food on the menu is one you must decline because of your food allergy.

With a little planning ahead, you can still enjoy your holiday dinner party without the risk of turning Thanksgiving dinner into a serious medical emergency.

Find out What is On the Menu

Knowing ahead of time what foods are being served at a holiday dinner will help you identify what is off-limits to you. Inform whomever is preparing the meal that you have food allergies and the foods you are allergic to.

Do not, however, insist that he or she change the menu to accommodate your needs. If he or she is willing to do so, that is wonderful. Make it known that you would be more than happy to bring some of your own delicious allergen-free dishes. Who knows, some of the other guests may also find these dishes to be just as delicious as the others on the menu and your host may be glad you are contributing.

If You Are Dining out on Thanksgiving

Everyone loves a good Thanksgiving dinner, but not everyone can or wants to cook. For a variety of reasons, some people may elect to let someone else do the cooking on Thanksgiving and enjoy their holiday dinner at a restaurant.

If you plan on dining at a restaurant on Thanksgiving, you can prevent your food allergy from becoming an issue by calling ahead to make your reservation and to inform the staff and chef that you have a food allergy. This will allow the chef and staff to be well prepared to accommodate your dietary requirements before you arrive.

Do Not Make It All about You

You should never by shy about telling people you have a food allergy. When you do, mention it once and let that be the end of the discussion (unless the person you are telling has some questions about your allergy).  The holiday dinner should focus on appreciating and enjoying the company of loved ones and good food, not your food allergy.

You should also be practical when expecting others to accommodate your dietary restrictions. While it is not too much to ask that your dietary restrictions be taken into consideration when it is just a small dinner gathering of a few people, you cannot expect nor insist that every aspect of a meal meets your dietary requirements when you are only one of 150 guests.

With the right planning and prior communication, your holiday meals can be safe and enjoyable. Being informed about what is in the food being served can keep everyone happy and healthy.