How To Cater An Allergy-Friendly Birthday Party

Author: Jay Elliott   Date Posted:18 October 2017 

When it comes to food sensitivities, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and never is this truer than children’s birthday parties.  It’s a good idea to ask parents about food sensitivities as part of the RSVP. Often parents will have their own suggestions on how to best prepare foods and may be willing to bring a dish along so their child is not excluded from the fun. It's worth contacting them particularly with cases of anaphylaxis where an EpiPen should always be nearby.

Ideally, lots of whole foods such as fruit and vegetables would be served although you may find that parents are the only ones interested in eating. In this case, you will have to create lots of activities for the kids and consider making up bags of treats with appropriate labels.

With a growing list of substitute ingredients now available, it’s easier to create dishes that everyone can enjoy. As a guide, gluten, dairy, nuts, soy, eggs, shellfish and fish should be avoided and any other particular food intolerances discussed with parents. Color-coded plates or boxed packs with names are a good way of reducing the risk of allergic reactions.

The catering could be a mixture of food on sticks, salads, and allergy friendly treats such as mini pizzas, dips and crackers and of course the cakes. Sunnybrook has a wide range of gluten and dairy free pastry as well as a wide range of cake mixes, dairy-free cheeses, and chocolates as well as food flavours and colorings without the hidden nasties.  

For beverages,  many flavors of kombucha are now available and can be mixed with mineral water and fruit to make up a punch.  Small pack juices are also available without the additives.

Use different utensils and wash down preparation areas when handling the various ingredients to avoid cross-contamination, and store the safer foods separately.  

As a final note, consider that the most important thing is that everyone has a good time, so food, music and activities are all part of it. Don’t allow the activity to become too stressful and include a little treat for yourself as a reward for your efforts. 


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