How to navigate the holidays when you have food allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities

PranaSpirit Christmas food

Coping with food intolerance during the holidays and New Year can be challenging and oftentimes people with food sensitivities, allergies, and intolerances can feel left out or ‘difficult to cook for’. It’s a time of year steeped in tradition – and when nuts, gluten, wheat, and dairy are in all the popular festive recipes! Couple this with the never-ending series of lunches, dinners, and distractions away from the comfort of your own safe kitchen, you increase the risk of flare-ups.

As food reactions are related to the size of the dose, people eat bigger doses of salicylate, amine, and glutamate foods at holiday time, so reactions can be experienced with symptoms such as bloating, constipation, distention, gas, pain, and discomfort. So watch out for hidden ingredients such as gluten in gravies, salad dressings, and breadcrumbs in sausages.

Be kind to your guests by providing some simple alternatives (we have recipes below) or by bringing your own alternative holiday foods which for allergy sufferers, means that everyone can join in the mealtimes and celebrations with little fear of an uncomfortable tummy in the days following.

Feeding allergy-prone kids can be even more difficult due to picky eating and low nutrient value l in the traditional foods commonly eaten at Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa – and after the holiday spillover.

It’s wise to modify or create better alternatives to typical meals and desserts like:
  • Christmas cakes
  • Chocolates
  • Christmas gingerbread houses
  • Nuts
  • Potato chips
  • Jelly donuts
  • Fried potato latkes


And instead, make some simple substitutions that still taste delicious and are more nutritious! Try gluten-free flours like almond, coconut, quinoa, or arrowroot instead of white flour in biscuits, sweets, and pies .. Or make these guaranteed to win over allergy sufferers in the fam!!

For stuffing, try alternatives such as polenta, cornmeal, wild rice, dried fruit, or quinoa, and omit the nuts if you are allergic or sensitive to them. It may seem less filling at first, but it’ll be adequate without making you feel stuffed after your holiday meal!

Try coconut oil or avocado oil (both have a high smoke point suitable for cooking) instead of butter to moisten meats and poultry, saute vegetables, and swap the cream in mashed potatoes and for olive oil or yogurt. 

Try these tahini molasses cookies for a sweet allergen-friendly dessert.

Better yet, make a festive Christmas platter with colorful vegetables, guaranteed to give options to the most sensitive of eaters since there will be something for everyone.
If you are unsure what your food sensitivities are we will be offering tests on the website soon.

Alternative Recipes (allergy-friendly)

Below are our choices

Vegan chocolate pudding (LEAP MRT)

Coconut oil chocolates ( LEAP MRT)

Banana Bread Cookies (LEAP MRT)

Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole

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