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How to survive parties outside of your home (when you have food allergies)

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We all know that feeling when you receive an invite… BBQ, pizza, cake, lots of food will be provided. Non of which will you or your children be able to consume. People will tell you that its gluten free, “there is no rice in it!” They will expect you to eat it and when you decline they are furious. It is hard not seeming to be courteous but you really don’t want to spend the next 3 days laid out next to the toilet sipping ginger tea so, you leave starving. Your kids are mad, everyone is eating cake and hot dogs but them. You cave and let them have artificial coloring because, well… you have to pick your battles. 

As you listen to the monsters in the back seat that were once your beautiful children scream and have a fit the entire way home, you make a promise to yourself- you will never do this again.

Don’t let this food allergy prevent you from enjoying your time with friends and family. Yes, it SUCKS! I know the feeling all too well. I only have two friends who know how this gluten free game works and they are so amazing that they always make sure there is plenty delicious safe items to choose from.(My Jennifer’s!) Going as far as putting condiments separate and letting me make my plate first to avoid cross contamination. That’s not always practical, so I want to share with you how I go about getting through that glutenous get-together. Even though it still is more work than everyone else, well, that’s just the way it is now. 

  1. Talk to the host: Politely ask what will be served so that you can make sure to have something comparable. Some might ask how they might be able to accommodate you. I tell them that we have cross contamination issues and so forth. Some people will go out of their way and some will run scared in the other direction. 
  2. Plan it out ahead of time: If pizza and cupcakes will be provided then on the way to the party pick up a gluten free pizza or cook a frozen one and bring it with you. If they are making burgers or hot dogs bring your own buns, condiments and possibly meat too if needed. If cross contamination is a problem then either cook it before you leave your house or bring your George Foreman grill and cook it there. (Yes, I bring my George Foreman if I am worried) Bring your own side dish and come with cupcakes or a treat depending on what is going to be served at the party. Unless you want to share try to stay close to what they are giving out. If you come in with a homemade pie and they are serving cake expect people to want some. I don’t always like to share, lol. 
  3. Ask someone to bring a safe dish: If someone you are very close to and feel comfortable asking is coming to the party (such as a Sister, Mother, Grandparent) ask them to make something you will be able to eat too. My Grandma makes an amazing broccoli salad and she makes a separate bowl that hasn’t been mixed with mayo yet for me and I bring my own mayo and mix it. 
  4. Bring back up snacks: Things happen and you might need some emergency treats for the kids. Have a stash of safe candy and cookies that you can pull out if needed. Also, have a little snack for them to have on the car ride home to avoid a disaster. 
  5. Ignore the dirty looks: People might look at you like you are high maintenance. Ignore their ignorance. A lot of people don’t understand this and they are simply confused. Just remember that what people have not lived is strange to them. This is your life- forget them.
  6. Eat on your way: If this is a new place and new people and you have no idea what to expect then eat on your way there or before you leave the house. This will help avoid meltdowns with the kids because if they are already full then they are less likely to want what everyone is eating and more likely to be ready to just play and have fun.
  7. BYOB: It is a rarity that people have safe booze. If there is mixed drinks you risk it big time. To avoid this I simply bring a bottle of whatever I want to drink. 
  8. Have fun: I will admit it- I don’t look forward to get-together’s like I once did. Just bringing a side dish and showing up usually is not the case anymore. Prep work is involved and it all seems like a lot of work. We don’t always go to every single party anymore. We really pick the important ones and then put in the effort. Have fun and let the kids have fun!! Be prepared and all of it will run smooth. PREPARATION IS KEY!!!

My Loves and I at a 4th of July BBQ. I brought a potato salad along with our hot dogs, buns, mustard and my George Forman Grill. I cooked up our dogs and we ate. Surprisingly everyone was cool with it since this was our first BBQ at their house. 

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