Navigating the Holidays with a Food Intolerance

Navigating the Holidays with a Food Intolerance

The holidays are definitely a time that I so look forward to each year. There’s so many fun events and parties and things to look forward to throughout November and December. Many of the events revolve around family and great food. This can be tough when you have a food allergy and/or intolerance. Today I’m sharing 5 tips on navigating the holidays with an allergy or intolerance. I hope this helps to ease some stress and anxiety that you may experience this holiday season!

5 Tips to Navigate the Holidays with a Food Intolerance

  • Bring a few options: Offer to bring a main dish or a side (or both!) and make them both safe for you to eat. That way, you know that there’s something you can enjoy. 
  • Tell the host in advance: Talk to the host in advance about your dietary needs. Ask if there will be any options for you or if you could help plan out the menu. If it’s family or friends, they’ll most likely be pretty willing so that you can also enjoy the party!
  • Encourage Food Labels: If the party’s buffet style, suggest signs at each dish saying what the dish is. This makes for easy selection when you can see what each dish is.  
  • Eat before the party: If you don’t know the host very well or don’t feel comfortable bringing food or talking to them in advance, eat something before you go. That way, you can still enjoy some drinks and social time without being starved. 
  • Focus on the social aspects: It can be easy to feel sad when you look at all of the things you used to eat that you can no longer eat. It’s okay to feel sad, but remember that the holidays are also about family and fun. Enjoy the memories and moments you are creating. 


December 2015 with my Lily-bear <3

Tips for navigating the holidays with food intolerance/allergies? 

Tell me in the comments below!

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17 thoughts on “Navigating the Holidays with a Food Intolerance

  1. I really like the idea of encouraging food labeling. It would be appreciated by all, I think, no matter if there is an intolerance or not. The labels could be a craft and part of the holiday decor, too!
    I guess the positive thing is that there are so many people with intolerances these days that – I hope – someone bringing their own food or asking in advance is totally a normal thing to do and shouldn’t be anything to cause attention.

    • Food labels look so classy! 😀 I think its becoming way more normal depending on the circle you are with. Certain people still find it totally odd and think I’m “making it up” in my head!

  2. Great tips, Heather! Food labeling is so helpful! Food intolerances and get togethers with others is kind of something you’ve gotta navigate on a case-by-case basis–if I’m close with the host (like, it’s my mother/sister/brother/bff for life), I’m all for calling them up and asking them to make a dish special. If it’s someone I’m not as close to, I’ve got to be prepared that I might not be able to enjoy whatever they’ve prepared. Sometimes I stick crackers in my purse.
    I posted a list of low-FODMAP Thanksgiving recipes recently with a few similar tips for negotiating with friends and family.

    • Yes, I definitely think its a case by case thing. Especially if its like a work party or people you dont know that well. You may come off as “that” person…demanding and whatnot!

  3. Yes I agree with the other girls that food labeling is so important, and it’s always nice if someone brings something that they can eat. If it’s gluten and dairy free allergies, that is usually pretty easy to cook for, but sometimes other allergies can be more of a challenge. It also even helps if someone gives me a recipe that they can eat, and I can make it for them!

    • I feel that you would be super sweet and accommodating, Emily! You seem like a wonderful host! I’m always happy to provide a host with ideas if it means I’ll be able to eat more haha!

  4. I don’t have an intolerance fortunately, but I am trying to lose a couple pounds. Which is tricky to do during the holiday season! I think bringing food that is healthy and appropriate for me is probably my safest bet to ensure there is food I will eat!

    • Good point! Staying healthy is hard too! I also think bringing healthy dishes encourages others to do the same and also encourages people to try new things.

    • Thanks, Chrissa. I agree it can be so hard not to cheat during the holiday season on foods that we know our bodies dont do well with. Hope this helps!

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