Gifts for Friends and Family with Food Allergies

 In Allergy, Blog, Food Allergies

As the holiday season continues, so do occasions for those with food allergies to be exposed. Many traditional holiday foods contain one of the “Big 8” food allergens: dairy, eggs, fish and shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soy. Even a trace amount of these foods can cause extreme anaphylaxis for some.

If you know of family members or friends with food allergies, here are some substitutes for the “Big 8.” These ingredients will still allow you to serve your favorite dishes without alienating those closest to you.


Because dairy allergies are so common, many alternatives to milk are widely available such as soy and almond and coconut milk.


Eggs have many uses, so the appropriate substitute depends on how the eggs are being used. Fruit puree or ground flaxseeds work well as a binding agent. A mixture of baking powder, water, and oil or vinegar, yeast, and gelatin can also be used for leaving and binding.


Pick a nut and you can probably find a good peanut alternative. Peanut butter may be a bit harder, but almond butter will usually do the trick. Sunflower seed butter can also be an interesting alternative with the right recipe.

Tree Nuts

Walnuts and cashews are often the culprits here. But foods high in omega-3s – like sunflower seeds, chia, pumpkin, and flaxseeds could be safe alternatives.


Perhaps the most common (and often the most difficult to work around), wheat allergies are responsible for the ubiquity of gluten free options in restaurants and grocery stores. Wheat- and gluten-free flour is widely available in the forms of coconut, oat, almond, spelt, and rice flours.

Fish and Shellfish

The protein provided by fish and shellfish can be replaced with other meats like beef and poultry. For vegetarian options, lentils, black beans, and natto are good sources of protein.


Soy allergies are actually on the rise but often go unnoticed. Lentils and quinoa, as well as other legumes and grains, can easily replace soy in most recipes.

Be Safe This Holiday Season

Keep your guests safe during the next month by proactively addressing food allergies. If you have any questions about how to cook for your friends and family with food allergies, or if you suspect you have a food allergy, give Asthma & Allergy Associates a call today.

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