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Thanksgiving at Grandma's? How to Handle Food Allergies

Photograph by Twenty20

You've looked forward to Thanksgiving all year, but if your child has a food allergy or celiac disease, you may be a bit bummed out as you go over your Thanksgiving plans—after all, your kid may not be able to have much (or any) Thanksgiving food. The good news? You can make a few things happen before you go so your child is not completely missing out.

Get in cahoots with Grandma

For starters, Grandma may be eager to work around her grandchild's food allergy. As long as she has time to prepare, she may be more than happy to arrange safe eating for your kiddo (we're very blessed with grandparents who take pains to work around our kids' food allergies at holiday time.) Of course, you'll want to stress the seriousness of your allergy so she takes care to not accidentally drop peanut parts in the cookies if your kid can't have them, but you'll be sure to appreciate it if she sets up a few things just for your child.

RELATED: Three Ingredient Peanut-Butter-and-Egg-Free Cookies

Ask for labels

Another option is to request that Grandma keeps the packaging or ingredient labels for all of the dishes she's prepared. Often, these get chucked in the garbage, because who wants a bunch of trash laying around on Thanksgiving Day? But if you have the labels, you'll be able to verify yourself if something is safe or not. This sort of knowledge is definitely power, and you might find that a lot of the dishes are totally fine for your child to eat with no special preparation needed.

Making sure that your child isn't starving before you head out is an excellent way to keep temptation at bay...

Bring your own dish

Another way to guarantee that your child won't get sick is to bring along your own dish of food. You'll have to keep an eye on it throughout the day if you're up for sharing (you don't want it to get contaminated by someone dipping a spoon into it after helping herself to an allergen-laden dish) but since you know that you prepared it, you're good to go—and Grandma will likely appreciate the extra food, too, especially if it's something delicious.

RELATED: 10 Things Not to Say to an Allergy Mom

Eat before you go

Making sure that your child isn't starving before you head out is an excellent way to keep temptation at bay—if your kid isn't famished, it's easier to ignore those delicious tidbits that may be hiding something that will make her sick. Don't let her get stuffed, though. Save some room for drinks and whatever safe treats you can bring yourself or discover while you're there, but this smart strategy will ensure that your child is allergen-free—and not completely famished all day.

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