Allergy Friendly Thanksgiving Tips

Preparing Thanksgiving dinner can be stressful under the best of circumstances, so when you have a guest, perhaps your child or family member, following a restricted diet due to multiple food allergies, menu planning can be more of a challenge.

Milk, wheat, egg, soy and nuts are commonly avoided food allergens and also present in many holiday foods.  Fortunately, many thanksgiving favorites are either naturally allergy friendly or easily modified to fit specific dietary needs. You can successfully prepare an allergy friendly Thanksgiving meal.

Turkey, the centerpiece of the harvest table, when roasted with olive oil and spices, is naturally free of the common allergens.  If one of your guests has a wheat allergy or is gluten-free, simply cook stuffing separately to keep the turkey safe for them to eat.  Roasting a separate, smaller turkey breast is also an option.

No thanksgiving dinner is complete without mashed potatoes.  Often made with milk and butter, mashed potatoes can be easily modified for milk-free diets by substituting butter with a dairy-free version, and using cooking water to moisten the potatoes.  A bit of salt and garlic and you never miss the milk!

Cranberry salad and roasted vegetables are also staples, as long as they are made without nuts if your guest has a nut allergy.

Providing a hearty dish that incorporates several foods and flavors can also accommodate guests with multiple allergies, as with the holiday turkey meatloaf recipe and a hearty squash and quinoa casserole recipes linked below.

Not every single dish must accommodate your guests’ restrictions, but having a protein (turkey) a starch (like mashed potato) a vegetable dish (like roasted vegetables) and a fun tradition (like cranberry sauce) can round out a nice allergy-friendly holiday meal.

No holiday is complete without dessert.  The two linked below are both festive and allergy friendly!

Hearty dishes:

Thanksgiving Turkey Meatloaf

Butternut Squash & Quinoa Casserole Substitute pumpkin seeds for pecans if nut allergic.

Friendly sides:

Dairy-Free Mashed Potatoes

More allergy-friendly tips and recipes

Even more recipes here!

Desserts:

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake

Gluten-free, Dairy-Free Pumpkin Pie

Learn more about the Cincinnati Center for Eosinophilic Disorders and Allergy and Immunology at Cincinnati Children’s.

Alison Cassin, MS, RD, LD

About the Author: Alison Cassin, MS, RD, LD

Alison Cassin is a registered dietitian and board-certified specialist in pediatric nutrition at Cincinnati children's. She works primarily with kids and adults with food allergies and eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders. Allison loves to cook (an essential part of being a dietitian!) and lives in a historic neighborhood in Cincinnati with her husband and dog Burger.

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Comments

  1. Megan Horsley December 06, 09:16
    Great Job Alison. Well written with some great tips. We love our allergy dietitian!
  2. Dr. Marc Rothenberg MD, PhD November 23, 03:28
    Alison-Thanks a lot for this wonderful advice. Best wishes to all of the patients and families inflicted by food allergies. Hope they can be comforted to read Alison's blog and also know how much we at Cincinnati Children's are doing to alleviate and eventually cure food allergies and related disorders.