Kids birthday party cake

Allergies and dietary requirements: How to tackle parties, playdates and picnics

Everyone gets a slice of the party action, regardless of food allergies, with these tips

Allergies and dietary requirements: How to tackle parties, playdates and picnics

Back to school also means diaries start filling with kids’ parties, playdates and picnics. For parents of kids with allergies or intolerances, and for those parents hosting the event, these Ps can often add a fourth P to the mix – panic.

54% of parents admit to not inviting kids with allergies to parties and playdates

Between organising balloons, keeping the kids entertained and finding that perfect picnic spot, catering for those with a specific dietary requirement may add an extra layer of stress. This stress often means kids with food requirements are missing-out on being invited. According to our research, 54% of Brits admit they’ve avoided sending an invitation to kids with allergies because of the added anxiety catering to their diets adds.

But don’t stress! Being prepared for the Three Ps with every diet in-mind can be simple, ensuring every child has fun and feels included. Here are some simple, handy tips and tricks from our team of parents to help you get prepared.

For parties...

RSVP please!

Kids parties start with the invitation, and so should your planning. When asking parents to RSVP, add a line on any dietary requirements their kids may have, that way you’re armed with the information you need to make it a fun-filled day for all.

Have your cake and eat it, too

No party is complete without cake. So everyone can take a slice home with them, try baking a cake free from gluten for any kids with coeliac disease, egg-free for those allergic to egg, and avoid adding nuts for any nut allergies. It’d also be good to get the kids to decorate “Free From” cupcakes, that way they can see that having a food allergy doesn’t mean you can’t have fun!

Avoid cross-contaminating candy

Avoid cross contamination by using different-coloured party bags or ribbon. That way you’ll know which ones contain sweets appropriate for kids with dietary requirements. Also make sure you’re using different plates and bowls to make sure no allergens cross contaminate.

For playdates...

Snack attack

Snacks at playdates after school are a necessity. Sandwiches using gluten free bread (delicious for all!) are a popular choice, or try serving sandwich fillings on cocktail sticks. Diced ham and pickles, or dairy free cheese are always nice and simple!

Contained within containers

If cooking for the kids, make sure to use labelled containers for “Free From” products, that way you can avoid cross contamination if preparing a dish for a specific dietary requirement. Make sure to also use different cooking utensils, including chopping boards, so as to not transfer allergens onto “Free From” foods.

For picnics...

Use your utensils

When putting on a picnic spread, cross contamination can occur quite easily. Avoid mix-ups by using different coloured or labelled utensils.

Victory for veg

Don’t underestimate the humble veg! Vegetables are an easy win for picnics and perfect for little tummies.

When it comes to thinking about what to serve at parties, playdates and picnics, there are loads of simple, tasty snacks to suit a variety of dietary requirements:

  • Fruit and veggies: Perfect for any occasion for those without a fruit or vegetable allergy, just slice and dice for easy eating
  • Plain popcorn: A great snack, especially for an afternoon of movies
  • Frozen chips and potato waffles: Ideal for something a little more substantial for the kids. Great if you can get gluten-free chips for any kids with coeliac disease
  • Sausages: Most quality sausages are gluten free, so get sizzling for any little meat eaters with coeliac disease
  • Jelly: Great as a wobbly dessert at kids’ parties (before the cake, of course). You can even get vegetarian jelly if necessary.

When buying products for the Three Ps, always make sure to check the label for any hidden allergens, and if making them at home, be sure to avoid cross-contamination by using separate boards, cutlery and crockery.

Hosting some little ones with dietary requirements this coming autumn? Make sure to stock up on everything you need to keep their tummies full and happy, including our award-winning range of Free From products, online or pop into your local store.