Simpler, Healthier Holiday Fare with Food Allergies
I do not regret the way I ate over the holidays. Guilt about too many calories and too much sugar does not plague me. Instead, I feel satisfied with the simpler, healthier holiday fare I eat now that I have allergies.
Navigating holiday meals with food allergies
During the 2022 holiday season, I realized something good has come from my 15-year experience with food allergies. Food no longer controls my holidays. Less to-do about food allows me to enjoy more about these special occasions.
I didn’t host or join a big gathering with a feast for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s Day. My family and I were packing, moving, and settling into a new home during that time. And to my surprise, I didn’t feel like I missed out on too much. In fact, I saved energy, money, and time, all of which I needed in greater supply for the transition to the new place.
Saved energy, money, and time
Our holiday celebrations included our normal daily meals. I did not spend hours baking enormous amounts of food that cost a lot. I simply chose to cook some of our favorite dishes for just us three: my husband, my son, and me.
My holiday cooking did not require more of my energy than usual. Since my health condition affects my energy, staying within my limits (including food restrictions) helps me feel better. I was able to really enjoy the holidays. I celebrated a little each day without the added stress that often comes with a larger event and lots of food I can’t eat.
Truly delightful allergy-safe treats
I can recall seeing countless desserts spread across an entire table at holiday events when I was younger. So many options made choosing hard. Often, I chose too many and ended up with a stomach ache or worse afterward. That was before I knew food allergies and sensitivities contributed to some of those symptoms.
But this past holiday season, we had only one or two desserts for each special day. I baked a gluten-free, dairy-free pumpkin pie with a little maple syrup for Thanksgiving. For Christmas, I baked our favorite gluten-free, dairy-free muffins with blueberries and cranberries. We rang in the New Year with some homemade, allergen-friendly chocolate chip cookies.
We also enjoyed a few other delightful treats throughout the holiday season. These included gingerbread pancakes, hot teas, miniature candy canes, special chocolates, and lots of fresh fruit topped with my favorite So Delicious Dairy Free Cocowhip. I even treated my husband and son to some sugar cookies and pretzels from a local bakery. Their delight outweighed my fleeting feelings about missing out on these treats because of my allergies.
Moments to savor
My simpler, healthier holiday fare allowed me to savor so much more than food. The joyful moments with my family as well as the quiet, refreshing minutes alone still linger in my mind. The food is long gone, but my precious memories remain.
In the years since my food allergies diagnosis, I have come to focus less on the food at holiday festivities and more on what we are celebrating. I have so much to be grateful for each Thanksgiving Day. My heart is full of the peace that came on earth through the birth of Jesus on that first Christmas. And the promise of newness shines in my heart like the fireworks signaling the end of one year and the beginning of another.
More holidays are on the way. I am glad about the energy, money, and time I have learned to save. I look forward to truly delightful treats and lots of moments to savor.
Have you had simpler, healthier holiday fare with food allergies? If so, I would love to hear about it in the comments.
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