Whether it's a romantic outing or family reunion, picnics can pose challenges and risks for people with food allergies.
With careful planning it's easy to put together an allergy-friendly picnic that everyone can enjoy.
1. Ask about allergies. If someone in the group has an allergic condition, inquire about precautions you can take in food preparation to make the picnic allergy-safe.
2. Keep it simple. Picnics are casual affairs, so keep your menu simple. Fewer ingredients means less potential for an unexpected allergic reaction.
3. Make it yourself. Prepackaged foods from the grocery store may save time, but they can also contain hidden allergy triggers. Many pre-made marinades or salad dressings contain allergens like wheat, soy and sesame. Creating your own salads, dips, dressings and marinades ensures that the food is allergy-safe.
4. Pack food separately. If your picnic contains a mix of foods for both allergic and non-allergic picnickers, be sure to pack foods in separate sealed containers, or bring two baskets and designate one allergy-friendly. Bring hand wipes and use condiment packets rather than shared jars to avoid cross-contamination.
5. Keep it clean. Pack a clean tablecloth to cover the picnic table. This will prevent contact with germs and any allergens left over from previous picnics.
6. Bring your own. Potluck-style picnics and barbecues can be a minefield for those with food allergies. Always bring allergy-safe options for yourself or your child, and have whoever is doing the grilling cook your food first to avoid cross-contamination.
7. Prepare for an emergency. Always carry your epinephrine auto-injector. Check cell phone coverage at your picnic or camp site, especially if you're headed to a more remote area.
Check out our allergy-safe recipes.
This article has been reviewed by Andrew Moore, MD, FAAAAI