Celebrating the Holidays with FPIES

In this guest blog post, FPIES mom Courtney Lopez shares how she’s getting ready for the holidays and offers some helpful tips to make them FPIES-friendly.

This Thanksgiving is the first real holiday that our daughter can eat solid foods, but it’s also the year she was diagnosed with FPIES. We try to make every day a normal day and her meals normal too. She has quite the variety thanks to many passes and few fails, but her fails are items that are traditional items in the holiday menu as well as processed in everything.

Holiday meals are special in so many ways. Our favorite part about Thanksgiving is going around the table and saying what we’re thankful for and enjoying a family meal together. It doesn’t matter if the main protein is turkey; it just matters that we’re all together. My daughter’s safe protein is salmon and right now we’re in the middle of a pork trial. If pork is a pass, then that will be our main protein on Thanksgiving, along with her FPIES-safe side dishes of mashed potatoes, corn, broccoli, and quinoa!

This Thanksgiving we’re thankful for allof our daughter’s passes and that we can finally enjoy a meal together. I couldn’t say the same just four months ago as her only safe foods were berries!

We’re going to be doing our holiday dinners at home so I can have full control over all of the food, but I know most people aren’t in that situation.

Don’t worry – there are options!

  • If you’ll be attending holiday festivities away from home, let your host know about your child’s safe and non-safe foods. Offer to bring safe foods for you and others to enjoy.
  • Prepare meals for your child in advance to bring to your holiday party or prepare them at the hosting house.
  • Serve your child first if it’s buffet style—the last thing you want is someone dipping another spoon into your child’s safe food!
  • Use disposable plates and utensils as there’s less risk of the plate being contaminated from an offending food.
  • When eating out with family, I’ve found the best items are those with a peel. Bananas, avocado, oranges, apples, and anything with a protective peel are GREAT while away from home. We like to refer to peels as a “built in wrapper” and pose little risk of cross-contamination.
  • Ask that no one feed your child without your knowledge, and watch children when playing. I’ve caught my nephews trying to give my daughter food and while they’re so sweet to offer, she can get very sick from their offering.
  • As a veteran FPIES mom told me, after you’ve been through the holidays once, you learn a lot and are better prepared for the next time. Don’t apologize for FPIES or worry about seeming over the top. After all, it would be far worse to end up in the ER with your child.
  • If your child doesn’t have many safe foods, serve them their safe food and let them enjoy being with everyone. Play games, take the emphasis off food, create new traditions, and just focus on being together. In that togetherness, we find the true spirit of the holidays.

We’d love to hear from you in the comments section on how you’re making the holidays safe and memorable for your child with FPIES. For more on managing the holidays with food allergies, please visit the following links:

Food Allergies and Holiday Memories (AllergyHome Blog)

Navigating The Holidays With Food Allergies (Kids With Food Allergies Foundation Free Webinar)