/ Cross Contact, Food Safety, Special Diet

         Fourth of July is best known for spending time outdoors, enjoying the fireworks, and of course a cookout! Modern diners are more conscious of eating healthy, sustainable, nutritious meals and a holiday is no exception. With food allergies on the rise, it’s also another added challenge to the host to prepare a delicious, healthy meal, that is safe for everyone to eat which can be difficult to navigate during the holidays but definitely not impossible! 

Tips if you have a guest with a food allergy

If you have a diner coming who is allergic to something that you still plan to prepare, prepare that dish separately. Make sure you avoid cross contact and also have plenty of options for every guest if you are offering foods some won’t eat. It’s important to not only prep the dishes separately and also to display them away from each other on your buffet.

Check your labels. If someone is allergic to an ingredient, it’s important to check that BBQ sauce or dressing to make sure it’s not hidden. The top 8 allergens in America are required to be listed in plain language on ingredient labels, so you can easily spot out soy or egg when searching those labels.

Label your dishes. Some party planners are daunted with the idea of labeling their salads, side dishes and main courses while others love the idea of a table setting with some flair! From a simple post-it note to an elaborate printed label, you can get creative and give your guests the opportunity to know what they’re eating!

Tips if you’re looking for a healthier cookout

         Balance your menuwhen planning what to make. If you’re planning to cook hot dogs and hamburgers, also look into veggie burgers or mushroom burgers. If you’re planning on offering chips and dip, look into adding a veggie tray or swapping your potato salad for a zoodle salad. Balance makes perfect and you can still indulge in your favorites.

         Remember, balance doesn’t just come with a variety of food, make sure to plan a healthy bar too! Not everyone goes for an ice-cold beer on the holidays, so add a fun low-calorie cocktail or spritzer to change things up. Opt. for fresh brewed iced tea over sugary pink lemonade and cut some fresh lemons for added flavor. 

         Let your guests build their ownhamburger or salad. It’s always fun to be the chef, but also an awesome way to give your guests the opportunity to create their own meal. With burgers they can forego the bun if they are looking for a low carb alternative or add more veggies if they love loading their burger up with tomato and lettuce. With salads, they can add their favorite toppings and avoid the ones they might have an allergy to.

Whether you’re looking to host a nutritious cookout, allergen friendly cookout, or a combo of the two, the best thing you can do is to plan ahead!Find out what allergies your guests have and plan a meal that offers both indulgences and healthy alternatives. You can keep your favorite pasta salad and hamburgers on the menu but look for some delicious healthy sides to balance out that plate. 

The Fourth of July is a great American holiday to spend with friends and family. Enjoy this year’s cookout with some fresh food, allergen free dishes, and a balance of healthy and family favorites!

Sources:

https://www.baltimoresun.com/food-drink/bs-fo-dinner-party-tips-20161101-story.html