I am hosting my kid’s birthday party at my home in a few weeks and I am planning on serving peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch at the party. I am worried that some kids may be allergic to peanuts. How do I find out and handle at my upcoming party?
Yes, this is definitely a concern that should be on your mind. It would seem the quick solution would be to not serve the PB&J at your party, but that only covers kids allergic to peanuts. Unfortunately, kids can be allergic to any number of ingredients today, and so it is difficult to find out about the food allergies that kids may have and plan accordingly.
The perfect time to find out if the kids attending have allergies is to ask the parents directly when they RSVP to your party. Take that time to ask the question. Often people do not RSVP, and you may have to chase down the replies yourself. However it happens, make sure to have this conversation to be clear.
If no one has any allergies, you are in luck and can plan your menu accordingly!
If there are kids with allergies, you may want to adjust your party menu based on the responses you received from the parents. However, if there is only one kid who has a peanut allergy, perhaps you will want to serve this kid something different, but everyone else will eat the original menu you have planned. If this is the case, make sure to serve the kid with the allergies at the same time as the others and not last so the kid does not feel awkward or left out.
Now, some allergies can be severe. I knew someone who had a terrible reaction to onions, and not only could she not eat them, but she couldn’t have them on the plates of anyone at her table, and, it was actually so bad, that she couldn’t be in a room where onions were present. That’s tough. Make sure to ask the parents about the severity of the allergy, i.e. can he be in the room where peanuts are being served. The parent will know the answer to this question. If this is the case, you may want to change your menu so that the kid will not be in a different room from the rest of the party when the meal is being served.
There may be kids who have lots of allergies to basic ingredients, such as in basic items like bread. If this is the case, it may be easier for these kids to bring their own food to be safe. This is an alternative suggestion if the kids allergies are wide and severe.
The number one key to figuring out this puzzle is to discuss this with each of the kids’ parents who will be attending. Once you know, you can plan accordingly and the worry of food allergies at your kid’s birthday party will be gone.