Balancing Holiday Tradition with Food Allergies

Cheryl Marks Young
3 min readApr 15, 2022
Balancing Holiday Tradition with Food Allergies

Holidays and food traditions tend to go hand in hand. For food allergy families, the social and religious traditions around meals and treats can transform those observances into a minefield of risk.

When it’s a holiday like Passover or Easter with food knit closely to your religious traditions, the stress can feel kicked up an extra notch. How do you balance tradition with safety? The following list of potential concerns and solutions may help you prepare.

The Passover Seder

The Passover Seder is composed with a long list of traditional meals and food-based components that help us connect with the story of Passover and honor our faith. Here’s the good news: most of the food-based traditions on our table can be substituted for safer options. Have a conversation with your allergist and your rabbi to identify ways you might incorporate those adaptations while balancing health and tradition. You’ll find a list of adaptations to consider here: Celebrating Passover with Food Allergies.

The Last Supper

For many Christians, the week leading up to Easter is filled with religious observances and traditions from Palm Sunday through Good Friday. For some, Maundy Thursday worship services offer an opportunity to remember the Last Supper by taking communion. For those with wheat allergies or who need to avoid gluten, this presents a familiar conundrum as one of the elements involved is a small bit of bread.

Speak to clergy ahead of time and ask about using a safe substitution for the allergic individuals in your family. Some churches will offer a gluten-free wafer or cracker as a regular part of their communion services already. Others may be willing or able to permit you to bring a safe substitute by request.

Go Plastic, Wood, or Ceramic

If egg allergies are a concern for your family, this spring’s holidays are a basket full of stressful encounters. From the hard-boiled egg on the Seder table to the egg dyeing and hunts connected with Easter, eggs are everywhere. The good news is that you can skip the hard-boiled variety.

During Passover, the hard-boiled egg is used to represent rebirth. A simple substitute, as…

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Cheryl Marks Young

Leadership & Financial Mgmt Consultant, Award Winning Author, Coffee Lover, Entrepreneur, Kitchen Chemist, Food Allergy Awareness Advocate, The Allergy Ninja