Allergy-Friendly Alfresco Dining: Tips for Packing a Safe + Scrumptious Spring Spread

With winter releasing its icy hold, making room for the cloudless days of spring, we’re more than ready to get outside & kickoff picnic & potluck season. However, if you or a loved one suffers from food allergies, this dining style can be difficult to navigate safely. 

Today, we’re rounding up our top allergy-friendly alfresco dining tips to ensure everyone enjoys a safe, delicious, & fun potluck or picnic experience. 

Ready for our picnic tips? Read on!

Allergy-Friendly Alfresco Dining 101

Divide + Denote + Conquer

One surefire way to ensure everyone is looped into guests allergies & simultaneously sharing in the food prep responsibilities, is through a spreadsheet. When sending out the invite to guests, request that each denote any food allergies for all members of their party. From there, have each attendee sign up for a particular dish (appetizer, entree, dessert, or drink) & encourage everyone to try to avoid or limit items other guests have noted as an allergy if possible.

Label Love

To ensure everyone is informed of any potential allergens or recipes that might potentially involve cross-contamination, request that guests bring a simple sticky-note label with their dish highlighting any allergens included in the dish, such as dairy, nuts, eggs, or wheat. As a secondary precaution, if you know someone with a severe allergy will be joining the gathering, ask guests to also call out any allergens if there was a possibility for cross-contamination.

Keep an Eye on Utensils

When guests begin to dig into each dish, make a brief announcement to ask that utensils are not used or shared between multiple items. This will help limit the risk for cross-contamination to ensure each quest is safe and informed when serving themselves. Plus, no one wants to use the serving spoon from the potato salad when going in for the fruit salad or scoop of sorbet.

Guests with Allergies Go First

To help limit the chances of dish or utensil-mixing & subsequent cross-contamination, it’s a safe bet to allow guests with severe food allergies to serve themselves first. This way, there’s less of a possibility for food-safety issues that can inherently and unintentionally popup when attendees are passing through the potluck line.

Offer a Potluck Plan B

If any guest or family member feels overwhelmed or uncertain about preparing an allergy-safe dish but still wants to contribute, encourage them to bring non-food items instead. Every potluck needs utensils, dining decor like tablecloths and flowers, napkins, ice, and allergy-free beverages like waters, juice, or sodas. This allows them to participate in a way that they feel comfortable with while keeping everyone at the picnic or potluck safe and at ease.

Ready to host your own allergy-friendly alfresco picnic or potluck gathering? Be sure to tag us on social at @safeandfair so we can follow along, hype up your hosting skills, & share with our followers.

Cheers to safe spring celebrations & outdoor dining (because everything tastes better in the sunshine)!