While many summer cook-outs are full of creamy salads, grilled meat, and freshly-baked treats, not everyone can enjoy this traditional fare. For those of us with a special diet or food allergy, eating at holiday parties any time of year can be trying. We often get stuck with a plate full of burger toppings with our bellies grumbling. Having to eat before a party or bring your own food can feel not only embarrassing but even downright depressing. If you, like me, developed your food allergy later in life, it's easy to associate particular party foods with memories. When you can no longer enjoy those special treats, part of the fun of the holiday can be lost. If you plan on hosting a 4th of July party this year, try some yummy new dishes to accommodate everyone on your guest list. Don't let anyone feel lonely and left out of the celebration. Follow these tips for a delicious and allergy-friendly 4th of July party!
Apps & Snacks
No party is complete without nibbles! Keep your guests' tummies from grumbling while you cook the mains with some delicious apps. A good old-fashioned veggie tray tastes refreshing before a heavy meal and fits with every diet. Add your favorite hummus or a dip made with dairy-free sour cream for extra flavor. Freshly made guacamole with a variety of dippers is also sure to please a hungry crowd. If you are dying to fire up your grill, serve up some smoky grilled fruit or vegetable kabobs. Think sturdy produce like pineapple and stone fruits or mushrooms, onions, and squash that won't get too soft and fall off the skewers.
Fancy something on the sweeter side? Serve guests some fun fruit salsa. To make it, mix diced apples and grapes with pomegranate seeds, maple syrup, and lime juice for a sweet and tart treat. Don't forget the homemade gluten-free cinnamon pita or tortilla chips for dipping! The best part about this dish is it does double duty as a healthier dessert option.
Store-bought mains like burgers, hot dogs, and fried chicken won't cut it when you're watching out for food allergies. Switch it up with some delicious homemade creations instead. Try making burgers out of grass-fed beef, mushrooms, or black beans. Keep it gluten-free by serving them on lettuce wraps or wheat-free buns. No one will even miss the same old tired barbecue fare!
To really make your party food stand out from the crowd, consider making pizzas from scratch. Using mashed cauliflower for the crust makes this treat gluten-free, perfect for an allergy-friendly 4th of July soiree. Top with regular or vegan cheese and your favorite fresh vegetables for a nutritious and filling entree. Though it definitely won't fool anyone into thinking it is “real” pizza, this low-carb version will make your body feel great and let all of your guests enjoy the party spread.
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Sides are one of the easiest parts of planning an allergy-friendly 4th of July meal. Nothing says summer like a fresh, crunchy salad! Toss together straight-from-the-garden ingredients like tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, and your favorite leafy greens for a nutritious, filling side. Craving more traditional picnic salads? Replace the mayonnaise with mashed avocado in dishes like potato or egg salad. This makes a creamy treat that is actually good for you. Don't forget the classic corn on the cob! Boiled fresh and served with salt and pepper, this sweet summer staple fits with every diet.
Another cook-out favorite, potato chips, are often a no-go for people with food allergies. To let everyone in on the fun, whip up a batch of your own! Slice some potatoes or sweet potatoes, toss them with olive oil and your favorite herb or seasoning (think sea salt and vinegar, paprika, or lemon pepper) and bake. For an even healthier snack to crunch on, follow the same process with torn kale leaves. There is no yummier way to get your daily dose of greens.
Desserts and Drinks
Nothing tastes better in the summer than in-season fruit. Nature's candy makes a perfectly sweet (and healthy) ending to a meal and fits into every diet. Mix up a beautiful fruit salad of strawberries, blueberries, and whipped coconut cream to fit with the red, white, and blue theme. You can even layer it in a trifle dish for an Instagram-worthy dish.
Craving something cold? Beat the July heat with homemade allergy-friendly ice cream. Try a fresh and fruity flavor or go with a more decadent chocolate concoction. Don't have an ice cream maker? Consider this super easy vegan soft-serve instead. Just pop some frozen bananas and cocoa powder into your blender and pulse until creamy. For a healthier option, offer your family and friends homemade or store-bought fruit bars. They are just as good at helping beat the heat and give you some essential nutrients too!
No party would be complete without tasty things to sip on. If you have kids or non-drinkers at your party, mix up a batch of homemade ice-cold lemonade. Could there be a more refreshing, summery drink? Plus with just lemons, water, and sugar(or your sweetener of choice), it fits with every diet. For those who want to indulge in an adult beverage, set the celebratory mood by playing bartender. Whip up a few fancy cocktails, and your guests are sure to be impressed.
Include All Your Guests In The Fun!
Planning a big holiday party, especially the food aspect, can be stressful. This is especially true when you have loved ones with special diets. Thankfully with a little creativity and a lot of gumption (plus some help from the internet), you have tons of tasty options that let everyone in on the deliciousness. Whether you're hosting people with gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, or any other special diets, give one of these new recipes a go. You might even find a new favorite dish while planning your allergy-friendly 4th of July!