Safe and Savory Spring Soiree: Tips for an Allergy-Free Picnic

Safe and Savory Spring Soiree: Tips for an Allergy-Free Picnic

Published on Thursday, May 09, 2024 by Kelly Velting

Elevate Your Picnic with Allergy-Free Fun

Elevate your picnic with allergy-free fun. Choose a park with fun climbing or walking paths, pack fun games like Frisbees or bubbles, and bring along a homemade hand-washing station. Don’t forget your medication (just in case). Make it a day of happy memories, not stress and anxiety! 

Springtime is exciting for getting outside for your first picnic of the year. Still, environmental allergies, food allergies, and a host of kids all running around might not sound relaxing. Put your anxiety to rest with these helpful tips to prepare for a fun time outside.

Planning an Allergy-Free Meal

Plan an allergy-free meal (for everyone) so you don’t have to worry about sticky fingers spreading cheese or peanuts onto the “normally” allergy-free crackers. I like to bring a big assortment of freshly cut vegetables and fruits in a large, covered tray so there are lots of crunchy appetizers.  You can also add fun salty garnishes like olives or pickles. Make sandwiches beforehand and add each person’s name on the plastic baggie to avoid confusion about who gets what. Potato chips or basic pretzel sticks are a good option for a salty side item. (Just make sure the pretzels or chips don’t have seasoning that contains one of the allergens you need to avoid.)  

Prioritizing Cleanliness: Preparing Your Picnic Site

Clean up before and after eating. Bring a tablecloth with a plastic coating to wipe clean with a disposable sanitizing rag. Bring a homemade hand-washing station or find a picnic location near the public restrooms so everyone can wash their hands before and after eating. Using hand sanitizer does NOT get rid of allergens and can make the problem worse. The best way to clear your hands of allergens is to wash them away with soap and water physically.

Serving Safely: Tips for Avoiding Cross-Contamination

Serve the food with tongs or utensils. Limit the number of hands touching the food. You can also bag or box up each person’s meal separately. Sometimes, it’s nice to limit the amount of work on yourself (you’ve got enough to do!). If you have serving utensils in all the dishes and encourage everyone to use them, then it will be easier not to spread allergens to other foods.  

Emergency Preparedness: Don't Forget Your Medication

In the case of an accident, don’t forget to bring your medication. No matter how careful we might be, mistakes still happen. Don’t panic. Just be prepared and be thankful you have medication available as an excellent treatment in times of need. For kids with food allergies, bring your epinephrine auto-injector. If you have asthma, bring your inhaler. Being outside in the spring increases the risk of irritating the sinuses and lungs with possible environmental allergens, so it’s good to be prepared with over-the-counter antihistamines and asthma treatment if needed. People with asthma are usually the first to notice the change in seasons.

Delicious Picnic Ideas for Allergy-Free Dining

Try one of these options for your spring picnic:

  • Chicken salad with pumpkin seeds and grapes (or golden raisins). [Contains egg (mayo dressing)]
  • Hummus and fresh vegetables with sliced salami, cheese, and crackers. [Contains sesame (hummus), milk, wheat (crackers)]
  • Turkey sandwiches on whole wheat with lettuce, tomato, chopped basil leaves, and mayonnaise and served with a side of potato chips and mandarin oranges. [Contains wheat (bread) & egg (mayo)]
  • Gluten-free pasta salad with quinoa rotini noodles, Italian dressing, chopped black olives, cherry tomatoes, diced orange sweet pepper, and chopped avocado (served cold). Add some grilled chicken for more protein. [May contain soybean oil (dressing)]
  • Grilled hamburgers with lettuce, onion, tomato, mayo, mustard, and ketchup. Serve with corn chips and fresh tomato salsa or guacamole. [Contains wheat (bun) and egg (mayo)] 

What do you like to bring to your picnics?  Share your favorite allergy-free picnic recipes, tips, and activities in the comments. 

  1. Krisgo. (2013, April 17). Hand washing station. Do It And How. 

Leave a comment on this article: