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Eat, drink and be merry – survival tips for managing food intolerances in the festive season

Social events really ramp up during the festive season. And the food is bountiful. Seafood platters, ham and turkey, gingerbread houses, pavlova, Christmas cake, a cheese plate – it’s all delicious.

But navigating all those food-focused festivities can be difficult when some foods don’t agree with you. It’s all very well to eat, drink and be merry but you don’t want to pay for it afterwards.

So, here are our tips for enjoying the season when you need to be careful about the food you eat.

What are delayed food allergies?

Peanuts can cause a sudden, severe allergic reaction, often within minutes of consumption. That’s an example of a type 1 food allergy. It’s clear and dramatic – a bit like catching a criminal in the act.

But some food allergies are slower to declare themselves. With a delayed food allergy, you might eat the food on Monday but not notice any discomfort until Wednesday. By then, it’s harder to identify the trigger.

Your symptoms are probably less dramatic than a typical food allergy too. You might experience bloating, diarrhoea, itchy skin or constipation.

Delayed food allergies can be frustrating and distressing. It can feel ‘hit and miss’ as you try to work out which foods trigger symptoms and which ones are OK.

ImuPro offers a range of tests that remove the guesswork. Our tests measure your reactions to 44-270 different foods. Armed with that information, you’re able to make well-informed decisions about what you eat and so improve your quality of life.

Order your test today

Christmas food and delayed allergies

Christmas and New Year tend to be big social occasions. You’re likely to be invited out more often, meaning you’re eating away from home. And when you’re not eating food prepared in your own kitchen, you have far less control over what’s in it. You’re out of your comfort zone.

Living with a delayed food allergy can feel more difficult during the festive season because there:

  • Are more frequent food-based events
  • Can be more social pressure to ‘join in’
  • Are tasty temptations everywhere
  • Is often more alcohol on offer, which can:
    • Contain gluten, egg whites or fruits that trigger a reaction
    • Lower your resolve to avoid problematic foods.

Learn more about alcohol and food intolerances

Survival tips for food-based social gatherings

Our first tip here is about your mindset. If you’re invited to an event and you’d like to go, don’t let your food difficulties put you off. Instead, look for workarounds so you can enjoy both the occasion and the food.

Once you’ve decided to go, give some thought to the food aspects. Depending on the nature of the event, you could:

  • Eat at home before you go: This way, you’re in complete control of what you eat but can still enjoy the social aspect.
  • Check out the restaurant first: Examine the menu, call the venue and ask for more information about relevant dishes and see if they’re willing to adjust items for you
  • Bring your own food:  Many Aussie events are ‘bring a plate’. So make sure your plate is loaded with your ‘safe’ foods. That way you’re guaranteed to be able to eat something that agrees with you.
  • Talk to the host: If you’re invited to a dinner at someone’s house and they don’t ask about food allergies, raise it with them. You could say something like, “Thanks so much for inviting me. I’m really looking forward to it. I live with some food intolerances and can’t eat eggs, lactose, onions or fish. If that affects your menu planning, please let me know. I’m happy to bring something if it makes things easier.”

How can ImuPro help?

Food is something we encounter frequently and it’s meant to be enjoyed. If you experience symptoms of a delayed food allergy then we aim to help you gain some clarity.

Get started by:

All that’s left to say is…Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


*All information is general and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  


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