The Holidays are a Challenging Time for Children with Food Allergies and Their Families

During the Holidays, a common gift that families and friends exchange are luscious goodies, but for children with life-threatening food allergies these treats can fill them with frustration.
By: Mark Sandler
Dec. 17, 2008 - PRLog -- South Salem, New York -- The Holidays are filled with cookies, candies, cupcakes and all sorts of wonderful goodies. Holiday foods are one of the most common gifts exchanged at this time of the year and everyone seems to be baking and buying Holiday foods. For children with life-threatening food allergies, all of these wonderful Holiday treats can cause frustration and confusion. Lori and Mark Sandler, the owners of Divvies (, a dedicated nut- and dairy-free gourmet bakery, understand this frustration. This Holiday season the good folks at Divvies have put together some helpful tips for the parents, families and friends of children with food allergies.

Lori Sandler became an expert in dealing with food allergies when her son Benjamin was diagnosed as being highly allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, sesame and shellfish. She started Divvies as a sweet solution for the millions who have serious food allergies and can't share in the fun of party treats or even the simplest playdate snacks. Lori was determined to bring the yummy, safe confections she'd perfected for Benjamin to the rescue of other parents who were struggling to find delicious treats for their children with food allergies.

Divvies philosophy is that eating and celebrating should be a shared, inclusive experience...not exclusive. Hence, Divvies tagline is "made to share"! “Holiday parties are a wonderful opportunity to turn a potentially isolating experience for a child into one where everyone has fun and feels included and no parent feels put out.” said Lori Sandler, co-founder of Divvies.

Here are a few simple ideas to help make the Holiday's more palatable for children with food allergies, .

1. R.S.V.P. as soon as your family receives an invitation. You want to make sure you give your hosts (and yourself!) plenty of time to comfortably work out allergy-free solutions. This gives them the opportunity to purchase "safe" foods (like those offered by or prepare foods using allergen-free ingredients.

2. Bring an allergy-safe and delicious dessert that everyone will enjoy. Make sure the dessert you bring not only tastes great but looks intriguing and festive. And that means serving platter included. Don’t bring over something the hostess has to scrounge around for a platter to put it on. She’s busy, don’t add to her work.

3. When home baked foods show up at your home as gifts and you are not sure of the ingredients, have alternative "safe" foods available for your child, so she doesn't feel left out of the celebration. These should be special treats, not the usual fare.

4. Ingredients in packaged goods sometimes change due to the season or recipe changes by the manufacturer. Always check ingredient lists and manufacturing practices on packaging to make sure that foods are still safe.

5. If you are the host for a large gathering where there are a lot of children and close supervision of what is being eaten might be difficult, steer clear of offering any items known to be highly allergic (e.g. peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, etc.). Make the whole table largely allergy-safe so everyone can relax and enjoy.

6. If you are a host for a smaller gathering where close supervision is less of an issue, serve a variety of food, but make sure the items, that are free of common allergens, are well-marked.

7. When hosting parties, know your guests and don’t be afraid to ask if anyone planning to attend your party has any allergies. Find out ahead of time and avoid making guests feel self-conscious about their allergies during the party.

8. Say, "Thank you!". After the party make sure to express your appreciation for all that your host did to make the event a safe, fun and inclusive occasion.

Remember that food allergies are quite common. Over 12 million people in the United States have severe food allergies and more than 90% of food allergic reactions are caused just 8 ingredients—peanuts, tree nuts (ie: walnuts, pecans), milk, egg, soy, shellfish, wheat and fish. With just a small amount of planning, Holiday treats can be enjoyed by everyone.

To view a wide selection of tasty and attractive Holiday goodies that just happen to be peanut, tree nut, egg and milk free, visit

Accredited media interested in discussing this press release in more detail are encouraged to contact Mark Sandler at , or call 914-533-0333

About Divvies
Divvies is headquartered in South Salem, NY, and is committed to raising awareness about and identifying new ways to help parents and children cope with food allergies. Divvies donates a portion of sales proceeds of their gift boxes to the Food Allergy Initiative, an organization dedicated to food allergy research. Accredited media interested in scheduling an interview should contact Mark Sandler at or call 914-533-0333

Mark Sandler, President
240 Oakridge Common
South Salem, NY 10590
Location:United States
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