Nicole Bando | Dietitian & Lactation Consultant

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Allergy-friendly party food

If you are planning a party for children who have food allergies, it can seem overwhelming to know where to start. Follow these steps for safe and yummy party food. A food allergy is when a person’s immune system reacts to the protein in a food, causing symptoms such as hives, rashes or in more severe cases swelling of the mouth and throat (anaphylaxis). Find out which allergens you need to exclude and take it from there. The key allergens are: peanuts, dairy, wheat, egg & fish.

  1. Have a plan: Find out the symptoms of the child’s food allergy. Who will be supervising them? What is their allergy/anaphylaxis plan? Make sure they have their epi-pen & you or a supervising adult knows how to use it. Call an ambulance if the child demonstrates signs of an allergic reaction.
  2. Know your key allergens and read the ingredients list. It is Australian law that processed foods must be clearly labelled to include allergens using their common names (e.g. egg or milk) so that they can be easily recognised. Allergens are often shown in bold
    in the ingredients list. There is also a ‘contains’ section that has a summary list of the allergens present in that food. Check food labels every time you buy the product, as ingredients and processes can change.
  3. What about ‘may contain traces of?’ This means that there is a potential cross-contamination risk. It may be best to avoid these foods for safety reasons.
  4. Food preparation and cross contamination: When the tiniest amount of an allergen comes into contact with another food (e.g. crumbs from wheat bread are on the bread board used to prepare gluten-free bread) it can be enough to cause an allergic reaction. Set up the food preparation area in a clean environment away from other foods being prepared. Use only clean (using hot, soapy water) equipment when preparing food. Make sure that your hands are cleaned prior to preparing and serving as well and that any products used haven’t been exposed to allergens (e.g. margarine previously used for wheat containing bread).
  5. So what party foods can I serve? Choose fresh over processed foods, it is easier to avoid multiple food allergens this way. Have fun with fruit, e.g. fruit skewers or try our simple allergy-friendly popsicle recipe: Blend 500ml of plant-based milk, 1 tb of maple syrup and your choice of 300g frozen fruit. Pour mixture into moulds, add an icy-pole stick & freeze until solid. Also try gluten-free pizza bases with vegetables (either without cheese or with vegan cheese), tofu and vegetable skewers, mini beef burgers with gluten free rolls, 100% corn chips & avocado dip, popcorn (over 3 years), rice crackers & dried fruit. Consider party bags that are food free and perhaps involve craft, such as colouring.
  6. What about the cake? Check out this allergy free birthday cake recipe! – if looking for a wheat/gluten free option, swap out the plain flour for gluten-free flour.


  1. What is allergy? – Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) [Internet]. 2022 [cited 9 July 2022]. Available from:
  2. Avoiding Cross-Contact [Internet]. 2022 [cited 9 July 2022]. Available from:
  3. [Internet]. 2022 [cited 9 July 2022]. Available from:

By Emma McShane, Dietitian, edited by Nicole Bando, Dietitian & LC, August 2022