Food allergies are on the rise in North America and they do not discriminate with respect to gender, age or ethnicity. The most common food allergens today include cow’s milk, eggs, fish and shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, and soy.
With so many common food allergens in chocolate, candy and on restaurant menus, it may seem impossible to make your sweetheart happy as far as food is concerned. Can you get romantic with someone who has food allergies this Valentine’s Day, or any other day? Well, of course you can! You just need a little allergy-friendly knowledge and know-how. Don’t avoid someone just because they avoid certain foods—you just might need to avoid certain foods one day as well! Here are some tips on how to keep the romance with food allergies.
Get to know your sweetheart’s dietary needs.
Don’t be afraid to ask your partner about what foods they can and can’t have. Let them open up to you about what foods they are allergic to, and where those ingredients are hidden (for example, soy and wheat are hidden in many unsuspecting packaged foods). Food is part of our lives on so many levels, including romance, so embrace it and discover the many allergen-friendly options available today!
Make dinner for your sweetie.
This is always a romantic gesture, regardless of the occasion. Choose healthy protein and vegetable sources based on foods your partner is allowed and go from there. Don’t assume anything, but at the same time, don’t be afraid to make a mistake as you are learning! Ask lots of questions before and during the meal. Find out what foods (and wine) your partner loves.
Learn about cross contamination and hiding spots.
Ask about where the foods your loved one can’t have are hiding, such as in soups, stews, sauces and dressings. Discuss how to prevent cross contamination with respect to dining in (or out). For example, you will need to use a clean counter to chop and prep food, and you may need to wrap food in foil before cooking it. You can’t boil the gluten-free noodles in the same pot as the regular noodles, and you can’t put the gluten-free bread in the regular toaster.
Be wise about packaged foods.
Many sweet treats are not free of common allergens. If you are preparing anything pre-made or packaged to serve or share, show your partner the ingredient list ahead of time. Pay attention to “may contain” statements on packaged foods where the font can be very small.
Choose wisely where you dine out.
Choose dining establishments that offer a safe menu, free of the foods your partner cannot have (for example, gluten-free or dairy-free). When you make a reservation at a restaurant, inform the staff about your date’s special diet. Once you arrive, inform the chef of your partner’s food allergies and dietary requirements.
Make your own sweet treat for your honey.
There are many healthy allergy-friendly recipes found in cookbooks and online blogs, so choose wisely!
From chocolate to cookies and biscotti, homemade is always best made, and it genuinely shows that you care because you took the time (not just the cash out of your wallet) to do so. Women find this to be very romantic. Here is a recipe I created for Easy Almond Butter Truffles that you can whip up in no time. Place your truffles in a pretty box with a colourful ribbon to impress your honey.
This truffle recipe is simple and decadent. It is easy to make and there is no cooking or baking involved to boot!
1/2 cup pure, unsweetened almond butter
3 tablespoons raw, organic honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1/4 cup chopped nuts of your choice
Combine almond butter, honey and vanilla in a bowl.
Stir mixture with a spoon until well combined and you have a soft “dough”.
Refrigerate the “dough” for a few hours.
Form small 1 inch round balls with your hands and roll in chopped nuts until completely covered.
Makes 1 dozen truffles.
Store in fridge or freezer (but trust me, you won’t have leftovers!)