Cooking itself can sometimes feel like a daunting task. Imagine adding the burden though of cooking safely for someone with food allergies. This person’s health is in your hands and your kitchen, and it’s no surprise that some people feel overwhelmed when presented with this obligation.

Luckily, we’ve got the lowdown for you on how to cook safely for someone with food allergies. Follow these simple tips below, and you’ll be a pro in no time. No need to feel stressed in the kitchen ever again.

Plan Ahead

One of the most important things you can do in cooking for someone with food allergies is to plan ahead. If you know you’ll be serving someone with food sensitivities, make sure to do a thorough cleaning of your kitchen beforehand. Everything from your countertops to your utensils and cutting boards should be given a look over if you’ve previously been cooking with ingredients that could be hazardous to one of your guests.

Another reason to plan ahead is to ensure that you’ll be able to accommodate for any food allergies. Choose recipes that either don’t contain food allergens, or be ready to make substitutions. Depending on the situation, it may be ideal to keep all food at your event or gathering safe for individuals with food allergies. This way, there’s no confusion over which dishes a person can safely consume and you don’t have to worry about cross contamination with serving utensils and such.

Clearly Label Dishes

If you know there will be certain dishes in your kitchen that are not safe for individuals with food allergies, make sure you clearly label this. Just mentioning in passing that a person should not eat a certain meal due to food allergens isn’t enough nowadays, especially if you’re dealing with young children. Create labels for your meals and clearly mark those which contain allergens. Going the extra step is always appreciated, and it helps ensure the safety of your company, which is priceless.

Research Substitutions

It’s great when you can keep a meal safe for everyone. It’s the easiest way to avoid a potential problem. Research substitutions for ingredients that you know your guests may be allergic to. This way, everyone can enjoy your delicious dish!

Read Labels Thoroughly

If you’re cooking for someone with food allergies, make sure you’re reading every label of every ingredient thoroughly. Even if the ingredient doesn’t actually contain an allergen, foods processed in the same factories can sometimes produce reactions in people with food allergies. Even if you’re just switching up brands for what looks like the exact same ingredient otherwise, you still need to check that it’s free of allergens and potential cross contamination during production.

Avoid Cross Contamination

When you’re preparing or serving food, make sure you avoid cross contamination. If everything in your kitchen is safe for someone with food allergies, you won’t have to worry about this. If you’re working with a variety of dishes though, some of which contain unsafe ingredients, you’ll need to be careful about using clean utensils and surfaces for each dish. Cross contamination can be a very serious issue, so you need to alert guests with food allergies ahead of time if you think there’s any possibility this may have occurred.

Ask Questions

Not sure which brands, ingredients, etc. are safe? Just ask! The best thing you can do when preparing food for someone with food allergies is to be educated, and ask if you have a question. It doesn’t hurt to be over prepared or overcautious. While it may take some extra time in the kitchen, you’ll set your mind at ease and learn how to prepare food safely with less  hassle each time.

Have you ever cooked for someone with food allergies?