Great Holiday Gifts for People With Food Allergies

Are you shopping for someone with food allergies? Are you stumped about what to get? You've come to the right place. We've gathered resources on eight great gifts for people with food allergies, from safe candies to time-saving kitchen appliances. 

1

Visions of (Safe) Sugarplums

colorful assorted candy

Maximilian Stock / Getty Images

Every child (young and old) deserves a little sweetness at the holidays. Lots of companies are producing allergy-friendly sweets, but they can sometimes be hard to find. Here are a few companies that make delicious, allergy-friendly candies and cookies:

  • YummyEarth Hard Candies: YummyEarth hard candies come in fun flavors like Googly Grape, Chili Mango Mambo, or my favorite: Wet Face Watermelon. All are organic, vegan, and free of nuts, soy, wheat, eggs, peanuts, gluten, dairy, corn syrup, and artificial flavors.
  • Vermont Nut-Free Chocolate Coins: Kids of all ages will love these nut- and peanut-free chocolate coins. Vermont Nut-Free Chocolates are made in a dedicated nut-free facility.
  • Hammond's Candies All-Natural Candies: Hammond's huge, hand-crafted lollipops and candy canes make a spectacular stocking stuffer or gift box topper. Hammond's also crafts butterscotch pillows and ribbon candy that are free of food dyes and gluten. Note that this is not a dedicated facility, there are nuts, dairy, and soy present in the candy factory.

When buying candy, be sure you know the specific allergies of your gift recipient. A box of nut-free milk chocolates is a real bummer if you have a dairy allergy.

2

Food Allergy Gift Baskets

Holiday gift baskets are always favorites, but take care when ordering for someone with food allergies. A basket may be advertised as "allergy-free," but who cares if it's free of eggs if you are allergic to nuts? If you don't know the foods your gift recipient must avoid, it's best to go with a non-food option, such as books, toys, or a gift certificate.

  • Divvies: Divvies stylish vegan gift baskets are full of treats that contain no nuts, peanuts, eggs, or dairy. They specialize in gourmet cookies, chocolate, and popcorn.
  • The Royal Basket Company: They offer a variety of allergy-friendly gift baskets that are searchable by allergen or diet (sugar-free, GFCF). Those with severe allergies can choose gift baskets produced entirely in dedicated allergen-free facilities. Plush teddy bears perch atop piles of allergy-friendly toys and sweets for the little ones, while adults may enjoy a basket of "Gourmet Pleasures" with smoked salmon, olives, and crunchy snacks.
  • Natural Candy Store: The site features an entire category of candies free of the top eight allergens and offers gift baskets of allergy-free candies.
3

Jewelry With a Purpose

If you're going to have to wear it every day, you should really like your medical ID jewelry. Luckily, there is a huge variety to choose from sport bands for active kids and adults, pendants shaped like teddy bears or trains, hand-crafted beaded bracelets, and stylish takes on dog tags.

  • Lauren’s Hope: Lauren’s Hope has one of the largest selections of fun, funky medical jewelry for boys and girls from pendants with colorful robots and dinosaurs to bright waterproof wristbands. They also carry natural stone beaded bracelets for women and chunky leather wristbands for men. If you are looking for something unusual and special, check out their selection of handcrafted medical jewelry.
  • Medic Alert: Medic Alert is a subscription service that allows you to create an online medical record that emergency personnel can access by calling a hotline. If you have multiple allergies or other medical conditions, they may not all fit on your jewelry, so having a call-in record available is essential. Medic Alert’s online store has some fun sport bands for kids and lovely beaded bracelets.
  • Creative Medical ID: The selections at Creative Medical ID are indeed creative, including chunky charm links, leather bands, and awareness charms on beaded bracelets.
4

Hip and Fun Auto-Injector Cases

Autoinjector cases come in every shade of the rainbow, and an amazing variety of stylish patterns and designs.

  • Kozygo: Kozygo makes hip autoinjector cases and inhaler pouches in styles such as “EpiPrincess” and “Safari Pixel.”
  • Allergy Apparel: Choices here range from cute, colorful pouches to armbands perfect for working out.
5

Gifts for the Food Allergy Reader

Do you have a reader on your list who has food allergies? Try one of these book or magazine ideas:

  • Subscription to a food allergy magazine:  Allergic Living is a great resource for the newly diagnosed or those looking for new tips and recipes.
  • Books about food allergies: There are many good books about food allergies on the market these days. Someone with newly-diagnosed food allergies might like Food Allergies for Dummies, while someone who has been managing allergies for years might enjoy a personal memoir.
  • Food allergy cookbooks: Use caution when buying food allergy cookbooks. Many of them only cover one or two allergens, so be sure you know the specific allergies of your gift recipient before making a purchase.
  • Books or magazines that have nothing to do with food allergies: Food allergies are only one part of our lives. Sometimes the best book is a good novel, or a book on classic cars, or yoga, or whatever other interests we may have.
6

Allergy-Friendly Gifts for Kids

Kids with food allergies are kids, and kids like toys. Toys made out of hard plastic, metal or wood are more asthma and allergy-friendly than stuffed toys. Legos, blocks, or plastic dolls can all be wiped down or washed and don’t harbor dust mites. Check with parents before buying toys, games, or art supplies. Some gift ideas for kids with allergies or asthma are:

Allergy-friendly stuffed animals: Because many children with food allergies also have asthma, and some plush animals may be stuffed with nutshells or soy-based fibers, certified allergy and asthma friendly stuffed animals take the worry out of shopping. Plush Puppy to Go has created a line of cute, asthma and allergy-friendly stuffed toys, and Kids Preferred also sells asthma and allergy-friendly stuffed animals.

Children’s books: Children’s books about food allergies make great gifts at any time of the year. Try Clever Jack Takes the Cake, a fairy tale that features a princess with food allergies. If you are buying for a toddler with soy allergies, avoid books printed with soy-based inks.

What not to get for kids with food allergies (unless their parents tell you it is OK):

  • Toy food versions of their allergens
  • Modeling clay or play dough (many are made from wheat or contain soy)
  • Paints or crayons (may contain dairy or soy)
  • Temporary tattoos, make-up or body paints (anything that goes on the body requires extra scrutiny from parents)
  • Bubble bath (many contain dairy, soy, or nuts, or may just irritate sensitive skin)
7

The Gift of Time

Those of us managing food allergies spend a lot of time in the kitchen. While we may enjoy cooking, it is also nice to take a break from it once in a while.

  • Bread machine: Gluten-free and allergen-free bread is expensive. Some people with food allergies find that making their own bread saves money and it can save time, too, if you have a good bread machine.
  • Slow cooker: Being able to leave something cooking while you are out of the house is the solution to busy evenings when no one has time to cook.
  • Rice cooker: If your gift recipient eats a lot of rice, an electric rice cooker can be a real time-saver. Some have the capability of keeping rice warm all day without it drying out.
  • Gift certificate for an allergy-friendly personal chef (professional chef or friendly amateur): Personal chefs are expensive, but if you know enough about food allergies that your gift recipient feels comfortable eating your cooking, a promise to come over and cook a meal will be appreciated both for the food and the company.
8

Food Allergy Donations

Are you shopping for someone who has everything? Maybe they would appreciate the gift of giving. Try a donation in their name to a non-profit food allergy organization, such as:

9

What Not to Give People With Food Allergies

Before you wrap up that plate of cookies, read this list of what not to give people with food allergies:

  • Homemade food. Even if all the ingredients are safe for your gift recipient, the risk that something else made its way into the food (cross-contamination) is too great. Most people with food allergies will politely accept a gift of homemade food, but we are unlikely to eat it.
  • Lotions, soaps, or massage oils. Nuts, dairy products, or soy are often in bath and spa products. We feel safer shopping for these ourselves.
  • Scented candles or perfumes. Many of us also have environmental allergies or asthma, and artificial scents can aggravate our symptoms.
  • Spatulas, wooden spoons, or aprons. We spend a lot of time in the kitchen, but for most of us, it is a necessity, not a hobby. Unless your gift recipient is a celebrity chef wanna-be it is best to steer clear of culinary gadgets. (However, the labor-saving kind likely will be welcomed!)
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