Safe Potluck and Snack Dishes for Friends with Food Allergies
Sep 29th, 2011 by Alice

Potlucks and snacks can be difficult when accomodating your food allergic friends. Here are some quick and easy (some are quicker and easier) snack options that work for us. We at least won’t have problems being in the room with these items. These may or may not work for your friends. Check with them about their allergens and list of safe snacks.

Here is a link to the general list of our allergies.

Chips and Dip

  • Corn chips and salsa or guacamole
    • (make sure the guacamole has no egg, mayonnaise, or milk ingredients).
    • No sour cream
    • 7-layer dip has beans and cheese and sour cream so is out, out, out!
  • Potato Chips – no dip
    • Most dips for potato chips are cheese or sour cream or ranch dressing – all bad
    • Check the potato chips – do not get ones cooked in peanut oil (like Tim’s)
    • No “sour cream and onion” or “cheese-this, cheese-that” flavored chips
    • Most flavored chips have milk powder in them … so plain or simply salted is best.

Veggies and Dip

  • Veggies (most veggies are okay except string beans, peas, and the like) here are some good ones:
    • Carrots
    • Celery
    • Broccoli
    • Cauliflower
    • Bell Peppers
    • Pickles (I guess you don’t dip pickles, but you do eat them)…
  • Dip
    • Veggie dip has the same problem as potato chip dip- it’s usually sour cream or ranch dressing, both milk-based and bad.
    • Vinaigrette dresssing (non-balsamic) is good.
      • Brianna’s and Annie’s have several kinds of safe and dippable dressing. Check for milk, egg, and balsamic vinegar before buying. Here are our favorites:
        • Brianna’s Zesty French
        • Brianna’s Real French Vinaigrette
        • Brianna’s Honey Mustard


Most fruits are safe for us to be around.

  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Pears
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Melons
  • Pomegranate
  • Grapes
  • Avocado
  • All the tropical fruits are not safe for us to eat (Mango, Guava, Kiwi … Starfruit) we can be around these fruits though.
  • Bananas and strawberries carry their own histamine. Alice can eat both, Jason can carefully eat a de-seeded strawberry or two. Safe to be around
  • Alice is skittish about eating pineapple. It is safe to be around though.


You’re going to have a hard time finding safe bread, but as long as the bread has no direct milk or egg ingredients, we’ll be fine around it. Go for sub-style sandwiches with enough toppings that people won’t miss the cheese

  • No cheese, butter, or mayonnaise
  • No balsamic vinegar
  • No peanut butter
  • Lettuce and all its relatives are fine
  • Cold cuts are fine – though we usually won’t eat them unless we can confirm they have calcium phosphate instead of calcium lactate.
  • Veggies as seen above are fine
  • Olives are fine, as are bell peppers and hot peppers
  • Pickles are yummy!
  • Mustard is safe – usually. watch those fancy mustards for odd ingredients.
  • Olive oil and vinegar (malt, white, red wine, cider etc) are great on subs – no balsamic.

Crackers and ______

Again, it is tough to find safe crackers, but we can be around them as long as they have no milk, egg, nut, cheese, or butter direct ingredients.

  • Cold cuts or smoked salmon
  • Pate – watch for secondary ingredients. We can be around all meats, but if this is made fancy with cheeses, or if they use egg or milk as a binder, then it is not okay!
  • Remember, no cheese
  • Tapenade – or grind up your favorite olives in a blender with some garlic and drain to make your own tapenade
  • Baby pizza toppings – Make up a dish of tomato paste and spices, and another few dishes of non-cheese favorite pizza toppings. People can build their own mini pizzas on crackers
    • Sausage/Hot dogs cut up small
    • Diced and/or caramelized onions
    • Diced bell pepper
    • Olives
    • Pineapple
    • Ham

Toothpick Food

Allergy-Free Cookies/Etc

  • Enjoy Life makes cookies we can eat: Snickerdoodles and Lemon Zest. These can be bought locally at PCC.
    • No chocolate!
  • Little Rae’s bakery uses milk and eggs, so they’re not safe for us.
  • Lucy’s Cookies use a garbanzo-bean based flour, so they’re not safe for us.
  • Most “allergy free” food is not free of all of our allergens, but you can always check with us about a specific brand!


Do you bake? Bake without nuts, peanuts, chocolate, fennel, anise, milk, butter, eggs, nutmeg, and allspice and you should be close to something we can be in the room with. See the rest of this website for safe baking recipes, or send us your recipe ahead of time. We won’t eat food you bake due to worries about cross-contamination with whatever you’ve baked before, but we’ll love it that other people are enjoying it.

Notes to the host:

If you really want us or your friends with food allergies to eat something, leave it sealed in the package until we arrive. Let us check the package ingredients, and then take what we want. Then put it on a plate for everyone else – this allows us to be in control of any cross-contamination.

Please don’t be offended if we or your friends choose not to eat food your provide, especially if you worked really hard for it to be safe. Eating is so much more than an enjoyable activity, or something we do to be polite to the host. For us, ingesting food is always a life safety issue, and sometimes we just don’t want to take any risks at all. We’ll be gracious about declining, appreciate the effort, be incredibly thankful we can be in the room with the food without worrying, and just not partake. You can help by being gracious about our choice not to. Thanks!

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