How to Manage Food Allergies and Birthdays Without the Stress

Sending your child with food allergies to a birthday party can be anxiety provoking for the parent and overwhelming for the host. Here are 5 tips on making allergies manageable at birthday parties, plus my all time FAVORITE nut, egg, and dairy free cupcake recipe.

party hat

Here are five tips for managing your child’s allergies at birthday parties:

1. Contact the host of the party ahead of time to make them aware of your child’s allergy and that you will bring food for him or her.

2. Ask what food will be served at the party so you can try to make a similar alternative for your child (I will share recipes on my blog!). This is a great time to talk with your child about the food that will be served and include him in deciding what he would like to bring to the party to eat. Always feed your child prior to coming to a party!  A full child is disinterested in food and less likely to eat something he shouldn’t.

3. Show up to the party early to chat with the host again. Use this time to remind her of your child’s specific allergies and to show her the epipen. I bring a small zippered kit containing an antihistamine and two epipens, with simple laminated instructions attached, with my phone number, symptoms of a reaction and how to give an epipen. I always stress that they do not have to try to feed my child anything from their home, and that he is totally fine eating his lunch full of special birthday treats.

4. If a parent seems unsure or nervous after you explain your child’s allergy and the epipen, offer to stay if they would feel more comfortable, or return when it is time to eat. I always make sure they know I am staying close to the area and am only a phone call away.

5. Lastly, take a deep breath. It is scary and overwhelming to trust others with your little one’s allergy. In most cases, your child doesn’t know life without his allergies and is very aware of them. Remind your child multiple times in the days leading up to the party that he can not share or touch other people’s food and that he must only eat what he brings. As adults, our gatherings revolve around food, but it is important to remember that a child’s focus is PLAY. It was often me that was more upset that my son couldn’t have the ice cream cake, not him. He is at the party to enjoy spending time with his friends, not to savour the pizza or the cake.

griff bday 8

(my oldest boy at his birthday eating his dairy, egg, and nut free cake!)

Here is my number one favorite recipe for children and adults with DAIRY, EGG, AND NUT allergies. I bet I’ve made this recipe 100 times over, as family and friends soon realised these cupcakes were even more delicious and moist as cupcakes full of things my son could not eat! As always, please read the ingredients prior to using them to make these cupcakes. I guarantee they will be a hit!

Vegan Cookies ‘n’ Cream Cupcakes
Adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World
Makes 12 cupcakes, 20 minute bake time

1 cup soy milk (you can also use rice or coconut milk)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup canola oil (any oil works)
1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 coarsely chopped vegan chocolate sandwich cookies, like Newman’s Own, or even Oreos!
6 vegan chocolate sandwich cookies halved

cookie recipe pic

1. Preheat over to 350˚F. Line a muffin pan with 12 paper or foil muffin liners.

2. In a large bowl combine the soy milk and vinegar and allow it to sit for a few minutes until the milk curdles. Once curdled, add the sugar, oil and vanilla extract and beat with a hand mixer until foamy.

3. In a separate bowl whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients slowly to the wet ingredients while mixing with a hand mixer until well combined. Fold in coarsely chopped oreos with a spatula.

4. Fill cupcake liners halfway with batter. Bake for 18–20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a cooling rack before icing. Garnish each cupcake after icing (see recipe below) with a halved cookie.

The Mama Coach’s Vegan Icing (I figured this perfect ratio after many, many attempts!) This icing is also perfect without the crushed oreos. Use the same ratio and add cocoa for chocolate icing, or just use it as plain vanilla!

3/4 C Dairy free margarine (example is Earth balance or Fleishman’s margarine- but always check!)

2 2/3 C Icing sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

A touch of soy, rice or coconut milk to thin if needed

Crushed vegan chocolate cookies (a put 5 oreos in a Ziploc bag, roll with a rolling pin then add to my mixed icing

cookie icing

1.Beat margarine with a hand mixer until fluffy. Slowly beat in powdered sugar.

2. Add vanilla and soy milk to the icing and beat until light and fluffy. Add cookies. Use a large bore tip to ice or put contents in a Ziploc freezer bag and cut the corner off.

oreo cupcake


Do you have more questions about food allergies? I’d love to help!


Carrie Bruno RN, IBCLC


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