Thanksgiving – our favorite holiday centered around family and food. For the millions of Americans living with asthma and food allergies, it is just another complicated day of navigating an assortment of potential health triggers. Whether it’s the diary in the pumpkin pie, or the surprise nuts in the stuffing, there are endless possibilities of allergens that can potentially be encountered.

Unfortunately, many Thanksgiving staples often contain at least one of the main 8 food allergen categories – milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soy. If you are someone that will be monitoring your meal on Thursday for any of these, we’ve put a list of where to look out for hidden allergens.


The centerpiece has to be safe and allergy-free, right? And on it’s own, it most likely is. The danger comes in what it’s cooked in. Many basting broths and bouillon cubes contain soy. Eating it with gravy? Wheat flour is a common ingredient. It can be helpful to bring your own to eat so you know it’s safe. And if it’s deep fried? Make sure the oil that it’s fried in is allergy friendly to everyone!


Stuffing is a wild card since it seems everyone brings their own creative twist when it comes to preparing it. This also makes it potentially the most dangerous. It may include nuts, chestnuts, apple, bread (wheat), egg, gluten, chicken stock, herbs, seasoning, spices, milk and soybean (essentially anything!)


Just like the turkey, potatoes on their own are safe to eat. But it’s how they’re cooked that makes a difference. Oftentimes mashed potatoes are cooked in all kinds of dairy allergens like milk or cream, with cheese or sour cream added.

Cranberry and Sauces

Depending on the preparation, cranberry sauce may contain all kinds of nuts, walnuts, corn, pecans, etc. Some people’s creativity can bring all kinds of allergens to an otherwise safe side. 


While steamed or plain vegetables are generally allergen-free and safe to eat, be wary of any cooked in oils or sauces. Many common vegetable dish recipes contain various tree nuts or dairy products, which can turn harmless veggies into an allergen nightmare.

Pumpkin Pie and Dessert

This popular holiday staple may include a long list of allergens like wheat, egg, milk, nuts, nutmeg and gluten. It’s simple enough to check the labels on any store bought items, but homemade dishes can be harder to decipher. This is an easy dish to bring of your own if you’re worried about the ingredients of that homemade pie.

Managing one, or several, food allergies can be complicated and stressful for both the guest and the host. Keep open communication and if you are attending a Thanksgiving gathering, it’s always a good idea to bring safe food just in case.