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What to Bring: 5 Easy, Festive, and Allergy-Friendly Dishes

Updated: Jun 22

A group of overweight, unhealthy people enjoying hotdogs and other barbecue food at an outdoor gathering. They are gathered around a grill, laughing

Bringing your own dish not only ensures you have something safe to eat but also adds to the potluck spread in a thoughtful way. Here are five easy, impressive, and allergy-friendly dishes that will fit right in with the 4th of July spirit:

1.Cauliflower "Potato" Salad

Swap out the potatoes for cauliflower in this classic dish. Combine steamed cauliflower florets with diced celery, red onion, pickles, and a mustard vinaigrette for a paleo-friendly twist on potato salad.

2. Grilled Chicken Drumsticks with Herbs

Marinate chicken drumsticks in a mix of olive oil, garlic, rosemary, and thyme. Grill until crispy and golden, offering a delicious and protein-packed dish that's easy to share.

3. Zucchini Noodles with Pesto

Spiralize fresh zucchini and toss with a homemade pesto made from basil, garlic, pine nuts, and olive oil. This light, refreshing dish is a great alternative to traditional pasta salads.

4. Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus

Wrap asparagus spears in bacon and grill until the bacon is crispy. This simple yet flavorful dish is sure to be a hit and is both gluten-free and dairy-free.

5. Watermelon and Mint Salad

Refreshing and perfect for summer, this salad combines chunks of watermelon with fresh mint and a squeeze of lime juice. Simple, paleo-friendly, and delicious.

Safest Bets at the Potluck Table

When you don’t know what’s in the food, stick to simple, whole foods. Fresh fruits, raw veggies, plain meats, and simple salads are generally safer bets. Avoid dishes with creamy dressings, unknown sauces, or complex mixtures that might hide allergens.

Top 10 Most Allergenic Foods and Common Dishes

  1. Milk - Found in creamy dishes, cheese platters, and desserts.

  2. Eggs - Present in baked goods, mayonnaise-based salads, and certain dressings.

  3. Peanuts - Often found in cookies, desserts, and Asian dishes.

  4. Tree Nuts - Present in salads, baked goods, and pesto.

  5. Wheat - Found in breads, pastas, and baked goods.

  6. Soy - Hidden in sauces, marinades, and processed foods.

  7. Fish - Present in some salads, dips, and cooked dishes.

  8. Shellfish - Found in seafood salads, stews, and mixed dishes.

  9. Sesame - Present in breads, hummus, and certain dressings.

  10. Corn: salads, pudding & gravies (corn starch), tortillas/ taco shells, chips, chilli, cornbread

Balancing Act: Good, Better, Best

Remember, navigating potlucks is a balancing act. Focus on a spectrum of good, better, and best choices rather than striving for perfection. Enjoy the dishes you can eat without stress, and if you end up indulging a bit, give yourself grace. The goal is to celebrate and enjoy the company, not to feel restricted.

Celebrate What Matters

Ultimately, these gatherings are about more than just food—they’re about connecting with loved ones, making memories, and celebrating together. Focus on the aspects you love, like the laughter, the stories, and the fireworks, rather than the foods you can’t eat. By bringing your own delicious dishes and making mindful choices, you can enjoy the best of both worlds.

Happy 4th of July! Here’s to a joyful, stress-free celebration with plenty of good food and great company.


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