Ten Tips for a Gluten-Free Holiday
Navigating the holiday season with a dietary restriction can be challenging. But with a little preparation and a positive attitude, you can savor the festivities worry-free. Here are twelve invaluable tips to ensure you have a joyful and gluten-free holiday season.
1. Start Cooking
Cooking is a powerful step towards a successful gluten-free lifestyle. Practice makes perfect, so don’t be discouraged if you have a flop or two. For inspiration, try recipes from my Gluten-Free Meal Plans – Gluten–Free or Gluten-Free with Dairy-Free Options. These plans are 75% plant-based and promote healthy digestion and reduce inflammation.
Teaching kids basic cooking skills empowers them and helps them navigate their food restrictions with confidence. It’s much easier to navigate a restriction when you know how food is made.
Not sure where to start? Check out Raddish Kids, a cooking club, culinary lesson, and mealtime solution all-in-one. All kits have modifications for gluten, dairy, and egg restrictions. Cooking is an ideal way for kids to take risks, learn from their mistakes, follow directions, foster creativity, curiosity, and resilience, become independent, and try new things! A Raddish Kids membership also makes a great holiday gift.
2. Recreate Traditions
It can be hard to forgo longstanding holiday traditions, so recreate them with gluten-free substitutes. King Arthur’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour is my go-to for baked goods. Substitute Canyon Bakehouse for Grandma’s legendary stuffing recipe. Simple recipes with fresh ingredients like sauteed mushrooms and green beans provide a pop of color with plenty of nutrients and fiber.
Awareness of food restrictions is on the rise, but restaurants, family members, and friends still might be clueless. When attending a holiday gathering, proactively ask the host what you can bring and if any guests have food allergies. This is a great way to get the conversation started when it comes to your restrictions. A turkey stuffed with bread stuffing is no longer gluten-free. If this is a deal breaker for the host, pack a picnic (see #5).
4. Bring Something Gluten-Free to Share
I don’t know any meal that doesn’t pair with a hearty salad. Salads are my quick fix. If the main entrée isn’t gluten-free, I just bring some grilled chicken to make the salad an entrée. Looking for seasonal flavor inspiration, check out my DIY Salad and Bowls Guide?
5. Pack a Picnic
You’ve seen the meme, right? “Living with Celiac Disease is like a Picnic. You literally bring your own food everywhere.” Sometimes, it’s just best to pack your own meal or treat. I’m cautious with these events: potlucks, appetizer/cocktail parties, and birthday parties – especially birthday parties for the kiddos. Pack your gluten-free child with one of their favorite gluten-free treats when they head to a birthday party.
6. Eat Before You Go
You asked all the right questions, but the answers don’t feel quite right. Consider having a snack or a meal-sized bite before heading out. It’s also hard to make good decisions when you are famished. Also, remember, social gatherings are about connecting with others, and the food is just one aspect of the experience.
7. Host The Holiday Gathering
Taking charge of the event allows you to control the food situation while enjoying the festivities. Hosting requires hard work, but the peace of mind makes it well worth the effort.
8. Be a Problem Solver
Buffet-style gatherings can be challenging for those with dietary restrictions. Provide disposable serving utensils for each dish to avoid cross-contact. Designate a safe area for gluten-free options. Be cautious with shared condiments like butter, especially when gluten-containing food is being served.
9. Establish Boundaries
Establishing boundaries in the kitchen helps maintain a gluten-free environment. By designating specific areas for gluten-containing items, you can minimize the need for constant cleaning, making the process much more manageable. If you live in a shared household, get a system set up today.
10. Toss and Replace Utensils and Cookware with Compromised Surfaces.
Prioritize the safety of your kitchen by replacing scratched or compromised utensils and cookware. Opt for stainless steel and glass surfaces, which are easy to clean and less likely to harbor gluten particles.
With these ten tips, you can confidently navigate the holiday season while staying true to your gluten-free lifestyle. Remember, preparation and open communication are key. Embrace the festivities, focus on connections, and savor every moment of this special time of year. Happy holidays!