Many of the clients we see at Bordeaux Nutrition follow a gluten-free and/or dairy-free lifestyle whether they have true allergies, intolerances, or health concerns that are alleviated when eliminating these foods. Although this can be a challenge at first, it is a maintainable diet that can be very beneficial to many individuals. For some, straying from this diet can result in severe reactions. One of the hardest things for those following a restricted diet is managing the holidays, both when preparing their own versions of holiday favorites and when attending holiday events. I’ve gathered some simple tips, suggestions and recipes to help you navigate your holidays GF/DF or to accommodate guests who may be GF/DF.
Swaps and Substitutions for a GF/DF Holiday Meal
- Make traditional stuffing with gluten free bread/breadcrumbs and oil or Earth Balance margarine instead of butter
- Prepare a wild rice stuffing instead of the traditional bread dressing
- Swap milk and butter for chicken/vegetable broth and olive oil in mashed potatoes
- Use almond or coconut milk and coconut oil in mashed sweet potatoes
- Opt for baked or roasted potatoes
- Use cornstarch instead of flour for gravies
- Choose steamed or roasted vegetables instead of casseroles and creamed veggies
- Check processed food labels for wheat. For example, canned cream soup and canned fried onions, ingredients in the classic green bean casserole, may include flour.
- Make a delicious dairy free pumpkin pie using the recipe on canned pumpkin by replacing 12oz evaporated milk with 8oz of full-fat canned coconut milk. Prepare crustless or use a gluten free crust.
- If making a crisp or crumble, prepare a topping with oats, which are available gluten-free, and walnuts.
- Check out these websites for more GFDF recipe ideas: Williams-Sonoma, Gluten-Free Goddess, Kids with Allergies, and Living Without
Tips for Navigating Holiday Parties
- Participate in planning or host the event yourself. If attending an event, talk to the host so they understand what foods you cannot have and why. Focus on foods you can have. Offer simple alternatives you enjoy.
- Prepare a dish that is safe for you to eat. Make something substantial in case other options are limited. Eat beforehand so you’ll be less tempted to eat irritating foods.
- Serve yourself first, and set aside some just for you to avoid cross contamination.
- Focus on the real reason you are gathering. The holidays are a time for being thankful, celebrating life and health, and being together with friends and family.
Keys for Keeping GF/DF foods and Guests Safe
- Label foods as gluten-free, dairy-free and keep them separate from foods containing gluten and dairy.
- Use separate sets of serving utensils, cookware and cooking tools.
- Prepare and cook GF/DF dishes first and in/on cleaned equipment and surfaces.
- Wash and sterilize everything coming into contact with the GF/DF food being prepared. To clean surfaces and larger appliances, use a dry towel to wipe down crumbs first, then wash or sterilize.
- Avoid cross contact while serving by allowing gluten-free, dairy free guests first.
- Cross-contact with an allergen or gluten through condiments is can happen easily from double-dipping with a utensil. Choose squeeze bottles when possible to eliminate double dipping, and clearly label the option that is free from gluten/dairy.
- Avoid “make-your-own” dishes with high risk for cross-contamination including sundaes, salads and topping bars.