Recently we ran a holiday contest where we asked our Facebook fans to share their favorite holiday story around eating gluten free. We loved hearing some of your stories and thought we’d turn your experience and knowledge into a blog post to help others who may be seeking advice on dining with family and friends this season.
Here are our curated tips for gluten free holiday eating.
Focusing on the Meat
If you’re not the one in charge of cooking and your hosts are tuned in to the ins and outs of Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivity, they will most likely be well aware of any food-centric anxiety you may have. However, you may simply remind them to be careful of add-ons such as turkey broth, some marinades, gravy, seasoning packets, spice blends, traditional stuffing and anything else where gluten may lurk. Roasted turkey or chicken, steaks, pork chops are all gluten free meats to enjoy during Thanksgiving festivities.
“My favorite holiday meal is turkey and dressing and gravy. First, I was diagnosed with food allergies, including my favorite food, turkey. Then I was diagnosed with Celiac. So now I roast a chicken and use Three Bakers stuffing mix as the base for my dressing for my holiday meals.”
Enjoying Healthy Veggies
Thanksgiving vegetable options run aplenty and (if you’re keeping tabs on what they are served with) can be utterly satisfying in-and-of themselves. You can never go wrong with greens such as roasted kale, Brussel sprouts or broccoli, green bean casserole (prepared with gluten free cream of mushroom soup) or any variety of potato. A salad can also offer a delicious choice when thinking of a side, or even a main dish.
“This is the first Thanksgiving that my son (16) and I will have as gluten free. I was diagnosed with celiac two days before my son’s wedding in May this year and my youngest son as gluten sensitive. We both love stuffing and green bean casserole. I have found gluten free cream of mushroom soup and a recipe to make the fried onions.”
Making Simple Swaps
Luckily, with the growing choice of gluten free substitutes, it’s easy to simply swap your traditional favorites. From gluten free stuffing mix to healthy, gluten free bread for leftover turkey sandwiches, options have grown tremendously over the past few years.
“Every Thanksgiving I prepare the family thanksgiving. We have a gluten free meal for those with Celiac and who are gluten intolerant. We have turkey, mashed potato, green beans, homemade rolls. I have not made stuffing for the last few years. We recently found the Three Bakers bread. It’s the only bread my daughter will eat. I’m looking forward to having stuffing back in my life.”
“I am not a gluten Nazi. I am not above buying my family their starched planes of white bread while I happily munch my Three Baker’s cinnamon toast, made from 7 Ancient Grains.”
“My mother’s made from scratch hazelnut stuffing is my very favorite holiday memory. I will love to be able to make it again with my very favorite gluten free bread’s company….Three Bakers!!!”
Direction on Desserts
Desserts, as we discovered, are a very important part of the Thanksgiving meal. Some folks substituted flour, while others simply swapped out with gluten free options altogether. What’s clear, though, is that you do not have to sacrifice for flavor for sweet indulgences.
“My daughter and I are both GF, and we make our stuffing and pie crust with GF bread and flour. We are able to use our same recipes, just substituting GF ingredients.”
“With better already-made flour blends, I no longer have to forego baking with my kids. The kitchen is no longer an industrial safety hazard to me. We can create some old family standards, including Mexican Wedding Cakes, pepparkakor, and thumbprints without causing the kitchen to become a hazardous waste site, and without repurposing g/f sandwich cookies. It is a joy to bake with the kids again, to take time to enjoy each other’s company. And it is great not to itch, scratch, have an upset stomach, and run to the bathroom a great deal!”
Even though many in our community prefer to cook for themselves or join family or friends at their homes, we discovered a few that are actually creating new traditions by enjoying dinner at Celiac-safe restaurants. We’d recommend calling around to find the best one to fit the needs of your entire party.
“I was diagnosed in November 5 years ago. Honestly, it confused, scared and worried me on how to deal with the holidays. My dad made an executive decision, we’d start a new tradition. He called all the nice steakhouses and restaurants that offered “traditional Thanksgiving feast” and asked each one if they could make a Celiac Safe Gluten Free Feast. McCormick and Schmidt said YES! so now every year we have a standing reservation with them for our family and any extra friends who don’t have a place for thanksgiving and anyone can get the feast or anything they want, and everyone has a blast!”
How will you be enjoying the holidays this year?