People with gluten intolerance have enough trouble navigating the everyday food world, but the holidays throw everything into chaos. Parties, travel and big family get-togethers can lead to stress, hunger and temptation breakdowns. Not only is it possible to survive the holidays gluten-free, but you can enjoy these moments as much as everyone else and avoid family stress in the process.
1. You’re on Your Own
The holidays are full of parties at work, parties with friends and family gatherings. It would be great if everyone was aware of your food allergy and offered gluten-free options, but you’ll have a much happier holiday if you go in with low expectations. Not the most upbeat advice, but if your family hasn’t understood your gluten-free lifestyle by now, it’ll be tough to teach them before Thanksgiving. Take control of your own choices and when in doubt, ask to see an ingredient list. If you’re not 100% sure, just skip it.
2. Offer to Bring a Dish
Want to be 100% positive that something at Thanksgiving is gluten-free? Make it yourself. Try to make one or two dishes of something substantial that will tide you over, not just a delicious gluten-free dessert that won’t tide you over. It’s also an opportunity to prove to your family that a gluten-free diet isn’t half bad. Check out our gluten-free recipe board on Pinterest for some inspiration.
3. Be the Host
Hosting is one of the best ways to ensure that the holidays will be as gluten-free as can be. You’re in charge of food and beverages and it’s much easier to prepare gluten-free goodies in your own kitchen than make them and carry them to Aunt Martha’s. Another opportunity to showcase the flavors of a gluten-free diet.
4. Beware of Turkey and Alcohol
Turkey can be tricky and not all alcohol is gluten-free. Check the labels on all alcohol you drink and know the ins and outs of any turkey you sample. Is it full of stuffing? Was the turkey pre-basted? Were any special rubs or marinades applied to it? Better to know all the information than regret it later.
5. Pack Gluten-Free Snacks
Even if you bring a dish or two to pass, you might be tempted to dig into some of the delicious treats surrounding you and damn the consequences. Rather than give in to temptation and regret it later, bring along plenty of gluten-free snacks like bars, sunflower seeds or popchips.
6. Be the King or Queen of the Road
You can buy a number of handy guides to gluten free-friendly grocery stores and restaurants across the country. If you’re driving to a family gathering out-of-state or find yourself in a strange city with a rumbling stomach, these books can be your best friend.
7. Time for the Gluten-Free Talk?
Pick your spot carefully, but with family and friends gathered together with (hopefully) some delicious gluten-free treats in their stomachs, maybe now is the time for the gluten-free talk. You don’t need to be preachy or defensive – use the holiday and the practical food and drink examples surrounding you to educate your loved ones on your lifestyle.
Got any other tips for surviving the holidays gluten-free? Put them in the comments below and help others get the most out of the season.