7 Simple Tips for Surviving the Holidays
Written by Jennifer Harris, Gluten Free Go-To Guide
Holiday invitations are arriving and plans are underway to indulge with family and friends. Most of these festive events center around food, which can be panic inducing for those following a gluten-free diet. As with most things, a little planning goes a long way to ensuring a full belly and a stress-free night.
Whether the event is catered, at a facility or restaurant, or hosted in a home, these tips will help you survive and enjoy a Holiday party in gluten-free style:
- Plan ahead - contact the host to inquire about the menu for the evening and explain your dietary restrictions. They should be able to tell you the menu for the event and help identify safe dishes.
- Eat before you go – no need to show up starving when it is easy to grab a snack before attending the event. If there is no safe food, make an appearance, then leave and go out to eat.
- Stick to naturally gluten-free cuisine - vegetables, cheese, nuts, and fruit are gluten free and tasty as long as they are not being served on shared surfaces or platters with gluten. Bring some gluten-free crackers along and make up a plate.
- Be smart - avoid dips at a party because chances are some form of gluten (cracker, bread, or pretzels) has already taken a dip leaving it cross contaminated. Avoid anything suspicious like dark sauces, casseroles, hot dips, and meatballs, etc. Dessert is usually not an option, so bring along something sweet to enjoy, like cookies, or a snack bar.
- When in doubt, go without - if someone has gone out of their way to prepare a gluten-free dish, but you have doubts about its safety, politely decline. This rule of thumb should be used when attending a catered event where no contact was made with the chef or food preparation is questionable. There is no need to take a chance and get sick.
- Be polite - remember this is not only a time to eat, but it is also a time to spend with family and friends.
- Host a party - take the guess work out of Holiday parties by hosting one at your home. It is easy to keep the menu free of allergens and full of delicious food. By hosting, you get to see all of your friends and enjoy tasty food in a stress-free environment.
How do you navigate holiday parties on the gluten-free diet?