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Whether you’re newly gluten-free or you’re a veteran, you still face the same struggle at holiday parties. “Eat, drink and be merry” is easier said than done when the buffet can seem like Russian roulette to some people. Thankfully, there are ways to avoid being a Debbie Downer during the holiday season. See the below tips on how to avoid decking the halls with food envy, but instead have a glass half-full (of wine) holiday mentality!
Bring Your Own Dish
One of the easiest ways to ensure that you will be able to eat something at the holiday party is to bring your own side dish or dessert. While you may not have as many options as everyone else when it comes time to fill your plate, you will know that what you have brought with you is safe and tasty. Make a dish or dessert that is your guilty pleasure and take note when gluten-eaters think it is as delicious as you do. This not only helps you get through the party without a food-induced breakdown, but it can also help you gain confidence in your cooking/baking skills.
**You will want to make sure that you label your dish gluten-free, or place it on a counter space where there is little risk of contamination from other utensils.
If your aunt makes the best cheesy potatoes, or your grandma’s traditional meatballs are to die for, communicate with them before the party to help them ensure that their dish is gluten-free. Go through the ingredient list and tell them which items need to be specific brands or if there is an easy way to switch out ingredients to the gluten-free alternative. Offer to provide the amount of gluten-free flour or other necessary ingredients so it is easy for them to accommodate you.
I know that you don’t want to seem needy, but if your family loves you (which I sure hope they do), they will make a little extra effort to ensure that you get to enjoy the family’s traditional dish.
Don’t Depend on Others
Do not depend on holiday parties to get your fill of holiday goodies. The truth is that you won’t be able to eat all of the traditional holiday dishes that everyone else is able to at the party. Unless you make your own gluten-free cookies, the odds are that your sweet tooth will be left out in the cold.
What I do is take care of my holiday cravings on my own time. If you love your family’s recipe for sugar cookies, make it on your own by using gluten-free ingredients. If your holiday vice is a certain type of casserole, make it as part of your own family dinner during the holiday season to take care of the craving without risking gluten contamination.
While it is easy to get caught up in what you can’t have, it is important to look on the bright side. Don’t focus on the fact that you can’t have every dish on the buffet, but instead focus on the fact that you won’t go home feeling sick and bloated like you may have felt on holidays in the past. Also, since you cannot eat everything that is served, maybe your pants won’t be as tight as everyone else’s come New Year’s Eve!
I hope these tips help you to get through the upcoming holiday party, as well as put things in perspective. One night of eating holiday dishes is not worth the pain that gluten used to cause you. If you feel as though the holiday will never be the same now that you can’t eat certain things, maybe it is time to start new traditions that fit into your new, healthy, gluten-free life! There is no shortage of gluten-free holiday recipes online, so just turn to the g-free community for help when you need it!
- Laura Hanley
As part of our holiday how-to series, NFCA is hosting a gluten-free giveaway! Enter here for your chance to win a gluten-free prize pack from Crunchmaster.