Thanksgiving signals the start of a wonderful holiday season. Even for those with celiac disease, Thanksgiving doesn’t have to send PTSD tingles down your spine. Planning ahead and using the myriad of recipes and gluten-free products available on the market will make this holiday season a breeze. It always takes effort to stay healthy during the holidays. You have to be quite a sleuth and great at managing your safety as calmly, but firmly as possible with family and friends. Don’t forget to make a copy of GFP’s article Living Gluten-Free: What Friends & Family Need to Know. It will help you when a family member or friend tells you to go ahead and just have "a bite" of gluten. If you’re gluten sensitive, you may be able to tolerate a little gluten, but if you have celiac disease, even a crumb may be enough to make the next day or two pretty darn miserable.
Remember where the sneaky and not-so-sneaky gluten can lurk at Thanksgiving: gravies, turkey broth or marinade, seasonings (especially seasoning packets), pies and crusts, cakes, most desserts, crackers, mixes of many kinds (check the ingredients on packages when possible), cornbread mixes, casseroles (even green bean casserole), salad dressings, soups, canned foods, croutons, breaded items, puddings, amd drinks.
Here are some helpful tips navigating Thanksgiving and all the holidays:
- Consider hosting the Thanksgiving dinner! That way you know your kitchen is safe and you’ll have plenty of food that is safe to eat.
- If eating at someone’s house, call the host/hostess as soon as possible and let them know about your food needs/restrictions. You can gently ask how each food will be prepared so you know if you are able to safely enjoy food that is being prepared by someone else. Offer to bring one or two dishes that you know you’ll be able to eat. Make sure one or both contain protein to keep your blood sugar level in case there aren’t many other options.
- Potluck is my favorite word these days. That means you can bring something for you to eat and not put the onus on the hostess to provide food for every guest's allergies/restrictions.
- If you are a guest at a Thanksgiving table, use your own spoon to help yourself to the various GF foods available. Watch carefully for double dippers.
If you do plan on hosting the Thanksgiving feast, here is a wonderful menu and GFP recipes for you to use - delicious, healthy and with some wonderful holiday treats!!! I am thankful for the knowledge of how to keep myself and others healthy and safe with the proper food choices. Bon Gluten-Free Appetit!!
Jan Phillips, M.Ed.
Cranberry Stuffed Acorn Squash (use cranberries plus apples)
Chive Smashed Potatoes with Turkey Gravy