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Navigating Holidays When You’re Gluten Free

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Enjoy the holidays again with this gluten free holidays guide! Tips for eating safely + tried-and-true recipes including cinnamon rolls, gravy, & more.

Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of living a gluten free lifestyle is doing so during the holiday season.

Missing out on your favorite foods, learning how to navigate parties and other social events, and even family meals can make gluten free holidays challenging, to say the least! 

We hope that these simple tips and tasty, tried-and-true recipes help you enjoy the holiday season.

If you’re just looking for gluten free holiday recipes, find them HERE.

How to enjoy the holidays when you're gluten free. Picture of people with Santa hats, eating at a table and pouring wine.

Tips for Safe Gluten Free Holidays

  1. Plan ahead. Waiting until the last minute to call about the menu or plan what you’re going to take will lead to unnecessary stress. Take these actions as soon as you find out about the party or even, and plan accordingly.For last minute get-togethers, it’s a great idea to keep some safe party foods on hand in your pantry or freezer, so you can grab something to bring and share.
    A few ideas are packages of your favorite gluten free cookies, chips, or snack foods, and items like prepared gluten free cake or cheesecake you can keep in the freezer.
  2. Be the host. Hosting guests at your house might be a lot of work, but it allows you to have full control over the food (and surfaces). You can make the process a little easier by choosing to purchase some ready-made items like gluten free cheesecake (Gem City is our FAV!), cakes, cookies, and snacks.Having a turkey dinner? Consider purchasing a safe rotisserie chicken or two instead. Make Instant Pot mashed potatoes before hand and use the IP to keep them warm until meal time. Buy pre-cut veggies and/or prepared green salads (check labels to be sure they’re safe!).
  3. Be your own advocate. If you need to eat gluten free for medical reasons, you need to feel confident in advocating for yourself! If you’re going somewhere for a meal, ask about the menu beforehand. While it is certainly appreciated if your host makes accommodations, many people still don’t understand what gluten free means, are intimidated by preparing gluten free food, or might not know how to do so safely.It is not worth it to get sick in order to avoid feeling uncomfortable or spare someone else’s feelings. Taking care of yourself is your responsibility and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it.Determine if your host will have safe food options, and what you can do to help. Offer to bring a main dish or side dish. We always bring a few items to parties so my husband has options if there isn’t anything safe. We bring to share, but he dishes up what he wants before we put it out to avoid cross contamination.
  4. Call restaurants ahead of time. If you’re invited to go to a restaurant, find out if it is a safe option before agreeing. Call ahead of time and ask if the restaurant has a gluten free menu and what steps they take (if any) to avoid cross contamination. If you don’t feel comfortable eating at a particular restaurant, you can politely decline or, if you feel comfortable, suggest a safe restaurant you enjoy.
  5. Make something for yourself.  Something that you love! Try some recipes throughout the year so that by the time the holidays roll around, you’ve found one that you truly enjoy. Make it for yourself, and share only if you want to 😉

Find all my favorite gluten free holiday recipes here!


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