Top Tips For Gluten-Free Hosting during the Holiday Season
Hosting family and friends during this holiday season?
Are you or some of your guests gluten-free?
Trying to figure out how to easily host a delicious and safe party without breaking the bank?
Trust me, catering to anyone’s special dietary needs can seem overwhelming. Especially when you aren’t familiar with them.
But let’s be real, even if you are gluten-free (and have been for a while) hosting during the holidays can be hectic and stressful!
But not to worry!
My Top Tips For Gluten-Free Hosting during the Holiday Season have got you covered!
Top Tips For Gluten-Free Hosting during the Holiday Season
First off, if you’re new to the whole gluten-free thing, you’re going to want to avoid serving any foods with gluten in it. Gluten is found a variety of ingredients can be sneaky and hard to detect. When in doubt, hit up google to make sure it’s safe.
As a quick refresher, here’s a list of glutenous food:
Ο Soy Sauce
And pretty much any bread-like food (unless it explicitly states gluten-free on the packaging)
Plan The Menu
Whether it’s you or one of your guests who are gluten-free, you’re going to want to make most if not all of the food you serve from scratch. It’s honestly the easiest way to ensure a gluten-free holiday (though there are more and decent gluten-free options popping up in grocery stores).
This means if one of you’re guests is gluten-free, you’ll want to get in touch with them to get their input on the menu. Contacting them can also help you identify if any potentially non-gluten-free items you might be trying to prepare. Additionally, it will help put your guest at ease. Lastly, if possible, see if your guest is will to help you shop for the ingredients to help further ensure the safety of the food served.
If you, the host, is gluten-free then start planning away. There are some amazing resources to help you find and plan out your gluten-free holiday meal.
I suggest that you try to build new dishes to serve as a tradition during the holiday season instead of trying to recreate every already traditional dish into a gluten-free version. I suggest this for two reasons:
1. Let’s be real, gluten-free food can be disappointing
2. It will help you look forward to the new dishes instead of reminiscing on what real stuffing used to taste like!
There are my two cents.
However, that’s not to say you can’t make your gluten-packed favorites gluten-free by just simply swapping out ingredients for gluten-free ones. To each their own.
On that note,
This means try to use different ingredients in multiple dishes to help reduce how much you have to search for and buy in grocery stores. It also will help limit how many food labels you have to read and it reduces prep time.
This means use the same gluten-free flour blend for your baked goods, crusts, thickened soups, and gravies.
My rule of thumb is to try to use key ingredients in at least 2 different recipes.
So I’ll make a salad with shredded Brussels sprouts and I’ll also serve roasted bacon wrapped Brussels sprouts.
Boom! Both your salad and your “appetizer” are covered.
Another example is I’ll make cranberry sauces with frozen cranberries and then I’ll serve cranberry spritzers.
Bam! You’ve got your sauce and your drinks covered.
Like I mentioned about, shopping with your gluten-free guest (if you’re not gluten-free) can help you make sure you don’t buy unsafe food.
If that’s not possible, take my printable shopping guide (click here to download) with you to help you identify safe foods! In addition to bringing that list, make sure you go during a time where you have the focus and patience to read food labels (cause trust me, it gets old fast).
You can combat having to read labels altogether by looking up good gluten-free options.
For example, if you’re trying to buy safe chocolate chips you can google “gluten-free chocolate chips” and get insight on who makes them.
Additionally, shopping smart means buying affordable ingredients.
A lot of gluten-free alternatives require expensive, “rare”, or special ingredients. Find these ingredients affordably by buying them at international markets.
For instance, dates at my local grocer are $8.99 a pound, whereas I can get a 5-pound tub of dates at the international market near me for $4.99. Seriously guys, exploring my local international markets has done wonders for my wallet and my stomach!
Cook with Care
Cross-contamination is probably the scariest thing for a person with celiac disease.
I’ve literally gone into a panic watching family cut the bread too close to my gluten-free dishes. It only takes a few crumbs to make a celiac sick.
With that said, make sure your kitchen is clean and any chance of contamination by crumbs or flour are eliminated (this means make that kitchen C-L-E-A-N (if it’s not already)!)
If you made the decision not to go completely gluten-free, make sure you make the gluten-free dishes after or before all of your gluten-filled dishes are done. (I suggest before because I also deem it safer).
If you’re serving dishes that aren’t gluten-free (or someone brought food that isn’t safe) serve it and keep it far away from the gluten-free food. Furthermore, you want to make sure EVERY dish has it’s OWN serving utensil so there is no accidentally cross-contaminating by using the tongs you use to grab bread with to also grab some turkey…
Seriously, cross-contamination is real and can easily accidentally happen.
Here’s to a safe, easy, and fun gluten-free holiday event!
Some final tips for those hosting gluten-free guests:
Don’t be offended if your gluten-free guests bring their own food or don’t eat.
If someone with celiac (or even gluten-intolerance) gets glutened they usually can expect some horrible issues to follow. Because of this, if we even suspect food isn’t safe, it can cause us to avoid it.