Dubbed the most wonderful time of the year, the holidays are filled with family, close friends, joy, presents, and a whole lot of food. Who could forget the food? From bread and stuffing to cookies and pies, holiday feasts are loaded with meals our lips love but our hips dread. But while we all know celebrations means calories will be thrown around like confetti, it doesn’t have to sabotage your gluten-free eating style. Here are tips to make eating at a holiday party less stressful!
Give Your Host A Heads Up
As soon as you get the holiday party invite, reach out to the host and let him/her know that you eat a gluten-free diet. Give them a few examples of traditional holiday foods that include gluten and a few ideas of what you can eat. But don’t be rigid about it! Let them know you’re flexible and happy just with salad and protein, you definitely don’t want your dietary restriction to stress out your host.
Eat Something Before You Arrive
Don’t show up with an empty and grumbling belly unless you know where you’re going and are sure about your food options. Eat a small, high-protein snack before you leave your house. This way you won’t be tempted to eat anything and everything in sight. Try a snack of olives, carrots and peanut butter, a handful of almonds, or even a bite of grilled chicken!
Bring A Dish
The worst thing is walking into a party and realizing that you can’t eat any of the food. Not only are you stuck with a rumbly tummy, but you also feel awkward standing empty-handed among other guests as they dig into the delicious looking food. So if there is a holiday dish that you’re looking forward to eating then just make it and bring it with you.
Label Your Gluten-Free Dishes
To avoid potential cross-contamination, create a special gluten-free table and label any GF dishes as such. Also, if you have Celiac disease, you may also want to designate special cutlery for those food trays. This may sound extreme, but it only takes one serving spoon dipped into the gluten-laden stuffing to contaminate your gluten-free food.
Stick To Naturally Gluten-Free Options
Vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, nuts, seeds, and cheeses are all safe options as long as they aren’t coated or mixed with other unknown ingredients. So if you don’t want to keep asking your host, “What’s in this?” then just stick with the all-natural choices.
When In Doubt, Go Without
It’s always better to pass on a dish when you aren’t 100% sure what’s in it.
Don’t Be Afraid To Say No
Sometimes we fill our holiday plates with foods we wouldn’t typically eat because someone next to us made it and asked them to try it. If you know a dish contains gluten, politely decline. Some people may not understand your dietary restrictions, but, when it comes to your health, it’s important to stay strong. Compliment how delicious it looks but be confident enough to pass.
Get In The Right Mindset
While holiday parties are usually filled with a lot of different food options, the party isn’t about food. It’s about the people! So shift your focus off of the food and onto the great company around you. And definitely don’t let food be the boss of you. If you stray slightly over the holidays, enjoy yourself and get back on track tomorrow.