If there was ever a time of the year when your patience with gluten-free living will be tested, it’s the holidays. While gluten-free recipes for holiday fare are widely available, gluten-free cooking and baking are not the most difficult aspects of the holidays. There are other, more important things to be concerned with to keep you safe and satisfied.
• Holiday parties are not the best time to play the gluten guessing game. Bring what you can eat and enjoy to the holiday party, what you bring may be the only thing you can eat, so a fruit plate may not fit the bill.
• If you’re traveling to see family, offer to bring a dish or two. Consider bringing a homemade gluten-free stuffing that can be baked in a separate casserole dish, or make a gluten-free bread. Share lists of ingredients you must avoid with your family so they will know what you cannot eat, and give them tips for avoiding cross-contact. After the trimmings have been served it is not the right time to ask if the same spoon used to serve the bread stuffing was used to serve you from the gluten-free potato casserole.
• Consider forwarding your family gluten-free recipes or offer to send or bring packages of gluten-free rice flour, tapioca flour, arrowroot starch, or cornstarch to act as replacements for things like the wheat in the gravy.
• If you dine out with family, your gluten-free option detection skills will be tested. Consider calling ahead to the restaurant to let them know what you’ll need so they can make some gluten-free holiday fare suggestions prior to your arrival.
• When visiting family for just a few hours, consider eating before you go. Being satisfied upon arrival will help when you must pass the bowl of stuffing the other way and refuse dipping the carrot stick in the mystery dip. And always remember, if in doubt, don’t put it on your plate.