9 Simple Strategies for a Gluten-Free Thanksgiving

By Jessica Lymberopoulos November 10, 2012 No Comments on 9 Simple Strategies for a Gluten-Free Thanksgiving

gluten free thanksgiving

(cc) via Flickr user CarbonNYC

On a day when nearly every American decides to let go of their dietary commitments, the Thanksgiving meal can create isolating tensions for people with Celiac disease and serious gluten intolerance.

“Can’t you just have one bite of grandma’s homemade noodles?”

“Mom’s stuffing is soo good this year. Are you sure you can’t have some?”

“Do you want some pumpkin pi — oh, sorry I forgot you can’t have any!”

The nagging assumption leans in on all sides — Thanksgiving is no time to be dieting. What’s the big deal?

If you are not gluten-free, take my word for it. No one in their right mind would be able to resist all of those delicious, once-a-year temptations if eating them weren’t going to make them feel very, very sick.

If you are gluten-free, take heart. With a little advanced planning and pre-determined resolve, you’ll be able to take part in the Thanksgiving festivities too without feeling like the turkey.

Tips for a Gluten-Free Thanksgiving

  • If you’re eating with a crowd, talk to your family and friends in advance and find out what they are planning to cook.
  • Explain that you can eat plain, naked food. That’s often easier than giving them a full education on the gluten-free diet.
  • Advocate for some simply prepared sides like roasted beets, carrots, and Brussels sprouts seasoned with fresh thyme. I made this dish last Thanksgiving and my family loved the vegetables’ pretty colors and rustic taste.
  • Offer to bring a gluten-free dish to share, like one of these gluten-free stuffing recipes, gluten-free dinner rolls, or pumpkin pie in a gluten-free pie crust.
  • Eat or at least snack before the main meal, especially if you are eating at a relative or friend’s home.
  • If you’re not eating at your home, when you arrive, scan the food options and identify a few safe things you can eat.
  • If any part of the meal is going to be catered or store-bought, see if you can talk to the chef. They may be able to send you a portion unsauced or made specially.
  • Adapt what recipes you can, and see if you can convince your sister or mother-in-law to make the stuffing separately rather than inside the turkey if they insist on serving a traditional gluten-filled recipe.
  • Finally, focus on the non-eating Thanksgiving traditions. Enjoy spending time with your family, breaking the turkey’s wishbone, helping others, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or some football, and planning your Black Friday shopping!

Do you have any advice for eating or hosting a gluten-free thanksgiving meal?

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