5 Simple Steps To Prep For A Gluten Free Thanksgiving
Written by Susannah Faulkner. Susannah serves as the University Outreach Specialist here at Udi’s Gluten Free Foods, and was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2005. She proudly lives her life both gluten and dairy free, and loves spreading awareness about celiac.
For most Americans, Thanksgiving is a time not only to enjoy the company of family and friends, but also to gorge on everything from stuffing to pecan pie. However, for those of us with a gluten intolerance or other dietary needs, Thanksgiving can be both a headache and even a nightmare.
Luckily, thanks to Udi’s and a plethora of recipes on the Internet, Thanksgiving no longer has to be an ominous occasion. Here are five simple steps I take every year to ensure a seamless feast.
The first time I was invited to my friend’s house for Thanksgiving, I was terrified. I figured I would just eat beforehand, and have a few veggies while at the dinner. But let’s be honest, that’s no fun! A few weeks before Thanksgiving, I decided to call my friend to talk over the menu, and which options would be safe for me. She had no problem using Udi’s bread for a stuffing (check out this great recipe here), and using almond milk for the mashed potatoes. I was able to eat like a queen, thanks to just a simple phone conversation.
- Know the secret culprits.
Spice blends? Gravy packets? Salad dressings? Bring your own! It’s not worth it to risk adding gravy to your dish if there is a high possibility that it will make you ill! Make sure to double check all spice blends, as they can often use flours or other mysterious “natural flavors.” My best advice is to bring your own gravy and salad dressing to the dinner for added flavor. Check out this super easy gf gravy recipe here!
- Create a plan.
Thanksgiving Day can be a little manic between balancing family and friends. Make sure you have a clear plan of where you are eating and when. This will help the hosts make sure they can accommodate you, most importantly to avoid cross contamination (a random uncle may just dip into your special gf stuffing without knowing that it’s just for you!). Also, this will help to make certain that you don’t miss any meals or have to submit to another protein bar to hold you through the evening.
- Start cooking!
One of the easiest way to guarantee a flawless and plentiful Thanksgiving is to bring a dish or two that you create. I recommend bringing something that is normally full of gluten, such as a sweet bread or pie. Every year, I bring a vegan and gluten free pumpkin pie to each dinner I attend, and it seems to be a hit every year! I use this incredibly simple pie recipe, and people cannot believe that it is gluten free year after year!
(Photo by roboppy on Flickr)
- Lastly, and most importantly, take time to educate!
While you are blissfully enjoying your gluten friendly meal, make sure to talk to others about your dietary needs, especially if you are in a new environment. This is a perfect opportunity to raise awareness and to advocate for your cause. The more people you can educate, the easier the lives of those with dietary needs will be!
Now that you are geared with these five easy steps, it’s time to start putting them in action. Don’t forget, the big day is only two weeks away! I hope you enjoy your day filled with the merriment of loved ones and a delicious gluten free meal!