Enjoying the Holidays While on a Special Diet
Home for the Holidays: Special Diet
People find that visiting out of town families homes and vacationing, can be some of the most difficult aspects of being on a special diet. Holidays do not have to be overwhelming; if special care is taken to assure that the person on a special diet has a wonderful eating experience.
If you are invited to attend a meal away from your home, offer to bring some food that you know your family member(s) who require special foods will enjoy.
Some of the most common holiday foods that seem to appear on a holiday table at this time of year are: turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, potato pancakes, pumpkin related items, stuffing, cranberries, special breads, and desserts. You might want to contact the host or hostess, as to what he or she expects to be serving or what people will be bringing. You could prepare a small meal ahead of time, so that the person on a special diet can still enjoy what the rest of the guests are enjoying. Put the food on a microwavable plate, so it can be heated right along with everyone else’s meal. Also offer to prepare a few of the dishes to be served at the holiday meal that can also be consumed by people with allergies or intolerances.
Try making a sweet potato casserole with margarine and dye free/chemical free marshmallows. Make stuffing with gluten free bread. Be careful when purchasing broth, as many broths have gluten in them.
This is a delicious stuffing recipe to try courtesy of Jennifer Riordan:
- 12 cups 1 to 2 inch cubes (croutons) homemade style GF white or GF or mixed bread
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 2 cups chopped celery
- 3-6 tablespoons margarine
- 1 ½ to 2 teaspoons dried rubbed sage—to taste
- 1 ½ to 2 teaspoons dried thyme—to taste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 ½ cups GF chicken broth (you might need more, depending on the bread)
1. In a preheated low oven (about 200 degrees F) dry the breadcrumbs. This will take a while (hours). The key to keeping the stuffing from getting too mushy, is bigger cubes and getting the REALLY dry.
2. In a large skillet, melt the margarine and cook the onion and celery over medium heat until softened. Transfer to a bowl and add dried bread cubes, herbs, salt, pepper and broth. Toss well and adjust seasonings to taste. Add more broth if not wet enough.
3.Transfer to baking dish and bake at 325 degrees F for 20 minutes. Let a crust form on the ends. Make sure everyone at the table knows to not cross contaminate by using the same utensil in a forbidden dish. Sometimes it is wise to allow the people with special diets to fill their plate first.
Web Sites to Order Foods for Special Diets
There are many wonderful web sites online that provide an abundance of wonderful holiday recipes to fit special diets. If you have a specific allergy or intolerance, google that item and the word ”free” to find appropriate recipes.
Here are a few sites in which you might find helpful:
Some people prefer to bring a ready-made dessert or item as their food offering to their family meal. There are many bakeries cropping up every day that can accommodate special diets. Do an online search in your area to see what is available. Also check out Whole Foods Market, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, Wegmans and local health food stores which offer many choices of foods to bring to your holiday meal.
If you will be out of town for a few days, consider having food shipped to the hotel or location of a family member. There are many online sources, which can ship foods to you.
Here are a few:
Some families prefer to go out to a restaurant to celebrate their holiday meal. There is always the chance of cross contamination, but here are some restaurants that seem to go the extra mile for people on special diets, which could accommodate your family for their festive holiday meal.
- Austin Grill www.austingrill.com
- Bonefish Grill www.bonefishgrill.com
- Carino’s www.carinos.com
- Carrabba’s Italian Grill www.carrabbas.com
- Claim Jumper www.claimjumper.com
- Legal Sea Foods www.seafoods.com
- P.F. Chang’s Chino Bistro www.pfchangs.com
- Romano’s Macaroni Grill www.macaronigrill.com
- Wildfire www.wildfirerestaurant.com
Check www.quickeasycook.com for other choices of restaurants in your community or where you will be traveling.
Many children look forward to the holidays for CANDY! There are many online sites that provide allergy free candies. Also check the stores mentioned earlier in this article.
Barrie Silberberg is the author of The Autism & ADHD Diet: A Step-by-Step Guide To Hope and Healing by Living Gluten Free and Casein Free (GFCF) And Others Interventions. Her web site is: www.puttingyourkidsfirst.com
- Eating out While on a Special Diet
- Family Adventures in the Summer: Special Diets Don’t Have to Stop the Fun
- Holidays: A Time for Family and a Time for Food
- Being Happy and Healthy for the Holidays
- Where to Purchase Gluten Free Casein Free (GFCF) Foods and Some Favorite Brands
- Fall Means Pumpkin GFCF Recipes to Enjoy this Cozy Autumn Season
- GFCF Holiday Recipes and Hints on Eating Outside of the Home
- Recipes for the Holidays While on a Special Diet
- Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
- Special Diets for a Variety of Disabilities & Disorders
- Special Diets Do Not Need to Break the Bank!
- Eating Breakfast When You Are on a Special Diet
- Gift Ideas for Those on Special Diets
- Self-Advocating While on a Special Diet
This post originally appeared on our November/December 2011 Magazine