How to Have a Gluten-Free Christmas (Slideshow)
December 17, 2013
Learn how to manage gluten intolerance during the holidays
Holiday items can be a little tricky, especially if you did not prepare them. From honey-glazed ham to fruitcakes, gingerbread men, and even eggnog, a variety of potentially hidden ingredients may contain a surprising amount of wheat and gluten. Alternative gingerbread cookies may be prepared using quinoa, oats (look for the gluten-free variety), rice and/or tapioca flour.
Don’t forget to travel with safe snacks. It sounds simple, but especially with kids and teens, temptation can play a role in increasing the risk of a reaction. Having some safe foods at hand is always a good policy.
Avoid cross-contamination when preparing gluten-free food items. Cross contact with gluten may occur when shared utensils, deli slicers, pots and pans, and cooking surfaces are used.
There are myriad alternative gluten-free recipes for traditional holiday delights, such as stuffing, gingerbread cookies, sauces, soups, bakery items, etc. So why not make your own homemade gluten-free dough? Take the extra time to perfect your culinary skills in advance of Christmas!
Bring a Meal
Contribute to the holiday meal with your own safe, home-prepared meats and fish dishes, as well as gluten-free side dishes and desserts. Enjoy your meal and festive occasion as stress-free as possible, as you usher in the new year!
Chef ingredient label cards are helpful in communicating the vast list of gluten food products that your host or chef may be preparing for you while dining. Ingredients may include rye, yeast, oats (non-gluten-free), and barley, which can trigger an unanticipated reaction, especially in very sensitive individuals. Again, wheat-free is not the same as gluten-free!
Be a label detective. Study up and know all of the alternate and scientific names for wheat and gluten, and other common hidden ingredients in foods. For example, gravies, breakfast foods, hot cocoa mixes, chips, fried potatoes, deli meats, candies and sweets, syrups, dressings, as well as food-topped marinades may contain gluten.
Be very aware of which beverages, particularly alcohol-based, are safe if you are striving to stay gluten-free. Most beers, ales, and malt beverages (even certain vinegars) are made from gluten, and thus are unsafe.