If you’re gluten-intolerant, you already know that holiday meals tend to pose major challenges. First, there are the obvious off-limits dishes: Aunt Lou’s stufﬁng, Grandma’s legendary pie crust and those warm, wheat-rich dinner rolls. Then there are the mystery dishes prepared by others; some may appear relatively benign, but the potential consequences of indulging (digestive and otherwise) may not seem worth the risk.
Fortunately, just because you—or your dinner guests—are steering clear of gluten doesn’t mean holiday meals have to be ho-hum. You just have to be creative. Life Thyme Health & Wellness’ Lee Ann Petrie, a certiﬁed nutritional therapy practitioner and personal chef, offers the following tips for a healthy, savory season.
• Offer to bring something you can eat when invited to dinner. It’s much easier than having to refuse someone else’s dish.
• Fruit and vegetable platters with cheese and hummus are always a hit.
• Substitute bread crumbs with crushed nuts or gluten-free crackers (broken up in a blender).
• Use polenta, rice, quinoa and potatoes as starches instead of gluten-heavy options.
• Use rice instead of ﬂour in gravy and white sauces. (Cook a couple minutes longer to minimize the grainier texture.)
• Use arrowroot or organic, GMO-free cornstarch as thickeners for sauces and other dishes.
• Try tasty rice-based versions of crackers and pasta from Trader Joe’s.
• Reach for gluten-free baked-good mixes, such as Bob’s Red Mill bread and mufﬁn mixes. (The result can even be used as a base for stufﬁng instead of traditional bread.)
• Seek out recipes calling for coconut ﬂour, which is high in ﬁber.