You’ve been good all year! You’ve eliminated gluten, dairy, and any other food allergens. You’re eating as low carb as is appropriate for your body. You even made it through Halloween without one single package of “fun size” anything. Congratulations!
Here comes your real challenge – getting through the holidays. But don’t worry – armed with some knowledge and a little foresight, you’ll be just fine!
Here are some things you’ll need to think about:
- Tell your family (or otherwise hosts) about your food allergies/dietary changes. They can’t support you if they don’t know! The idea of change is uncomfortable (“but honey, you always loved my bready stuffing!”), so as much as you can, give them very clear (and grateful!) instructions about what you need.
- Bring food with you! It’s a nice thing to do any time, but especially when the host is going to go to some trouble to accommodate your needs, it’s great to bring things to make their job easier. Make sure to bring MORE than you think you need, though, to ensure that you will have enough. What if your allergen-free pumpkin pie is everyone’s favorite? You want to make sure that there’s more than enough for everyone so that you don’t miss out on what you brought.
Cconsider also bringing a personal stash of food, just in case there’s not enough for you to fill up on. Tanka bars, nuts and fruit, and other things that don’t need to be refrigerated are ideal: your host doesn’t have food-storage room to spare right now, so best if you bring things you can stow in your bag.
- Never go to a party hungry! Unless your host shares your dietary habits, assume that there won’t be anything you can eat at the party and eat before you go. If there is, you can be pleasantly surprised! But if there isn’t, you’ll be much better able to enjoy the party if your stomach isn’t grumbling.
- Assume nothing! Even meat at a party might not be safe – many poultry producers add gluten and casein, msg, and other unsavory things to their chicken and turkey in the form of “plumping juices”. If you don’t know for sure that the turkey you’re served is gluten free, it might be better to pass. The same is true of sandwich meat, meatballs, hams, sausages, and other processed meats. Make sure to double check the package.
Over the next few weeks, watch for great holiday recipes that won’t compromise your food priorities. There will be adaptations of old favorites sure to fool even the crankiest Aunt Petunia, as well as totally new ideas so good, you won’t even miss the things you can’t have!