A gluten-free party guest can be a source of holiday stress for the host – and holiday parties can be equally stressful for the gluten-free guest.
For people who need to strictly avoid gluten – especially those with the serious digestive disorder celiac disease or severe gluten allergies or sensitivities – consuming even small quantities of gluten can have serious health effects.
So whether you are a host planning a party menu or a guest deciding if there will be anything you can eat, here are a few tips to keep holiday parties low-stress and healthy:
Be a Great Host
Communicate. Ask in advance whether guests have any issues with gluten. Be understanding and receptive. Take guests up on offers to bring a gluten-free dish. Exchange email addresses so you can ask questions throughout the party planning process.
Learn. Read about celiac disease and gluten-free food preparation. Click here for a helpful downloadable guide to get you started, from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.
Plan the Menu. There are many recipes that contain all naturally gluten-free ingredients that everyone can enjoy. Click here for a link to a long list of gluten-free recipes, recommended by the USDA Food and Nutrition Center.
Open Your Kitchen. Welcome your guests to look at food packaging and be open to discussing how you prepared certain dishes.
Guide Your Guest. Allow your gluten-free guests to be first at a buffet so they can avoid cross contamination that may occur from serving utensils. Let them know beforehand which dishes may contain gluten.
Be a Great Guest
Call Ahead. Let your host know about your special dietary needs. Be courteous and undemanding; ask if there is anything you can do to help.
Get Cooking. Ask your host if you can bring along a gluten-free dish or two that everyone can enjoy. Tell the host ahead of time what the dish will be, so he or she can plan.
Fill Up. If you believe your host can’t accommodate your need to eat gluten-free, eat before the party. You also can bring along a gluten-free nutrition bar just in case.
Smile. At the party, be your gracious self: Enjoy what you can eat safely and focus on celebrating the holiday with those around you.
Pillsbury and Uncle Wally’s have teamed up to create Pillsbury™ Gluten Free Muffins, which are individually wrapped and certified gluten free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization. Available in Blueberry and Chocolate Chip, you can find them in the all-natural freezer case at Wegmans Food Markets, Ingles Markets, ShopRite Supermarkets and Giant Eagle Stores. Pillsbury is a trademark of General Mills, used under license.