We all know the holidays can be a busy time of year, and that’s before taking into consideration the specific dietary restrictions and preferences of yourself or the guests you’re hosting.
To make your celebrations and feasts manageable and welcoming for everyone, here are some helpful tips that will bring ease and joy to your time spent in the kitchen. After all, cooking should be fun!
The first step in understanding how to cook for a special diet is to learn what people with these diets can or cannot eat. After you understand the dos and don’ts of anyone dining with you, it’s a simple matter of ensuring that everyone at your table can eat at least two or three dishes. Remember, being a good host is about making your guests feel welcome, but it isn’t your responsibility to make sure every single dish that comes out of your kitchen can be enjoyed by every person. If you will have some dishes that are special diet-friendly, but not all of them will be, ensure that you have a way to communicate this. Maybe you make place cards for each dish with the dietary specifications, or if the gathering or menu is small enough, a discussion at the beginning of the meal will suffice.
Up first, the gluten-free diet! Gluten is the protein component in wheat. People with celiac disease or gluten intolerances can have immune reactions to this specific protein that can cause damage to the lining of the small intestine, resulting in digestive discomfort or even medical complications. Cases of individuals developing gluten allergies or intolerances are on the rise, and this can make dining out difficult. However, cooking for a gluten-free diet is relatively simple. The most common ingredient to avoid when cooking for gluten-free diets is wheat flour, which is common in pastas and breads. At Tailor Made Nutrition, our entire store is gluten-free, so you can rest assured that you and your guests can eat safely. If you’re unsure of how to make certain dishes for your holiday table from scratch, you’ll also find many organic and non-GMO pre-made gluten-free holiday cooking and baking ingredients like pie crusts, pasta, gravy, stuffing mix, and even breads.
The holidays are without a doubt an indulgent time of year, especially when so many recipes include butter or even bacon. So how do you accommodate your guests who are vegan or vegetarian? When someone tells you they are a vegetarian, what do you assume is in their diet? The most common type of vegetarianism today is ovo-lacto vegetarianism, in which individuals will eat eggs and milk that are produced by animals, as well as products that contain these ingredients. They will not, however, eat animal meats like beef, chicken, or pork, and most often even fish and seafood. Cooking for a vegetarian diet can be straightforward and often uses meat substitutes or replaces any meat products with vegetables.
If you take the vegetarian diet, subtract the eggs and milk, or any animal byproducts for that matter, you’ll have a vegan diet! Vegan dishes are a bit more complex when it comes to cooking for the holidays, but with the rise of the plant-based diet comes the rise of plant-based products. You can find all kinds of organic and non-GMO meat alternatives at Tailor Made Nutrition, or even try making some of your own with just a few ingredients! For savory entrees and sides, replacing meats with hearty, protein-rich vegetables is a good option. When it comes to desserts, you can find many options for egg and dairy substitutes.
Another recent diet that has gained popularity in recent years is the ketogenic diet, or simply keto. This diet minimizes carbs and restricts protein to an adequate level, which means it is a high-fat diet. There are ways to make desserts keto-compliant. Many holiday tables spotlight roasted meat with a variety of vegetable sides. With some ingredient swaps and careful recipe selection, you can satisfy someone on a keto diet without straying too far from holiday favorites. At Tailor Made Nutrition we have a large selection of sugar substitutes for your keto friendly baking needs.
The holiday season is a time of celebration!
It’s time to gather around the table and enjoy all that you have to celebrate. Just remember, we are always here to help you navigate and find your new favorite allergen-free holiday foods.