Editor's note: The following information comes from Paoli Hospital.
The holidays are upon us and that means family, friends, festivity, and plenty of food. But for someone with a food intolerance, such as celiac disease, the holidays can be quite a challenge. Holiday favorites—cakes, cookies, and even Grandma’s stuffing—are bountiful and aromatic, but, oftentimes, loaded with gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley that when consumed by someone with celiac disease can make them very sick.
So what’s a person to do? According to Paoli Hospital Celiac Center registered dietitian Mary Ann Martin, RD, LDN, CDE, go have fun! It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, and it can be just by keeping a few tips in mind.
Keep it in perspective…although the holidays seem all about food, what’s really important are the people you’re with and the occasion you’re celebrating.
Eat before you go…going to the neighbor’s house, a family gathering, or an office party with a full stomach will leave you feeling less hungry and less deprived.
Ask what’s being served…make the host aware of the situation to see if he or she can accommodate certain dishes or preparation.
Offer to bring food…not only is it good etiquette, but you know for sure there will be at least one thing you like and can eat.
Be aware of cross-contamination…just because a dish is gluten-free, it’s easy for someone to casually use the same serving utensil for gluten and gluten-free dishes alike.
Be a host…many delicious dishes can be prepared gluten-free or with simple substitutions, and it’s unlikely anyone would know the difference.