A Gluten Free Girl’s Survival Guide: Thanksgiving

November 13, 2015 by Emily Curran

Thanksgiving Turkey, with no gravy. Potatoes, but no stuffing. Ambrosia, not pie. Have some corn, don’t touch the cornbread. Step away from the cookies. The salad is ok, but eat around the croutons and definitely look out for the soup.

Gluten free Thanksgiving is dressed to the nines in “no.” It’s not so bad as say, National Sandwich Day, but it certainly takes the fun out of Turkey Day when you need to watch your every bite to avoid the dressings, crusts, and casseroles that gluten may very well be lurking in. But rest assured, because much like any other allergy or sensitivity today, there are steps that can be taken to ensure that everyone can enjoy a hearty holiday meal that won’t require pants with an elastic waistband, or the next loosest notch on your belt.

1. Warm up with gusto.
More often than not, appetizers are gluten free. Stick close to the meat and cheese platters and the dips. Instead of diving into the spinach artichoke dip with bread, try a carrot. My personal favorite holiday appetizer is the cranberry, goat cheese, and walnut log, which is best served with nothing but a spoon. In filling up on appetizers, you’ll be better prepared to approach the main course with a level head because your stomach will be doing much less of the decision-making.

2. May veggies be your vehicle.
I know they aren’t the traditional staple in a Thanksgiving meal, but November brings about cornucopias full of vegetables and fruits that deserve to be enjoyed at their ripest! Corn, squash, sweet potatoes, and green beans are all classics that I load up on at Thanksgiving, with a double helping of cranberry sauce on the side! There is also an added bonus to going heavy on veggies- you’ll be rolling in antioxidants.

3. Don’t forget to wine.
Thanksgiving is a time for mulled wine at my house. Taking the time to sit down and drink in the smells and tastes of the season really helps to remind me that, contrary to popular belief, the day is not about the meal, but the company you share it with.

4. Desert dessert.
By this, of course I am over exaggerating. No dessert should ever be left behind! I’m just asking you to think outside the box a little. As blasphemous as this sounds, the truth is out: traditional pies are overrated. The internet is flooded now with recipes for gluten-free spins on the classic Pumpkin Pie and Apple Tart, or you can look for the lighter desserts- the fruit salads, the festive chocolates, custards, no-bake cakes, apples crisps, nuts…the possibilities are endless!

It can become tiring to hear “no” so often during the holidays when all you want to do is eat everything on the table. But with these guidelines, I like to think that there is still hope out there for us gluten-free folk. There is so much to be thankful for, and this year, a day without gluten should be one of them!