It takes a little planning ahead to guarantee a great Thanksgiving. In many ways, it’s easier if you’re hosting, because you know what you can and can’t have. Most people hate to impose on their hosts, but it’s easier on you AND your host to ask beforehand than sit through a four-hour meal and watch others eat. Remember, nothing is more important that staying safe!
Turkey: Though it’s always good to check, the good news is that all plain fresh turkey is naturally gluten free. However, self-basting turkeys usually contain gluten. Most gravy packets are a problem, too. As of 2011, ALL of the companies I called did have gluten-free turkeys, except Tofurky, which has gluten. Check out my gluten-free turkey list for 2011, which has manufacturer contact info.
If you’re not hosting Thanksgiving at your house, talk to your host as soon as you can. You’ll need to talk about:
* Broth used for basting * Seasonings * Stuffing in the turkey * Cross contamination
Okay, so Tofurkey is off the table. Here are great roundups with ideas for main meals. Most of the other sides here are already vegetarian.
Almost all regular canned gravy and gravy packets are not gluten-free. Gluten-free gravy is available online, and Trader Joe’s sells some now. Also, it’s pretty easy to make a simple gravy with gluten-free broth and cornstarch instead of wheat (and if corn is a problem for you, arrowroot can be substituted 1:1 instead).
There are lots of good options here. Green bean casserole, baked yams, cranberry relish, gelatin salads, butternut squash soup, mashed potatoes, roasted veggies, applesauce…all of these things are easy to adapt to food restrictions, and they’re healthy and delicious to boot.
Here are some ideas to get you going:
This is obviously more of a challenge. You can go the nontraditional route and do a wild rice, buckwheat or quinoa stuffing. You could use a gluten-free cornbread or pre-made bread crumbs.
For many people (myself included!) dessert is the highlight of the Thanksgiving route. If you’d like to use your standard recipes, you can easily make a crustless pumpkin or sweet potato pie or check out Whole Foods’ crusts. Or, you can easily make a crust from crushed up cookies, shredded coconut or almond meal. Apple crisps are also simple, too. And, of course, now with the new GF Betty Crocker mixes, a cake or brownies are pretty simple, even if they’re not traditional.
Apple Crisp--A lazy way to get that apple pie taste!
T Day Recipes: It’s dangerous when someone asks about food while I’m hungry. When I was asked for Thanksgiving favorites, of course I started thinking (and drooling) about all the wonderful things that would make for an absolutely amazing gluten-free feast! Here are a bunch from some of my favorite GF bloggers.
- Like to plan ahead? Ginger Lemon Girl has a 5 day Thanksgiving Guide
- Gluten free Girl has an amazing roundup of recipes
- Gluten Free Homemaker’s 2011 roundup
- Celiac Family has a Thanksgiving Roundup from a variety of bloggers and a Thanksgiving Dessert Roundup
- Simply Gluten and Sugar Free Healthy Holiday
- Gluten-free Goddess
- Celiac Princess
- A list of 40 Thanksgiving recipes
As always, wishing you and yours a joyful, peaceful and yummy holiday season!
————————— Author Information: Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD, LD, Alexandria, VA, USA. Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD, LD, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist. Her passion is teaching people to live and love a gluten-free diet in the Northern Virginia area. For more, seewww.harriswholehealth.com or follow on Twitter @cherylharrisrd
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