Enjoying a Gluten Free Christmas
by Christine Bailey
This article has been cross-posted from www.christinebailey.co.uk.
The festive season can be a tricky time if you suffer with allergies or coeliac disease If you are avoiding gluten for example you may feel that you’re missing out. Whether its office buffets, parties, eating out or simply coping with food served on Christmas Day you need to be savvy about what you can and cannot eat. Thankfully more and more companies are providing a great range of gluten free options and many of the seasonal foods around Christmas time are of course naturally gluten free (think cranberries, nuts, Brussels sprouts etc). However you may need to check how they have been prepared and cooked.
If you’ve been invited to a party the best option is to take some allergy free goodies with you. We have a great selection of treats in our recipe pages or you can simply take healthy dips, crudities, nuts and salads with you. If you’re making your own mince pies remember to check the ingredients in shop bought mincemeat as some contain gluten.
Homemade blinis or crackers / breads are a delicious option as a canapé or starter or breakfast option and can be topped with a wide range of ingredients such as smoked salmon, prawns, avocado, roast beef and horseradish or Christmas chutney. Bags of nuts and seeds and dried fruit are easy healthy options that make ideal hassle free party snacks. Watch the crisps especially flavoured varieties as they often contain gluten. Bags of vegetable crisps and fruit crisps or freeze dried fruits and vegetables are typically gluten and dairy free.
If you like your beer thankfully there are many gluten free varieties now available. Mulled wine is a popular party favourite or for a creamy option make up your own Egg Nog style drink using almond milk blended with nuts, banana and dates for a healthy dairy free option. Have a look at our drinks pages for inspiration. Another great tip is to make a protein shake and drink before going out – the protein helps stabilise your blood sugar so you are not starving making it less likely you will over indulge.
Those Little Extras
Often its those little extras that can catch us out when going gluten free – gravy may be thickened with flour. Stuffing is often ladened with wheat flour and starch. Potatoes may be tossed in flour before roasting and some sausages contain wheat starch. You can make your own gravy by thickening with cornflour or arrowroot and for extra flavour add a spoonful of redcurrant jelly. Bread sauce is easily made with gluten free bread and almond milk or coconut cream if you want it to be dairy free as well.
For stuffing, simply follow your favourite recipe and substitute ground nuts or use quinoa or millet instead of bread.
Again there are many gluten free Christmas puddings available but you can also make your own by using gluten free flours, ground almonds and / or gluten free bread. You don’t need to use suet in puddings either – butter, coconut butter or a dairy free spread can be used instead. Try my chocolate gingerbread cake recipe for a delicious alternative to Christmas cake or why not make up your own healthier truffles or chocolates.
If you’re new to cooking allergy free find a wealth of gluten free, raw, paleo recipes on my website which are all suitable for gluten free diets. Many of these can be made in advance and frozen or stored for a later time. Seeded bread is a fabulous standby healthy protein rich bread option. Make up a batch of granola too – perfect for breakfast but also healthy snacking.
If you’re looking for new inspiration why not book yourself onto one of our cookery days. If you have children then get them cooking and enjoying healthy food with our hands on cookery day.
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