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8 Dealing with Different Dietary Needs with Holiday Dinner


Sometimes you’ll have family members that have special dietary needs that cannot be broken, even during the holidays. If this is the case for you, it’s a good idea to find recipes that can work for all, made with the ingredients that guest can eat.

Often, the people who don’t have food issues will not even notice, but the one with the issues will be very thankful because often there is nothing for them to eat and they don’t like making a big deal of it.

· Try Vegan Options

If you have family members who are gluten free and/or dairy free, you can often find delicious vegan options that work for both.

Dishes like Gluten-Free Rice Stuffing work well for those who have both requirements, and it tastes delicious to the other people too. It’s not really even hard to make either, since you start with uncooked rice and cook it mostly in the oven:

· Ask Them

Create a Facebook group for everyone you’ve invited for the Christmas holidays. Then ask them as a group to let you know their food restrictions.

Most people won’t talk much about it unless you ask them. Sometimes it does feel as if people with restrictions are picky and loud, but that’s only because they’re at your party and are hungry.

· Send Out a Menu

If you want to cook a menu regardless, the best thing you can do is send out the menu with your invitation so that people who know they cannot eat that meal will feel free to RSVP "no" or call you about bringing their own food.

The important part of the holidays is being together, even though food feels really important.

· Potluck It

If you know that enough of your family members have issues, ask everyone to bring their own dish to share. That way they’ll have at least one thing they can eat.

Offer to cook the ham or turkey (or whatever your family eats as a main dish) and ask them to bring something that fits their dietary needs.

· Use Fewer Ingredients

Often, recipes with fewer ingredients are easier to eat for those with food allergies. But if you're inviting a lot of people, it is also important to label foods containing ingredients such as milk, eggs, and nuts that people are commonly allergic to.

Finally, just relax. You can’t please everyone. Let your guests know what you’re going to serve and let them know it’s fine to bring something if they can’t eat it. Don’t single anyone out and ask them to try something.

Make everything self-serve so that people can make their own choices and don’t feel as if the spotlight is on them.

Nothing is worse than really wanting that pumpkin pie but knowing you will have to visit the toilet several times if you indulge at a big family event. So, don’t push people. If they say no thank you, smile and accept it.


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