We know that the festive season can be a really busy time of year, so organisation is key to making sure you really get to enjoy the big day. To help you out with your Christmas day preparations, we’ve put together this list as a refresher on what traditional festive foods to look out for, and some swaps that you can make to ensure a gluten-free friendly feast!
Grazing platters & starters
If you’re like my family, we love having grazing platters of dips, crackers, chips and various sweet treats to snack on before the big sit down meal. Unfortunately, some of these are notoriously gluten-containing. Seek out your favourite GF alternatives, and make sure that any GF options are clearly served on a separate platter to the regular snacks to avoid contamination.
There are a multitude of GF gravies in powdered/granular forms available, making it quick and easy to prepare if you don’t want to make multiple types from scratch. Make sure to double check for the GF label on the packaging, as they can look very similar! Also ensure on the day that it’s obvious which one is gluten-free to avoid pouring the wrong one all over your otherwise GF meal.
Also remember to check any sauces, marinades and stocks that might be used in preparing or accompanying meals, as they can be sneaky hiding places for gluten.
Grocery stores are getting better at stocking a variety of GF bread products for the table, however they are often in hot demand in the leadup to Christmas. If you know of a bakery or supermarket that does quality GF dinner rolls, enquire about ordering in advance to avoid missing out. You can always freeze them and thaw when needed to avoid the last minute hunt!
With this one in particular, it pays to check ingredients lists. While most plain dried herbs and spices are safe, flavoured salts and pre-made seasonings sometimes contain hidden gluten from wheat starches that can quite easily be overlooked. Also watch out for any roast meats that may have been seasoned or marinated prior to purchasing.
Stuffing for roast chicken or turkey
Stuffing mixes almost always contain breadcrumbs, so it’s really important to ensure that a GF safe alternative is used to avoid eating contaminated meat. Supermarkets have many pre-made GF options, but if you prefer making it from scratch just swap for GF crumbs instead, and check seasonings.
Sides and salads
A festive spread wouldn’t be complete without some yummy roast vegetables, and fresh salads to accompany the rest of the meal, however there are a few to watch out for. Some recipes for roast potatoes call for coating them in flour before cooking, to make them super crispy, and they may also be seasoned. Mashed potato is typically safe when made from scratch, but if you’re using an instant variety always check the label. Also watch out for croutons in salads, and any dressings that might contain malt/malt vinegar, soy sauce, or other additives.
Serving dressings in a bottle or container on the side is a good way to ensure you aren’t accidentally eating something that has been tossed with traces of gluten.
Christmas cake and pudding
There are more GF versions of these available in supermarkets every year. However, if fruit cake and pudding isn’t your thing, pavlova is also a great alternative dessert that is traditionally gluten-free. Pavlova and meringue nests can be bought pre-made at many supermarkets to save on time. Get creative and pile it up with your favourite seasonal fruits for a colourful and fun dessert that’s sure to be a hit!
As an added bonus, we’ve also made a downloadable Gluten-Free Menu Checklist, where you can list your must-have Christmas table food items, and their gluten-free alternatives. Fill it out and take it with you to the grocery store so you don’t forget anything important. Or if someone else is doing the cooking, pass it on ahead of time to help them know what’s required. If you have specific brands or products that you trust, include them as suggestions for whoever is doing the shopping so they know exactly what to look for.
We hope that this comes in handy for planning out your gluten-free menu, and making it run smoothly so you can enjoy time spent with family and friends. For more useful tips on surviving the holiday season while staying gluten-free, check out the linked article contributed by Olivia Jackson of Yum. Gluten Free.
If you’re still wary about potential gluten-contamination, be sure to take GluteGuard before you tuck in to Christmas lunch or dinner. Its patented enzyme activity assists in minimising the risk of experiencing symptoms associated with accidental gluten-ingestion, helping you to eat, drink and be merry with loved ones with less worry.
Finally, from all of us here at Team GluteGuard, we thank you for your support in 2019 and wish you a very joyous holiday season!
Contributor: Cass, Glutagen