holiday table

Cooking for the food restricted doesn’t have to be difficult. You just need to make some minor alterations and you can open up your menu to everyone on your guest list! Happy holidays!

Here are some simple ways to make traditional holiday meals allergen-free:

1 – Breaded anything

Typically breaded items are a challenge because of the breading and the ingredients used to make the breading stick. Here are some alterations you can use to make your favorite breaded item safe.

  • Breading – Breadcrumbs contain gluten. To make them safe, you can use quinoa flakes in place of the gluten or buy gluten free bread, toast it, and make your own breadcrumbs.
  • Egg wash – Eggs are one of the top 8 allergens. Use coconut milk in place of egg wash.
  • Flour – Use coconut flour, almond flour, or other gluten-free flour in place of regular flour.

2 – Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Dairy is one of the top allergens. Many mashed potato recipes call for butter, cheese, and milk or heavy cream. Substitute coconut milk in place of dairy to make the dish creamy without the lactose!

3 – Marinated Meats

Marinades often contain wheat (gluten), dairy, soy, MSG and other items people need or choose to avoid. Watch out for pre-marinated or preseasoned meats and fish. Either make your own or be sure to carefully read the ingredients on the marinade bottles.

4 – Ham

Avoid buying a pre-glazed ham and do your own glazing. This will allow you to control the ingredients and make your ham safer for everyone on your guest list.

5 – Soup

If you are making a soup without animal protein, then be sure to use a veggie stock so your soup can be enjoyed by vegetarian guests. Also, soup bouillon often contains wheat (gluten), soy, preservatives, and MSG, so be sure to read the label before using.

6 – Gravy and Sauce

Many people use flour or corn starch to thicken sauces and gravy, which can cause challenges for people with food sensitivities. Substitute gluten-free flour to thicken or skip the thickening step altogether.

7 – Stuffing

Use gluten-free bread (read ingredients for egg, soy, nuts, or other allergen) and veggie stock to make this traditional dish safe for vegetarians and those with aversion to gluten. And, of course, don’t stuff your bird with it.

8 – Cooking Spray

Cooking sprays often contain soy, gluten, or other allergen. Make your own cooking spray with a spray bottle and olive oil. Or grease the pan with coconut oil. (Don’t use coconut oil in the spray bottle because it will become solid at room temperature.)

9 – Sweetened Foods and Desserts

All around sugar just isn’t a good choice for many reasons and chemical sugar substitutes cause their own problems. Try substituting coconut crystals (a low GI food), honey, or stevia (a natural plant sugar) in place of sugar cane or high fructose corn syrup.

10 – Chocolate Foods

Chocolate is dangerous for many food allergy sufferers because of dairy, soy, and favor enhancers. Even dark chocolate often contains milk and soy. So, be sure to read the label. Opt for chocolate that is pure and contains at least 65% cacao and has no dairy or soy.