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Celiac disease tips for handling gluten on Thanksgiving

Lana Bandoim's picture
Gluten-free Thanksgiving Food

The Thanksgiving meal is the perfect time to reconnect with family and friends, but it can be a nightmare for people with celiac disease. Cross-contamination and food filled with gluten are frequent problems experienced during the holiday. The following tips can help you survive the holiday while avoiding the protein.


Hosting Thanksgiving dinner in your home is the easiest solution to keep away from gluten and stay safe. Although some people will attempt to accommodate guests by making both gluten and gluten-free dishes, it is important to consider the impact this will have on your kitchen. If you cook with gluten, then the counters, dishes, pots, utensils and other items will become contaminated. Will you have time to clean them, find every crumb of contamination and avoid ingesting gluten? Thanksgiving may be the perfect time to introduce your family and friends to a gluten-free diet to avoid this issue. Food & Wine Magazine and SAVEUR have lists of gluten-free recipes that will help you create an entire holiday meal.

Problems appear more frequently if you are forced to have Thanksgiving dinner in someone else’s home. First, it is crucial to warn them about your celiac disease or gluten sensitivities weeks in advance because some people plan their menus early. If they are willing to serve gluten-free food, you are fortunate but must still be careful. The host or hostess may need help understanding your diet restrictions, and you may want to offer to cook several dishes. From easy gluten-free gravy to spicy cauliflower rice, you can help and stay healthy at the same time.

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Contamination with gluten is a problem even if the host or hostess has agreed to serve gluten-free food during Thanksgiving. After discussing it with them, you may want to consider bringing your own placemat and napkin if you are highly sensitive to gluten. In addition, you may have to sit at your own table to avoid being near gluten being served to others. These are not ideal ways to spend the holiday, but for people with a severe sensitivity to gluten, they may be necessary.

Read more about celiac disease:
Cheese on a gluten-free diet: Understanding safety concerns for celiac disease
Gluten sensor would help control celiac disease

Image: Ms. Jones/Wikimedia Commons