Entertaining For Food Allergies: A Whole-Foods, Allergy-Friendly Holiday Meal Plan
In need of a whole foods, allergy-friendly holiday meal plan? Jessica has you covered!
By Jessica, Contributing Writer
Do you have family or friends with food allergies? It can be tricky feeding folks on special diets, but I can help!
Unfortunately, I know it well…because we’re the ones with the food allergies. We’re the ones with special requests, the anxious bringing-our-own-dishes, the trying-not-to-be-rude refusals.
If you’re trying to cook for someone on a special diet, I just want to say one thing.
I know it’s not easy. I know it involves an extra headache, extra researching, extra cost substituting this or that. I am so, so grateful for people like you.
Your guests might not even notice all your hard work. They might not see you washing the dishes “one more time,” just to be safe. They won’t see how you spent a few extra dollars to make the dish allergy-friendly. They may not get it.
But here’s the thing…He does. How comforting that lesson has been to me in my silent struggles!
For more Allergy-Free Cooking and Recipes, click here.
But back to the matter at hand. You have these guests, some gluten-free, some who can’t do dairy, all hungry…What can you feed them this Christmas season?
I have a great menu for you, but first here are a few quick but important tips regarding cooking for people with food allergies. Don’t skip these!!
- Wash your hands prior to cooking and handling food.
- Wash your dishes and counters before cooking. Even if they’re clean. It sounds harsh, but we’ve learned the hard way with my little guy, Sam, that even a residue of milk in a pot, yogurt in a blender, baked egg in a pan can cause an allergic reaction. I know, I know…it’s a pain. Remember the part about how God sees all your hard work?
- Even if something “seems” safe, it may not be. We learned this lesson the hard way, too. My son had a terrifying reaction to some store-bought sorbet that “looked” safe. Now we know which brands of things we can use, and which we can’t.
- Bottom line: Ask your guests! If you have friends with food issues, just talk to them. I’d like to make this…I’ll use this and this…Is that okay? I always feel so honored and grateful when anyone takes my son’s allergies into consideration when making the menu.
Okay, so now, the meal plan! Here’s my go-to whole-foods holiday menu that is allergy-friendly (free of gluten, dairy, eggs, and nuts).
I often have guests in my home a day or two before “the big meal.” For these meals, I like serving a cozy, casual-type dinner that can simmer on the stove (or the crock pot) as guests come and go.
- White Lightning Chili with Allergy-Free Corn Muffins (These corn muffins freeze well if you want to make ahead.) MY FAVE!
- Pulled Beef Barbeque over Baked Potatoes
- Mom’s Best Chicken Soup with Rice
- Healthier Sloppy Joes served atop Baked Sweet Potatoes
- Crock-pot Baked Oatmeal (I use coconut oil instead of butter and coconut milk instead of regular milk. Just delicious.)
- Brown Sugar Bacon
- Homemade Turkey Sausage (I make this without the egg, and it is perfect.)
I like doing a “light lunch” for my guests so we don’t spoil the big meal. Here are a few ideas:
- Braised White Beans with tortilla chips (these are so delicious!)
- Quinoa and Chickpea Salad
- Easy Baked Chicken Nuggets
- Hummus with veggies and homemade corn chips
- Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps (substitute turkey bacon if you wish)
- Mandarin-Avocado Salad
- Perfect French Fries
- Balsamic Grilled Chicken Skewers (diced grilled chicken, basil leaf, and cherry tomato on a skewer, topped with balsamic vinegar and sea salt)
- Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole
- Best Dairy-Free Mashed Potatoes
- Allergy-Friendly Cornbread Stuffing With Sausage and Cranberries
- Any vegetables roasted with coconut oil or olive oil
- World’s Best Baked Apples
- Cherry Chocolate Popcorn With Sea Salt (or just plain homemade popcorn!)
- Pumpkin Brownies
- Dairy-Free Berry Mousse
Are you hosting guests with food allergies? What is on your whole-foods, allergy-friendly holiday meal plan?
This post is sponsored by Plan To Eat. Plan To Eat was born from our desire to eat real food — great food — prepared at home, together as a family. Plan to Eat is an online menu planner that uses your recipes, scheduled for the days you want them, automatically generating your grocery list, organized the way you like to shop. Eat well. Eat together.
Jessica, this is great advice and wonderful menu ideas. Though my family does not deal with severe allergies, I have several friends who do and it would be so hard to see them come to gatherings and rarely get to participate in the food — I’m a foodie who loves to see people eat together, it’s special. It has changed my thinking when planning any party, even ones where I don’t know if someone has an allergy, there is always something gluten free, especially if it is a main dessert like birthday/graduation cake. It is such a pleasure to see their faces light up when they know they can join in, talk about how good something tastes, hold a plate and napkin instead of being empty handed and not feel different or have to explain. It is always worth the effort or extra cost. Always.
What kind comments! You sound like such a wonderful and gracious host! Your friends are lucky! 🙂
When my large extended family gets together we have MANY allergies between us. This is new territory for most of us. Oddly, we can still all eat gluten/wheat. But we have over 20 other things we can not have in group dishes, including dairy, eggs and soy. I linked this post in tomorrow’s post. It is really good advise, and some good recipes.
Crayl, I kind of know what that’s like, except I’m the one with all the food intolerances — dairy, eggs, and soy included. But I also have friends with whom I share certain intolerances. I’ve recently started sharing my recipes on my blog to help others facing challenging restrictions. There are certain ones that are fairly common. I love Judy’s idea, and I’m fortunate to have friends who will try to make something I can eat when they’re hosting.
My sister in law is vegan, my mom is on a strict elimination diet right now and can’t have gluten, grain, eggs, pork, beef or dairy. The rest of my family are huge fans of all meat, butter and gluten. We basically have to make dietary friendly doubles of everything this year and it’s exhausting to just think about. My SIL eats gluten but no meat. My mom eats poultry and fish but no gluten. Neither eat dairy. Everyone else thinks it’s needs more butter and beef. I’ve found acceptable replacements for several dishes, but the extra work is so much and the other guests will definitely not believe that cashews and nutritional yeast are “just like Parmesan.” I love the holidays but am definitely looking forward to the simplicity of January’s meal plan.
Hi Kate, you definitely have your hands full but looks like you know what you’re doing. With a big family, we can agree with you on the hardships, haha, and of course, the simplicity of January’s meal plan. Hang in there. It all goes so fast. 🙂
Great article. True, I would like to add one remark. You have recipes for certain types of allergies and not everyone can fit. For example, I am allergic to chicken and all recipes with chicken, is not my topic.