A Gluten Free Thanksgiving: Do’s and Don’ts

gf_turkeyIt’s turkey time! When you gather around the table with friends and family this Thanksgiving, we want that table to be filled with delicious, creative gluten-free dishes that give you even more to be thankful for this year. Our list of Thanksgiving Do’s and Don’ts will solve some of the holiday’s biggest challenges with some of the best gluten-free alternatives out there. Don’t worry…a gluten-free feast is just around the corner.

Cross-Contamination
DO: Talk to your host about cross contamination. Most Thanksgiving meals serve many dishes that contain gluten, and in the flurry of preparation, it’s easy to overlook seemingly small incidences of cross contamination. Draw up a quick list, and politely ask your host to prepare gluten-free dishes in thoroughly washed pots and pans, on clean counters and cutting boards, and in a separate toaster (or provide your own toaster bags). Even better, offer to come over early with your own gluten-free kitchen supplies and help cook.

DON’T:  Assume that your host remembers the gluten free guidelines you’ve outlined in years past. When it’s not your own diet, it’s easy to forget the nuances of eating gluten-free. How many times have you told your aunt that you’re gluten-free, only to have her offer fresh baked cookies a few hours later? Play it safe and cover all the gluten-free bases with your host – you’ll stomach will thank you.

Turkey and Stuffing
DO: Verify the ingredients in the turkey. While the turkey itself should be gluten-free, any additional seasonings, marinades, broths, or gravy need to be triple checked. Plan ahead by finding out where the turkey will be purchased or prepared, and talk directly with that person.

DO: Make your own gluten-free stuffing – there are some great recipes out there. Whole Foods Market offers up a recipe chock full of vegetables and seasoning that only takes an hour to prepare. Udi’s stuffing recipe is as great option for those of us who already have a refrigerator stocked with Udi’s Gluten Free Bread, and their recipe is simple and straightforward.

DON’T: Skip the stuffing this year! As the gluten-free market grows, it’s easier than ever to make a unique and satisfying stuffing alternative. We’d even recommend you make enough servings to share with the group – your gluten-free recipe might become a new family tradition.

Side Dishes
DO: Get creative. The upside of a gluten-free Thanksgiving is the reinvention of traditional (and let’s face it – often bland) holiday dishes. If you spent the majority of your childhood struggling through Grandma’s green bean casserole, now’s your chance to revamp her recipe. Even Betty Crocker is offering up a gluten-free alternative to this staple dish, and Foodista shares five different ways to make it.

DON’T: Get overwhelmed. Think back on the Thanksgivings of your gluten-filled yesteryear, and determine which dishes you miss the most. Most likely, every option at your Thanksgiving feast won’t be gluten-free. Narrow it down to a few of your must-haves, and ask close family members to alter their recipes to accommodate your diet. Send recipes their way well in advance so that they have time to ask questions, buy ingredients, and plan ahead.

Desserts
DO: Treat yourself. Thanksgiving is a time for thanks, and we are thankful for gluten-free pie crusts. If you’re whipping up your own pies this year, the the science of gluten-free crust is nearly perfected, and there are many options for pumpkin filling; canned or fresh. Not looking to wear the baker’s hat this year? Gluten-free pumpkin pies can be bought online or at local specialty markets, like Plum Market and Holiday Market.

DON’T: Risk it. Bring your own dessert, and steer clear of homemade treats that well-meaning relatives “think” are gluten-free. Even if a recipe is technically gluten-free, baked goods prepared in a non-dedicated kitchen are likely to have come in contact with flour on cooking utensils and surfaces. Play it safe, come prepared, and give thanks.

Have any other tips/ideas/comments? Please share in the comments section below.

25% Sale Reminder
Here at The GFB we recently announced our new packaging and our switch to a soy-free bar (don’t worry – it still has the same great taste that you’ve come to know and love). Take advantage of our limited time sale and get 25% off  cases of GFB protein bars through December 2nd with coupon code GFBCHANGES

Have a wonderful (and gluten-free) Thanksgiving!
Your friends at The GFB


  • andrea olson

    Thanks for the info – meant to say thanks earlier but forgot about it. We totally used this info for our Thanksgiving GF meal (and the non GFers were none the wiser). Great blog BTW!

  • laurab68

    A work friend of mine who is also celiac was complaining of symptoms at work after Thanksgiving and then turkey soup afterwards. She is still pretty nieve when it comes to being gluten free. She said, “But I didn’t eat the stuffing.” I asked her if the stuffing was in the bird and she said yes. I told her and when they baste the bird with the drippings, the juices come into contact with the stuffing which is then poured back over the turkey. The whole turkey is then considered cross contaminated….

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