CDF_AskDietitian_404x404At Celiac Disease Foundation, we understand that the holidays can be a challenging time of year for those with celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders. Rather than bringing joy and cheer, the holidays can bring anxiety and concern for people on restricted diets. Whether you are a guest at a holiday party or you are hosting your own, mastering the art of successful social gatherings while living gluten-free takes practice. Janelle Smith, CDF’s Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Medical Advisory Board Member, provides some tips and tricks for a happy and healthy holiday season.

Discussing With Relatives:

  • Approach conversations with the attitude of “let’s make it enjoyable for everyone, and reduce stress for everyone.”
  • Validate that it can be difficult to adjust to this diagnosis (you know it because you live it!), and their support means so much to you to help you accept your disorder.
  • Use CDF recipe placards to clearly identify gluten-free and other allergen-free items.
  • Let gluten-free or allergen-free guests go through the buffet FIRST before anyone else to minimize stress over cross contamination.

Best Baking Practices at Home:imgres

  • Bake gluten-free items FIRST and cover before bringing out the wheat flour.
  • Choose spices and naturally gluten-free grains/grain-based products that are labeled gluten-free. Several naturally gluten-free grains may be contaminated with gluten from cross-contact in processing and manufacturing. A recent study shows that foods labeled gluten-free overwhelmingly meet the standard of no more than 20 ppm gluten with very few exceptions.
  • Use parchment paper, foil, or cupcake liners for all baking if you do not have dedicated gluten-free baking pans/tins.
  • Several cup-for-cup products are now available that allow you to use grandma’s recipe and be unrecognizable to the rest of your family.

Incorporate Flavors of the Season: Cinnamon, peppermint, and nutmeg


  • Cinnamon is a natural antioxidant
  • Simple addition: Add cinnamon to your oatmeal
  • Peppermint may be helpful for GI stress (i.e. nausea and heartburn)
  • Nutmeg may be useful for insomnia
  • Simple addition: Add ground nutmeg to your peppermint tea

Click here to check out our seasonal winter recipes!