Holiday & Social Eating

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Holidays and other special occasions can cause stress for those on a gluten-free diet. Here are a few easy tips to help you enjoy a worry-free holiday season or a night out with friends.

  • Be creative: Don’t let celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity be a hindrance; there are many alternative recipes online for your favorite holiday treats, including cookies, flour-less cakes, breads, stuffings, and pies. Look for creative substitutes for your holiday baking and don’t be afraid to experiment. There are also pre-made products and mixes readily available. Check your local health food and grocery stores to see what they carry.
  • Come prepared: If you are going to someone else’s house for a get-together and are unsure of the menu, bring along a dish or two that you are sure you can eat. That way you aren’t left hungry. If you aren’t sure if there will be something you can drink, bring along a bottle or two.

Download the CDF Gluten-Free Placards to Use at Potlucks and Gatherings

  • Do your research: if you are going out to eat, for any occasion, call the restaurant ahead of time or look online to see if they have gluten-free options. Don’t assume there will be, every restaurant is different. If there is not anything you can eat, consider suggesting an alternative place where you know there are options on the menu. Additionally, if you are attending a catered event, call ahead of time to see if you can request a gluten-free meal or gluten-free options.
  • Be assertive: depending on your sensitivity, you may want to let your server or host know how severe your reaction can be. Letting them know will help alleviate some of your stress. Don’t be afraid to send things back or to ask questions about cross-contact to make sure you are getting what you need.
  • Be courteous: do not expect a waiter or party host to be familiar with what celiac disease or gluten intolerance is. Explain politely what you can and cannot eat. If a waiter brings you a dish with gluten by mistake, be courteous and explain why you cannot eat it. They will likely be very understanding and fix your entree.
  • Be alert: be on the lookout for hidden sources of gluten such as gravies, sauces, spices, and drinks. And remember, When in doubt, go without!

What Can I Cook?

Find easy-to-fix recipes for every occasion at CDF’s Recipe Hub.

Find Gluten-Free Recipes


Janelle Smith, MS, RD,specializes in gastrointestinal symptom management through appropriate nutrition and food choices, helping you adapt to living on a gluten-free diet.

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