It’s almost impossible to think of Thanksgiving without subsequently thinking of a roasted turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. Many of these staple menu items are bread-based making it seem nearly impossible to find and enjoy a traditional, but gluten-free, holiday meal. However, a gluten-free Thanksgiving dinner is possible, and we’ve compiled the best tips and tricks to making it while still fully enjoying the holiday.
A gluten-free diet is one that excludes the protein gluten, which is most commonly found in wheat, barley and rye. A common reaction to gluten is the damage and inflammation of the small intestine, leading to further gastrointestinal problems. For a chronic illness sufferer of Lyme Disease or Osteoarthritis, extra inflammation can have harmful effects. For this reason, these patients typically choose to remove gluten from their diet so as to not further feed the condition. The best way to handle a gluten-free Thanksgiving is to know where gluten lurks, and how to replace it.
The soul of every Thanksgiving dinner is the turkey. Luckily, fresh, plain turkeys are always gluten-free. If you prefer a pre-flavored turkey, avoid buying it premade unless you can confirm that it is gluten-free. Follow that same rule for any added spices or broths. One final tip: avoid eating any gluten-stuffed turkey!
In typical stuffing, bread plays a crucial role. But, gluten-free white “bread” can just as easily play this starring role. After using this substitute, you can easily personalize the flavors of the dish to fit your preferences. It’s easy to substitute with gluten-free bread in your traditional recipe, and here’s a recipe we love and recommend.
(Photo: Elizabeth Barbone)
Like turkey, there’s no reason for mashed potatoes to contain gluten. Fresh potatoes, butter, and a little milk yield the best combination to make warm, light, and delicious traditional mashed potatoes. But, if you want to try a less traditional recipe you can swap out your mashed and sweet potatoes for these incredible maple chipotle sweet potatoes.
If the turkey is the soul of a Thanksgiving meal, then gravy could easily be its heart. Typically, it’s made from pan drippings and flour. Fortunately, this can be made gluten-free by simply switching the flour for cornstarch.
Mac and Cheese
One of our personal favorite dishes, mac and cheese can seem like a nightmare for anyone eating gluten-free. However, you can still devour this classic american dish by preparing it with a veggie base. Cauliflower is the perfect substitute, and we have the perfect recipe for you to try here.
(Photo: Cookies and Cups)
It’s nearly impossible to make it through the holiday season without some ‘merican pie. The trick to a perfect gluten-free pumpkin pie is the crust. And, when it comes to the filling, most pumpkin pie filling recipes are already naturally gluten-free. If you wanted to get really adventurous, you could try a vegan and gluten free pumpkin pie recipe.
Without a doubt, there is no reason someone who is following a gluten-free diet shouldn’t be able to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal the same as anyone else. Peer Health can further provide you with tips and tricks for best managing all of the struggles of living with a chronic illness. Find healthcare peers just like you and joins us today.