The Christmas carols are playing, the decorations are up and the cooking is about to begin!

However, being gluten-free can often result in Christmas being a rather stressful time and often we aren’t in control of the menu. Following these helpful tips and strategies will ensure you have a healthy, happy, gluten-free Christmas.

  • Don’t ever assume that non-gluten containing products are Gluten Free. Take Ham as an example; glazes often contain some sort of wheat starch. Always read labels to ensure there is no evidence of cross contamination.

  • If you are guilty of devouring a couple of sweet treats during Christmas, allow yourself to do so. Enjoy them, remove any associated guilt and move on. Remember, these aren’t everyday foods and we are entitled to enjoy them as part of a healthy balanced diet.

  • If you are not hosting the day, bring along a substantial gluten-free meal such as a potato salad with mixed vegetables or a piece of meat/fish to ensure you will receive something nutritious and adequate if there are limited gluten-free options.

  • What about the stuffing: unfortunately, most stuffing’s contain a form of wheat product. Suggest a gluten-free alternative by using gluten-free bread instead.

  • There will likely be plenty of fruit and vegetables on the holiday table. A bright, healthy vegetable or fruit platter is a nice break from all the rich food we have likely consumed throughout the day (plus they are gluten-free of course).

  • It’s that time of year when celebrations, parties and end-of year send offs are well in the swing. Try to do your research beforehand and find out what type of food will be available during the event. If there are limited nutritious gluten-free options, aim to have a substantial, healthy balanced meal prior to attending. Include a lean source of protein to help keep you satisfied, a low GI gluten free grain source such as brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth or millet and a range of vegetable or salad items. Having a balanced meal beforehand and healthy snacks during the day will ensure you don’t overeat at the function on all the highly-processed, high sugar, high fat options.

  • Offer to bring an antipasto platter to your function that contains a range of nutritious gluten-free. Try buckwheat water crackers in replacement of savoys, fresh fruit to replace dried fruit, unsalted spicy nuts to replace salted varieties and smoked salmon or trout as opposed to high fat deli meats OR offer to make gluten-free versions of your favourite treats so you can control the ingredients. (The recipe below will hopefully give you some ideas).

Some festive recipes

Kate Save: Dietitian, Exercise Physiologist, Diabetes Educator and Personal Trainer