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November 20, 2017

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Christmas is a time for family, food and festivities – however it can also come with the burden of stress. A stress that is quickly intensified by the words ‘dietary requirement’ and ‘gluten-free’ (GF).

According to The Gluten Free Agency, the global market for GF products has grown to approximately 40 million consumers – up to four million of whom suffer Coeliac disease. With four in ten Australian shoppers now buying GF products, a ‘gluten-free Christmas’ is becoming more of a reality for Australians.

Caroline Trickey, dietitian and culinary nutritionist for gluten-free company The Food Crafters, shares her top five tips to enjoy Christmas on a gluten-free diet, so you can worry less about the foods you’ll be consuming and focus more on enjoying time with friends and family.

1. BYO bonanza
“Always plan to ‘take a plate’ when going to a party where it is uncertain if gluten-free alternatives will be available. This is a common issue amongst my clients, and has led to many feeling left out of the holiday festivities. Although many catering companies now provide alternatives, often there is still not enough variety – only one or two options out of ten! Cross-contamination is also of concern as food handlers aren’t always aware or compliant. Sometimes it’s a good idea to eat before the event to ensure you don’t get hangry!”

2. Healthier cookies and crackers
“Cookies and crackers will always remain a staple item for the jolly season. Unfortunately, most gluten-free snacks are high GI which can leave you feeling unsatisfied and encourage you to eat more than you initially intended to! Nutrition filled alternatives like The Food Crafters range are high in fibre, the Ginger and Date containing nearly 4 grams per serve, almost 15% of your daily requirement. This also means they are a lot more filling and will keep your sweet cravings at bay.”

3. Christmas stuffing: revamped
“An easy swap for the beloved Christmas stuffing is to use gluten-free breadcrumbs. Although if you are looking for a lighter option, the combination of grains like buckwheat and quinoa can help you achieve a fresh, summery stuffing that isn’t stodgy. Another good option is to incorporate legumes such as lentils or chickpeas. This will offer a nutritious substitute that is both tasty and filling.”

4. Kitchen substitutes
“Cooking for the whole family doesn’t have to mean compromising your own dietary restrictions. Psyllium husks are an excellent source of soluble fibre, a prebiotic or ‘food’ for your good gut bacteria. They also have the added benefit of lowering LDL cholesterol levels and only need to be used in small quantities. You can add them to GF flours like buckwheat to provide texture. Alternatively you can use them to thicken smoothies, which if left for long enough turn into more of a mousse.”

5. Gluten-free beer
“A beer at the barbie on Christmas day is an all time Aussie tradition. Scientists in Australia are working hard on a new test to ensure the “gluten reduced” beers are safe for those with Coeliac disease 3 . Some are made from rice or sorghum – grains that don’t contain gluten and are safe. Others use wheat or barley and are then processed to reduce the gluten levels. For the mean time it might be worth sticking to champagne and wine, as they are naturally gluten-free!”

Read more: Top tips to master gluten-free shopping

Do you have to cater for family/friends with special dietary needs over Christmas?

Share your comments below.

  • GREAT ARTICLE …Luckily more food and variety is coming into supermarkets for special dietary needs folks now. a good few years back there was very little gf food ..that is not the case now and lactose free folk can purchase milk, cheese, cream and ice cream ..all this makes life a little easier.

    Reply

  • This is a great article especially for those of us who like to cater for diet requirements but are not exactly sure how to – I have friends that are GF, and vegan and I always love surprising them by making food that they can eat when we have dinner parties – so this is great advice on new things to try – thank you

    Reply

  • Yeah, we have 2 on gluten free- and 1 on diary free diet in our family. Once you got used to it, it’s actually not that limiting at all. The Food Crafters range sounds nice ! I haven’t seen it around in the supermarkets yet.

    Reply

  • We have always had to cater for different dietary needs and allergies – has just become part of our cooking.


    • There are some incredibly delicious gluten free recipes.

    Reply

  • I have friends who have Gluten allergies and I am allergic to eggs – it is hard to find different and/or special recipes for Christmas!

    Reply

  • Yes, 2 of my kids eat gluten free and one eats diary free.

    Reply

  • My sister in law eats gluten free and it can be a challenge to meet her dietary needs.

    Reply

  • Luckily we are not following any special diet. I would find it quite difficult to cater for celiac or vegan people.

    Reply

  • We don’t have to cater for special needs but l can image so many people do need to.

    Reply

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