Thanksgiving and Christmas are sneaking up right around the corner (inconceivable as it may seem), and with them, all the horrors that come with trying to get your kids through the holidays gluten free.
School parties, bookstore events and other holiday galas are a hurdle for another day (so stay tuned). Today, however, let’s talk about a holiday tradition that’s near and dear to our hearts and can be a bigger pain in the rear end than all the others combined.
Dinner at Grandma’s House
Dinners with family and friends can be the best and the worst parts of the holiday season for gluten free kids. They expect to be able to munch freely, while your well-meaning host may have extended the invitation without realizing they were going to need to put plenty of gluten-free options o the menu before you’d be able to say yes.
Before you start WWIII or turn your g-free kid into the family pariah…
- Talk to your host. Your child’s gluten free diet might be a staple in your kitchen, but unless they’re living gluten free to your host may have no idea what “gluten free” even means. Explain your child’s dietary needs, and offer plenty of suggestions for dishes they can eat. While you’re at it, find out what’s on the menu…and be prepared to cook up and bring a gluten free alternative of your own.
- Keep an eye on the meat, potatoes and any other dish someone might decide to drown in gravy before it hits the table. As soon as they’re done cooking, “casually wander” into the kitchen and ask if you can grab a serving for your child. That way you never run into that awkward moment when you realize that despite the best intentions of both you and your host, there’s absolutely nothing on the table your child can eat.
- Bring your own dessert. Gluten free baking is a pain, which is precisely why the best option your gluten free kids are likely to have for dessert is likely to be Betty Crocker out of a box. Eliminate the temptation (and torture) of gluten-laden cakes, cookies and pies by bringing some gluten free holiday favorites of your own.
- Covertly bring a microwaveable dish of gluten-free foods. This was one I learned the hard way. Sometimes, despite the best assurances of your host, you get to a family event and find that there’s absolutely nothing that your kid(s) can eat. Don’t get mad. Remember, it took you a looooong time to find everything the food industry sneaks gluten in! Rather than starting a fight, or making your kid go hungry, quietly pack a plate into a cooler and slip it under the car seat before you leave home. That way, if disaster strikes, you can assure your host you have it covered. If everything goes off without a hitch, no one ever has to know.