Thanksgiving is coming and this year so many are looking forward to celebrating with loved ones again! You ABSOLUTELY can enjoy family and friends without giving up on healthy eating as long as you prepare in advance.
Although it is an exciting event to look forward to, getting together for meals can become complicated as we strive to accommodate both our own and also others’ special diet preferences.
I’ve made a list of 7 considerations to ensure you can continue to eat healthy while still enjoying Thanksgiving to the full.
- Important: Decide now whether or not you want to partake of unhealthy foods during Thanksgiving. I write this as one who for many years ate foods that I knew were going to make me sick to make others’ happy. I really don’t think in hindsight that it made anyone anything except for causing me digestive distress (EVERY time, I might add.). The irony is that once I finally said no more, I found out no-one really cared that I didn’t want to eat the stuff that had me feeling yucky! Guess it was all in my head, hahaha!
- A Thanksgiving celebration typically includes several proteins, so what does your tribe want to have? Meat, plant-based, vegan, gluten free, or ??? Gluten and soy can be hidden in gravies and plant-based alternatives, so reading or looking up ingredients ahead of time will be useful. If you love gravy and are gluten free, bring your own gravy to share.
- Potatoes and vegetable dishes can also have hidden dairy, soy and gluten ingredients, so again, find out and bring some of yours to share if needed. The worst thing you could possibly do is expect everyone else to cater to your preferences/wants/needs. I can’t tell you how often over the past 18 years I have seen special diet persons pitch a tantrum when they are not catered to. It isn’t pretty. Get involved and be proactive, not just on Thanksgiving day meal but for the other meals you may be sharing with loved ones. They’ll love you for it even more.
- Take snacks. Eating a little on the way to dinner or as you are preparing food will help you to have the stable blood sugar levels to be able to make healthy decisions when it matters most. There is a saying that fits here, ‘Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.’ Thanksgiving foods smell lovely…and can easily draw you in if you are too hungry. It would be wise to have snacks for before and after the meal, especially if you are traveling to or staying in someone else’s home.
- Bring or get bread alternatives. Breads are a big part of holiday meals and can be very tempting for some. Brazilian Cheese Bread is gluten and grain free, and can be a fabulous alternative. You can either make your own (easily) or purchase some. Brazi Bites are one brand example.
- Bring or make a dessert you can safely eat if you are a sweets lover. If you cannot do either, make sure to bring fresh or dried fruit to enjoy. Grain Free Mama’s has many delicious dessert recipes on our website to give you some ideas. Going without dessert is probably the hardest part when you do not prepare ahead of time.
- The most important part of staying true to healthy eating is to have a healthy attitude. In your quest to stay pure, avoid falling prey to poking fun at others who you may deem not as healthy as you. If you thought your journey was lonely before, this could make your whole existence super lonely. Nobody likes a know-it-all, no matter how much they know.
Want more ideas for creative dishes? Check out our free gluten free recipes.