Most of all be grateful that your guest is on their new path to wellness, even if that means you have to learn to dish up some new holiday food traditions.
You Eat What? How to Accommodate Holiday Guests Food Choices this Season
Best Tips for the Hostess with the Mostest
- Start with Respect and Grace for Both Yourself and Others
- Talk to Your Guest to Find out What they Can Eat
- Don’t Be Afraid to Ask them to Bring a Dish to Share
*or if they are traveling ask them to share their favorite recipe with you to make for them!
Cliff Notes Version of Popular Diets
- KETO – high fat, moderate protein and VERY low carb.
- PALEO – typically includes lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
More information: https://thepaleodiet.com/
- PLANT BASED – no animal products (meat, eggs, dairy), typically low oil, low nuts, low soy products.
More information: https://www.forksoverknives.com/
- VEGAN – similar to plant based, no eggs, dairy or meat, but could include some ‘junk food’ potato chips, oreos etc.
- VEGETARIAN – no meat or animal flesh. Might include eggs, usually includes dairy and butter.
- WHOLE 30 – If someone is at the beginning of their reset they avoid sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes and dairy. The diet does permit meat, seafood, eggs, veggies, fruit, and natural fats like vegetable oils, coconut oil and tree nuts.
More information: https://whole30.com/
- LOW-FODMAP – Some people are sensitive to certain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the intestines and can cause bloating. These carbs are known as fermentable oligo, di, monosaccharides and polyols — or FODMAPs — and are found in certain grains, vegetables, fruits and dairy products.
More information: https://www.ibsdiets.org/fodmap-diet/fodmap-food-list/
- Gluten Free – Avoid all foods and drinks containing the following:
- Triticale — a cross between wheat and rye
- Oats, in some cases
Simple ‘Hacks’ That Will Make Most Holiday Dishes Okay for Everyone To Eat
- Leave the Toppings on the Side (i.e. bacon, cheese, nuts) – this could be for a salad bar or potato bar!
- Toss Veggies with Olive Oil instead of Butter
- Use Vegetable Stock vs. Chicken or Beef Stock
- Most special diets allow non-starchy vegetables, so steamed vegetables with butter and olive oil on the side are usually a safe bet.
- Olives make an excellent appetizer for almost every diet.
- For your gluten-free or paleo guests, if you’re making a meat or poultry dish, consider saving them some of the plain pan drippings to use as an au jus before you add flour and other ingredients to make gravy for the rest of your guests.
- For your low-carb guests, some easy options include things that the rest of your guests might also enjoy, like spiced nuts for appetizers, and fresh berries and unsweetened whipped cream as a dessert alternative.
- For Your Vegan/Vegetarian/Plant Based Guests: Offer a non-animal source of protein – beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh on the side or in a dish.
Find a great list here: Vegan Thanksgiving: Soups, Salads and Sides
- Offer a gluten-free starch option: This could simply mean offering rice, quinoa or potatoes as a side dish over pasta or bread
- Consider serving the meal buffet-style. That enables guests to easily choose what works for them. You can include a mix of traditional favorites and diet-friendly dishes. If you have enough different items, most people can eat around their dietary restrictions.