The holiday season is here and that means eating can be challenging if you have celiac disease because there are so many parties and special meals with foods where gluten abounds.

Enjoying holiday dishes with celiac disease

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The holiday season is here and that means eating can be challenging if you have celiac disease because there are so many parties and special meals with foods where gluten abounds. From the white bread or cornbread stuffing in the turkey to rolls and holiday bread to bakery desserts, there is a lot of wheat, barley and rye in traditional holiday fare - and that means gluten, which must be avoided for good health when you have celiac disease. But you can make adjustments in your holiday offerings to reduce gluten. Here are some ideas.

Gluten-free appetizers or munchies:

  • Chick pea hummus and assorted raw vegetables
  • Fresh fruit and yogurt dip
  • Assorted roasted nuts – pecans, peanuts, walnuts, etc.
  • Homemade popcorn cooked in olive oil
  • Assorted cheeses with rice crackers or apple slices
  • Spiced shrimp with cocktail sauce

Gluten-free holiday side dishes: 

  • Roasted seasonal vegetables: Brussels sprouts, green beans, onions, butternut or acorn squash
  • Brown rice or cauliflower “rice” stuffing made with pecans and dried cranberries
  • Mashed white potatoes
  • Baked sweet potatoes
  • Salad made with dark greens, sliced red onions, assorted nuts, pomegranate seeds and olive oil- pomegranate juice dressing

Gluten-free main entrees:

  • Fresh fish
  • Poultry that has not been injected with a broth solution

Gluten-free desserts and sweet treats:

  • Fruit crisps such as apple or pear can be made with oats, butter and cinnamon topping -no flour
  • Pumpkin mousse made with whipped cream and canned pumpkin – no crust
  • Rice Krispie treats
  • Chocolate-oatmeal balls
  • Macaroons made with shredded coconut and almond flour

Recipes to try:

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About the Author

Rita Smith is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's been working in the field of nutrition and disease prevention for more than 35 years and currently works at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va. Each week, Rita provides nutrition counseling to clients who have a variety of disorders or diseases including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroparesis and weight management. For these clients, food choices can help them manage their health problems.