Thanksgiving is the time of year that many of us love. You get to see family members you haven't seen in a while, eat food you normally wouldn't eat, and enjoy the company of loved ones around you. Thanksgiving should be a wonderful experience we all look forward to (if you can tolerate your family for that long). However, being gluten-free can make the whole experience a lot more stressful than it already is. How do you make it a little more manageable, you ask? By playing host to your family's Thanksgiving! There are many ways to host a gluten-free Thanksgiving or be a part of one without causing a hassle to everyone involved. I've actually done it many times and it's been a very fun experience! Here's some tips from myself with the help of Enjoy Life Foods on How to Host a Gluten-Free Thanksgiving. Enjoy some of the recipes below too!
Plan ahead of time
As usual, it's best to plan ahead of time for any family gathering that involves food. Talk to your family and figure out what type of food they'd like to have there. If many of the dishes they want contain gluten then you can go about it 2 ways.
Have them bring their own dish. Label the gluten containing items or have them be completely separate, altogether.
Look up some recipes to create gluten-free versions of the dishes they want to enjoy!
You're the planner so ultimately the final decision comes down to you.
Do some recipe research to be prepared
The best Thanksgiving meals come from finding the best recipes. There are many great resources for finding gluten-free Thanksgiving recipes like Gluten Free Palate, My Gluten Free Kitchen, Enjoy Life Foods' recipe page, or even this post containing my favorites! Stuffing and desserts are a big one to figure out. Here's 4 Enjoy Life Foods recipes that are top 8 allergy free, too!
These 2 recipes are awesome for an appetizer if you need! You can enjoy this Whipped Gingerbread Spice Butternut Squash (on the left) by getting the recipe, here! You can also enjoy this Baked Caramel Apple Quinoa Porridge (on the right) by getting the recipe, here!
These 2 recipes are great for dessert and pretty simple to make! You can enjoy this Pumpkin Crunch Cake with Apple Cider Glaze (on the left) by getting the recipe, here! You can also enjoy this Snickerdoodle S'mores Bars (on the right) by getting the recipe, here!
Don't forget to stick to the basics
I think many people forget that there are many gluten-free foods for Thanksgiving that are naturally gluten-free. Ham, turkey, green beans, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and more! These are very easy to use as the base for the Thanksgiving meal. Start with these since they are naturally gluten-free and everyone will enjoy them. Build off of these simple dishes once you have a solid Thanksgiving food foundation.
If others bring their own dishes, label them to avoid cross contamination
As said before, you don't have to limit the entire Thanksgiving meal to being just gluten-free. If people want to bring their own dishes (which is pretty typical) then let them! The best way to handle this is to label everything that contains gluten so that you know there won't be any cross contamination. Enjoy Life actually has these downloadable tags that are perfect for Thanksgiving that you can print off, here!
Have fun with it!
Like I said in the beginning of this post, Thanksgiving is all about enjoying the company of the loved ones around you. Hash out all of the logistics and non-fun parts of putting a Thanksgiving meal together. Get all of the family coordination, recipes, research done ahead of time that way you can enjoy the meal for what it is. Family get-togethers always have some stress involved. Being gluten-free may add some more but you definitely don't have to let it keep you from having a fun Thanksgiving.