Whether you’re hosting a Thanksgiving feast or planning a big December get-together for the holidays, you might be worried about accommodating a guest with dietary needs. More and more, it seems that friends and family are moving towards diets that eliminate some food groups or ingredients. This can admittedly make preparing dishes and treats more challenging, especially if you’re unfamiliar with diets that aren’t your own.
Fortunately, in the day of the Internet, accommodating your relatives and friends who have specific diets does not need to be a daunting task! And to help you get started on your holiday meal prep, we’re exploring two common diets today - veganism and gluten-free meals.
- Veganism. If a person is vegan, they maintain a vegetarian diet that excludes meat, eggs, dairy products, and all other animal products. This can extend to refined white sugars and some wines, as these foods are processed using animal products. There is a rough distinction between dietary vegans and ethical vegans, with ethical or environmental vegans who believe the farming of animals isn’t environmentally friendly and is an unsustainable way to live.
- How To Accommodate a Vegan Diet. If you are cooking for someone you know is vegan, don’t hesitate to ask them what you could serve that would accommodate their eating preference. If you have something in mind you would like to prepare, Google search for vegan recipes to ensure what you want to cook is vegan. Recipes that feature vegetables and natural proteins (such as black beans, lentils, etc.) will be tasty and nutritious options for your vegan friends. If you are feeling adventurous or if you are familiar with them already, tofu and tempeh are both good protein substitutes for meats.
- Gluten-Free Diet. If a person is gluten-free, they maintain a diet that excludes gluten. Gluten is a mixture of proteins that are found in wheat and grains, such as barley, rye, and other species and hybrids. People who follow a gluten-free diet might suffer from gluten-related disorders, such as celiac disease, dermatitis herpetiformis, or wheat allergies. Additionally, gluten-free diets can assist people with gastrointestinal or systemic symptoms of diseases like irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, or multiple sclerosis.
- How To Accommodate a Gluten-Free Diet. Similar to if you are cooking for someone who is vegan, feel free to ask your gluten-free friend for recommendations on what you could prepare for them. Search online for gluten-free recipes - there may be a version of a familiar recipe you can prepare a special way to accommodate your gluten-free guests. If you do not want to prepare food, grocery stores are offering more gluten-free options (as well as vegan options) -- just keep an eye on the packaging and ensure that it is marked as gluten-free (or vegan).
Understanding the variety of dietary needs in society today is a great starting point as you consider your meal options for various holiday get-togethers. One more thing you can do to accommodate guests is include an ingredient list with your dishes as you set them out this season. Providing this information up-front will help your friends navigate your treat options during your get-together. You can also coordinate with friends and family to determine what you will make and what they themselves can bring to your event - ensuring that everyone will have a chance to enjoy as much as possible this season!
If you have concerns about your own diet, want to work on improving your diet, or have general questions about dietary needs, we can help. Our team at Genesis Medical can assist you and answer your questions. To schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, find your nearest location and contact us today!