When you’re eating at someone else’s house for Christmas dinner or boxing night dinner – whatever your tradition is, many of us coeliacs can easily feel left out.
If I’m eating at anyone’s but my parent’s house, I usually take my own food for two main reasons.
1. I know what I’m eating is 100% safe
2. I don’t like to feel as though I’m putting anyone out. Cooking for a coeliac when you have no knowledge or experience of cooking for one can be stressful!
There are so many great festive free from bits and bobs for us to choose from, all it needs is a bit of forward planning!
So here are my tips below for a worry-free coeliac Christmas!
Don’t worry about what others think
If you’re bringing your own food and you’re comfortable with what you’re eating, even if it’s not festive, so what? You’d be eating everything in front of you if you could. But sadly you can’t so you’re eating what makes you happy and relaxed.
Take precautions for cross-contamination at the dinner table
Not everyone knows that it only takes the smallest bit of gluten (well, 1/64 of a teaspoon if we’re being accurate!) to get you sick. So at a traditional Christmas roast dinner, people might lean over your plate to get their second helping of roasties. Just ask them if they wouldn’t mind doing it and explain why. If you don’t tell them how will they know?
I’ve been at restaurants with family where they’ve swapped ingredients from one plate to another right over my food. I used to obviously move my plate from under them to make a point, but now I just tell them. Screw it, I don’t want to get sick!
Pre-cook your food to warm in the microwave
It’s not everyone’s dream Christmas day scenario, but it’ll take the faff and worry out of your meal prep.
If you take food to cook from scratch or to whack in the oven when you get there, the oven is probably already full, let’s face it. Probably full of glutenous foods. Boooo.
Cooking and taking your meal to warm in the microwave means you’ll a. Be able to relax and enjoy the day – all you need to do is put it on to heat before you all sit down. And b. It’s free from cross-contamination because yours is all completely separate! Perfect.
The best thing about being the only gluten-free one at the table is that you don’t have to share your gluten-free treats. Score!
If you’re on the lookout for Christmas treats you can just cook in the oven, check the usual free from dry and frozen aisles, obviously, but check out the dedicated Christmas section, too. That’s where you can find other gluten and wheat free products. For example, you can find mushroom arancini balls in the Tesco Christmas section – they’re labelled gluten and wheat free. Plus lots of other bite-sized foods!
I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful coeliac-friendly Christmas – eat lots of food!