Is your lactose intolerant sister-in-law staying at your house this Christmas? Are you inviting several vegan friends to your holiday party? Does one of your co-workers have Celiac Disease and you aren’t sure if they can partake in the enjoyment of those Christmas cookies you are bringing to share at the office?
Dietary restrictions, whether for medical or ethical reasons, can be incredibly intimidating for people who are not accustomed to them, yet find themselves in a situation where they need to accomodate the dietary restrictions for someone in their lives. If this sounds like your predicament, fear not! Trust us, gluten-free and dairy-free does not have to mean delicious-free…we swear on all 6 flavors of our delicious ice cream. Here are a few of our best tips for making your gluten and dairy free friends and family feel loved and included during the holidays.
Party food options that are simple – and just so happen to be vegan & gluten-free, too…
- Of course, if you are serving any kind of ice cream at your party – pie a la mode, ice cream cookie sandwiches or spiked milkshakes – NadaMoo! is always a crowd pleaser. Our Lotta Mint Chip flavor is one of our best-sellers and that chocolate/mint combination is a holiday classic.
- Silk Nog is the best dairy-free egg nog alternative available and your other guests probably won’t even notice that it’s not classic egg nog (unless of course you wanted to leave the entire carton in the hands of your lactose-intolerant/vegan guests). The consistency is excellent and can be substituted in any recipe that calls for egg nog, as well. It doesn’t curdle when you add alcohol, either – which can sometimes be an issue with dairy alternatives. So spike a bowl of Silk Nog at your party or pour a glass for your lactose-intolerant kiddos because it just wouldn’t be the holidays without eggnog. Our Vanilla…ahhh! flavor blended with some Silk Nog beats the pants off every other seasonal milkshake out there.
- Hummus & salsa are naturally gluten and dairy-free dips that are affordable, classic party staples. Crudites & tortilla chips are easy gluten and dairy-free dipping options. Most crackers and pretzels are vegan, but double check the package to make sure they are gluten-free. Mary’s Gone Crackers is a great gluten-free cracker company, if you have never gone shopping for gluten-free foods before (the rumors about cardboard-like gluten-free foods are well-founded…trust us). Cheesy dips are typically gluten-free, but if you are looking for a vegan alternative, try Nacho Mom’s Ultimate Vegan Queso. The gluten-free crackers and vegan queso will cost a bit more, so if affordability is your bottom line – go for the first several options.
- Most widely sold candies and cookies are not vegan, but if you need a vegan alternative in a pinch – Oreos and most dark chocolate are vegan. Here is a really great list of which widely sold candies are gluten-free.
Gluten-free baking is incredibly complicated & will require you to purchase several substitutes and types of flour that will make it a very expensive endeavor – but if you go to all of that effort, the gluten-intolerant recipient of your baked goods will be beyond grateful. If you’re worried about your gluten-free baking prowess leaving something to be desired, you’re not alone. All Whole Foods locations have phenomenal bakeries that are incredibly specialized in accommodating food allergies and will be able to make special order gluten-free baked goods.
Vegan and lactose-free baking is a somewhat simpler adventure because many of the alternatives are already in your kitchen.
Gluten-free food options for a festive, holiday meal are much more easy to come by than you’d imagine. Unless your guests are vegetarians, your holiday turkey, ham, roast, turducken, etc. will be something your gluten-intolerant guests can enjoy. Additionally, most vegetable side dishes are obviously gluten-free. If you are in the mood to get fancy, (again) Whole Foods is a great resource – here is a great list of “Gluten-Free Holiday Recipes” from their blog…why look any further?
Veganizing holiday family favorites can require a bit more of an effort to make substitutions, but veganized recipes usually taste so similar to their traditional counterparts that none of your guests or family members will be able to tell. Maybe let it be your little secret between you and your vegan guests? Ahh…Tofurky. While it may be a favorite carnivore joke – Tofurky actually tastes delicious and only costs about $10 to feed 4 people. If you aren’t willing to splurge on a Tofurky, substituting Earth Balance – a vegan, dairy-free butter substitute – for recipes that call for butter, and a milk alternative for recipes that call for milk, will solve most of your “veganizing” woes. As far as egg replacers go, Ener-G Egg Replacer is available at most chain grocery stores and is by far the best, completely natural egg substitute. Like so many other things – when in doubt, just search the internet for a vegan version of your favorite holiday treats because great recipes are out there!
Accommodating food allergies & veganism during the holidays isn’t as daunting as you think. Vegans and people who live with Celiac Disease, or lactose intolerance, often expect that they won’t be able to eat most things at parties or treats that are brought to the office – so they will be more appreciative than you can imagine if you go out of your way to consider their needs and preferences. Food allergies can be incredibly severe, in some cases, and if you aren’t sure if something is safe for your guests or friends – ask them to make sure.
Feel free to leave your comments, suggestions, questions or experiences below or e-mail our vegan intern/cooking, baking and entertaining nerd – firstname.lastname@example.org – for more ideas.