By Trish Wesevich
Sarah Hallenberger, of bistroMD, a nation-wide diet food delivery service, has some useful suggestions for those hosting a gluten-free guest for the holidays this year and the good news is, it’s easier than you thought. Sarah is the Registered Dietician with bistroMD and reminds us that most of the traditional dishes served at Thanksgiving are already gluten free. Roasted turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, corn and all vegetables are gluten free and it’s usually the gravy or the stuffing where gluten might be hiding.
One strategy for hosting a gluten free guest would be to make each of the dishes from scratch without adding processed ingredients such as dry mixes for the gravy, which could include a thickening agent usually made with wheat or another gluten ingredient. Bouillon cubes are usually not gluten free and may contain soy sauce, which contains wheat. If you would like to thicken turkey gravy without adding gluten you can make a roux substituting 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of corn starch for every cup of gravy. This method works fine for thickening most gravies and sauces. You’ll want to make sure you avoid making clumpy gravy so you can take some tips here from wikiHow (http://www.wikihow.com/Thicken-Sauce).
Sarah also suggests you might offer your gluten free guests a nice cheese and nut platter with rice or nut crackers, fresh fruit or maybe even a baked brie with toasted sliced almonds, dried cranberries, drizzled honey and sliced fruit to serve it with.
If you feel strongly that your guests share in the turkey stuffing then you can easily make a gluten free stuffing using the many gluten free mixes or croutons available in the marketplace these days. By adding lots of fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme and sage your dressing will be very flavorful even those who are not gluten free will enjoy it.
bistroMD (http://www.bistromd.com) is a nation-wide company that helps many lose weight by delivering, each week, natural, chef-prepared healthy meals designed by their in-house medical doctor. The program is specifically designed for weight loss and can be a very convenient way for busy professionals to enjoy healthy meals without having to put all of the effort into preparing them yourself. bistroMD also has a gluten free meal plan. Many of the meals for the next month and a half will be holiday inspired offering traditional favorites to its customers.
Navigating desserts can be a little trickier but there are many pre-made gluten free pie crusts on the market today which are very delicious. Gluten free ginger cookies could be used as a pie crust base or you could make a crustless pie by adding ¼ cup of all-purpose gluten free flour to your favorite pie mix so that it would stand on its own and keep its shape in the pie dish. This method saves calories as well. Chocolate mousse or puddings also make for popular gluten free holiday desserts.
In the end, Sarah Hallenberger of bistroMD wants everyone, gluten free or not gluten free, to enjoy the togetherness the holiday season provides while including foods nature provided for us.