Tis the season to be jolly, spend time with family and enjoy lots of good food. But when you have dietary restrictions, Christmas can become a bit more bah-humbug as you have to navigate all the menus, deal with well-meaning family members and stay safe and healthy over the holidays.
The good news is, a traditional Christmas dinner is very allergy friendly and it can easily be made suitable for gluten free, dairy free, nut free and other needs.
W*ith a little bit of preparation and planning, everyone can enjoy a food-filled Christmas. Take a look at my guide for managing parties when you have a child with food allergies and here are my top tips for getting through the big day:
Start planning early so you can have all the ingredients you need, can talk to family members and prepare food in advance
Read labels every time as you never know when ingredients have changed. Ask others to keep the packaging so you can check them
- If you are unsure, don’t eat it. Take your own back up food and remember that Christmas is about much more than just the meal
Starters and Canapes
The easiest thing to do is keep it simple. The more dips, sauces and fiddly finger food there are, the more chance there is for cross contamination and hidden ingredients. If there are canapes or a buffet, then take a plateful first to enjoy safely. Soups and salads are often good choices for starters as they are naturally free from (just watch for dressings).
Tear ‘n’ Share Christmas Tree (DF, EF, GF, NF) – FreeFromFarmhouse
Gluten free party food ideas – GlutenFreeCuppaTea
Rainbow fruit and veg skewers – Le Coin De Mel
Olive and lemon savoury crackers (DF, EF, NF, SyF) – Peachicks’ Bakery
Orange, red lentil and roast carrot soup – AMummyToo
A straightforward Christmas Dinner is actually very allergy friendly if you avoid using any butter on the basting or vegetables. Watch out for gluten in the gravy but most supermarkets do a gluten free versions. Other things to be mindful of are the stuffing and sausages which often contain gluten or egg.
Pork, sage and onion stuffing balls (DF, EF, GF, NF, SyF) – EasyPeasyFoodie
Paleo roast turkey and trimmings (GF, EF, NF, SyF, Paleo) – MummyTries
Gin brined chicken or turkey – LeCoinDeMel
Cranberry and port sauce – CharlottesLivelyKitchen
Brilliant boozy brussel sprouts – IntolerantGourmand
One brilliant thing about the growth in the free from market is the amount of desserts available to buy. There are lots of freefrom Christmas puddings available and even many gluten free and dairy free Christmas cakes. If you need egg or nut free it can be a bit more trikcy but Miracle Cake or BakeItFreeFrom cake kits are both free from the top 14 allergens. Another great new product is the Violife dairy and soya free cheese board.
Vegan chocolate cake recipe (DF, EF, NF) to make a chocolate log – FreeFromFarmhouse
Allergy safe Christmas pudding (DF, EF, GF, NF, SyF) -IntolerantGourmand
Non-alcoholic paleo Christmas cake (GF, DF, Paleo, Refined Sugar Free) -Mummy Tries
Christmas Cake (DF, GF) – Dairy Free Kids
Cranberry and orange ice cream (DF, EF, GF, NF, SyF, sugar free) – MyFussyEater
Christmas food doesn’t stop with the dinner! We all love to stock up on treats and snack our way through the festive season. There are lots of good treats in the free from aisle and this is a handy dairy and soya free Christmas snack guide. Always read the ingredients, be careful of bakery items and watch out for ‘may contains’ on many treats.
Vegan and gluten free mince pies (GF, DF, EF) – Healthy Tart
Christmas Biscuits (GF, DF, EF, SyF, NF) – Peachicks’ Bakery
Homemade dairy free Baileys (DF, GF, DF, NF) – Glutarama
Healthier gingerbread (DF, GF, EF, NF, SyF) – FreeFromFairy
Homemade marzipan chocolates (DF, GF) – GlutenFreeAlchemist
Cooking the perfect Christmas dinner is all about the timings and you can download a useful guide here from HelloFresh which helps you organise everything – from what to make the night before, to what to time you need to start on the day.
Disclosure: We were compensated with a HelloFresh box to include their guide in this post – but it is really useful!