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5 Tips for Planning a Gluten-Free Thanksgiving

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There’s no doubt Thanksgiving is a holiday surrounded by food, food, and more food. While the true meaning of the holiday is to give thanks, we often end up giving ourselves a belly ache instead. That’s especially true if you’re one of the many people with a gluten sensitivity or allergy. It’s undeniably hard to pass up your favorite holiday comfort foods, like hot sage stuffing drenched in gravy or that special pumpkin pie that’s only made once a year, but for those following a gluten-free diet, indulging in those things could spell catastrophe.

That doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all the delectable dishes for the day, and it doesn’t mean you have to fret if you’re hosting the meal and one of your guests is gluten-free. It just means you need to have an idea of what dishes traditionally contain gluten, what substitutes are available, and what recipes you could make instead.

It’s even easier to plan a gluten-free Thanksgiving using technology and apps.

Here are some tips for making your Thanksgiving meal gluten-free.

  • Know the Culprits 1 of 5
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    There's a pretty good chance some of the traditional Thanksgiving staples will contain gluten. If you're familiar with gluten, there are a few you'll easily be able to pick out of the dinner line-up, like stuffing, dinner rolls, and pie crust, but there's also some surprises, like gravy, green bean casserole, and the turkey itself. Make the search for gluten-free versions of your favorite recipes using apps like Epicurious and Allrecipes

    Here are a couple I found that sound delicious: 

    Wild Rice Stuffing with Hazelnuts and Dried Cranberries

    Gluten Free Gravy

    Quinoa Stuffing

    Photo credit: iStockPhoto

  • Gluten-Free Thanksgiving 2 of 5
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    Sometimes the gluten-free solution is easy: Pick a different brand. One can of cream of mushroom soup might contain gluten while the can a few shelves down might not. Scrutinize labels when you're in the grocery store so you're not surprised at the last minute when you go to prepare the meal. Keep your smartphone handy and use an app to scan barcodes, like ShopSavvy, to keep track of brands you know are gluten free, which will save you time on your next trip to the grocery store. 

     

    Photo credit: iStockPhoto

  • Post a Menu 3 of 5
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    Hang a menu where everyone can see it. This can let anyone with dietary restrictions know what to avoid ahead of time and gives them time to ask questions about ingredients before everyone is sitting down at the table waiting to dig in. Get creative and use an app like Fresh Paint or even Word to create a printable menu. Use a wireless printer or plug a USB cord into a tablet like the Surface and print away! If you have any last minute changes to the menu, you won't have to start from scratch.

     

    Photo credit: iStockPhoto

  • Try New Recipes 4 of 5
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    Old, familiar recipes are wonderful and comforting, but new recipes can be exciting and fun. Who knows, maybe one day a new recipe will be someone else's old favorite. Experiment with different ways of prepping familiar dishes. Try green beans with lemon and pine nuts instead of green bean casserole. Serve turkey "au jus" instead of with gravy. Make baked apples instead of apple pie. If you stick with a mix of traditional staples and new twists, you're bound to please everyone.

    Don't worry about digging through hundreds of cookbooks or websites hunting for gluten-free recipes. Use an app like Bing Food & Drink or Pepperplate to search for recipes by ingredient or dietary need. Bonus: You can save the recipes and they'll automatically go into your shopping list.

     

    Photo credit: Heather Neal

  • Take Advantage of Technology 5 of 5
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    I almost always have my phone in my back pocket and I'm never more than a few steps away from a tablet or computer. It's nice to have everything in one place: grocery shopping lists, recipes, notes, guest lists, etc. Using programs like SkyDrive or DropBox will let you save everything on multiple devices automatically. You can make a grocery list on your tablet while assessing what ingredients you already have in your kitchen, then pull out your phone in the grocery store to double check you picked everything up.  A big bonus: Having everything saved for next year. Once you know what went well this year you'll be all set to do it again! 

     

    Photo credit: Windows.com

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