Christmas dinner is traditionally an indulgent no-holds barred feast where we fill our plates as high as possible with all kinds of wondrous treats. However, when cooking for someone with a particular dietary requirement you need to be careful with exactly what you serve as some of your guests may have specific needs. Here we will provide some guidelines as well as a selection of recipes so you can serve an enjoyable meal for everyone without upsetting your guests or endangering their health.
Diving in at the deep-end with gluten-free diets, gluten-free can be one of the most confusing types of dietary requirements any time of the year – not just at Christmas. Luckily many supermarkets now stock celiac-friendly products in their ‘free-from’ sections. This means that you can get hold of things like gluten-free oatcakes for your cheese & biscuits, gluten-free bread for your bread sauce and other trimmings – just look for the gluten-free symbol.
You’ll also find that there aren’t too many issues with the meat side of your dishes. Fresh, straight from the farm turkey is usually fine. But, you should try and avoid self-basting turkeys which often include protein injections and other additional flavourings which may include wheat strains.
Gluten free recipes:
Smoked Salmon & Avocado Terrines (BBC Good Food)
Guinea Fowl with Roast Chestnuts (BBC Good Food)
Cranberry, Maple & Pecan pudding (BBC Good Food)
Whether for religious reasons, health, or ethical choices vegetarians choose to abstain from eating any meat, fish or seafood. While that puts the traditional turkey main and prawn cocktail starters firmly out of bounds, there are still plenty of tasty dishes to choose from using vegetables. You can usually also find a number of ‘mock-meat’ products on the shelves in supermarkets made by brands like Linda Mccartney and Quorn.
Caper Tartar (Demuths)
Butternut Squash & Stilton Filo Pie (Tesco Real Food)
Elderberry & Almond Pie (BBC Good Food)
The vegan diet is similar to the vegetarian diet. Like vegetarians Vegans don’t eat meat or fish but they also exclude any food or drink that is derived from animals such as milk, egg, honey or cheese. While this might sound restrictive it’s a good test of your abilities as a cook. You should still be able to put together a delicious Christmas dinner using combinations of grains, beans, legumes, vegetables, fruits and replacements like tofu, soy and mock meat. Just be sure to check any processed food to make sure there are no meat or dairy ingredients lurking.
Baby Artichoke Bruschetta (Jamie Oliver)
Jackfruit Pot Pie (OneGreenPlanet)
Cherry & Almond Vegan Brownies (BBC Good Food)
Christmas is normally the time of year where we relax our healthy eating principles and decide to indulge. However, for people with health conditions like diabetes there is a risk that eating lots of rich foods can make them very ill. If you are serving food for diabetic guests then be sure to tell them in advance what you plan to cook as this will allow them to manage their diabetes on the day and how much insulin they may need to take. You should also be sure to have plenty of water and bread on hand so that if they feel their blood sugar dropping they can take action.
Cheesy Sweet Potato & Zucchini Bites (Slimming Eats)
Herb-crusted, Boneless Leg of Pork (Diabetic Gourmet)
Christmas pudding (Diabetes UK)