Christmas might be a magical time of year, but sadly, that magic doesn’t mean that your allergies or intolerances will be taking the day off too.
I hope this guide will make you smile whilst simultaneously helping you to manage your own dietary requirements this festive season.
If it’s your first free from Christmas, then don’t panic! There’s really no reason to miss out with a little extra planning here and there.
If you’ve got a free from guest attending your party this Christmas, then these tips might just help you help them too.
Here’s my 10 Christmas survival tips to ensure that you and your family have a very merry free from Christmas this year.
1. Don’t blindly hope that your dietary requirements will be catered for.
Whether it’s a Christmas work-do or a family gathering, make sure that you don’t surprise people with your dietary requirements at the last minute.
The earlier people know, the better, and they can hopefully choose the food that they buy with your needs in mind.
If in doubt, tell your host that you’ll bring your own food with you. Just please don’t risk it!
2. Know your free from aisles.
Free from aisles have nearly everything to ensure you don’t miss out this Christmas.
If we’re talking mince pies, then you certainly won’t struggle to find free from mince pies this year. Here’s proof.
All the big supermarkets have majorly upped their game this year, especially when it comes to gluten free products.
There’s some outrageously indulgent free from festive desserts out there, so go check out my Facebook page for my latest finds.
3. Don’t let cross contamination ruin your party.
If, like Santa, you have many little helpers in the kitchen, make sure they’re clued up on the best practices to avoid cross contamination.
Unless you live in a 100% allergen free household, it’s more than likely that most of your Christmas spread will contain allergens.
Make sure cooking equipment is thoroughly cleaned if it’s been used to cook already and consider putting free from food on a separate table.
4. Host your own Free From Christmas.
Nobody knows allergens better than you, so you’re probably the best host you could hope for!
As understanding as friends and family try to be, nobody reads the ingredients on the back of the packet better (or faster) than you do.
Being the expert on allergens, why not host the free from Christmas gathering you’ve always wanted?
Bonus points if you make it 100% free from and nobody else even notices.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask.
If you can’t throw your own free from Christmas, then you might just be attending a Christmas party elsewhere. Wow, you’re popular, aren’t you?
Hopefully you’ve warned them ahead of time about your dietary requirements, but even so, it never hurts to ask what’s safe to eat upon arrival.
The best solution is to make sure that your host keeps the packaging of everything, so you can check yourself what is and isn’t safe to eat.
Don’t be afraid of being seen as fussy or difficult, people are more understanding than you’d think!
6. Get creative in the kitchen.
If you can’t find your ideal free from Christmas food, then why not put your apron on and get creative in the kitchen?
Jealous that everyone is scoffing Ferrero Rocher? Why not try making my gluten free and dairy free version?
I hadn’t come across a low FODMAP stuffing ever, so guess what? I made my own!
It might be a little more effort, but I always try and make one Christmas treat for myself, from myself. Anything is possible in the kitchen!
7. Don’t let Christmas sneak up on you.
As much as extensive planning usually sucks the fun out of things, you’ll certainly appreciate it on the day when every shop and supermarket is shut.
That’s when all your hard work and planning will pay off, so then you can just kick back and relax on Christmas day.
Write a list of all the ingredients and products you’ll need and make sure you stock up before you forget. Make sure you plan/pick-up your free from dessert of choice too.
Also don’t forget that by Christmas eve, most supermarkets look like they’ve been completely cleaned out! If you need to cater for free from, don’t leave it to chance.
8. Allow yourself extra time for preparation.
If you’re planning your own free from Christmas, make sure you allow extra time to cater for your (or other people’s) dietary requirements.
Cooking free from and avoiding cross-contamination can mean cooking some things separately, so make sure you factor that into how you plan your day.
Just make sure you savour every last bite as it’s always over so quickly!
9. Don’t over do it!
Christmas is an easy excuse to go overboard and if this is your first free from Christmas, a plate of free from mince pies could easily be your undoing.
Just remember, all that food will still be there by Boxing Day!
10. Be prepared.
If you follow all of our tips, we can guarantee that you won’t be caught off-guard when catering for your own or a friend/family member’s food intolerances. At this time of year, let’s not forget that it’s the thought that counts! By showing someone that you clearly had their needs in mind and ensured that they wouldn’t be left out, you’ve probably given them the best Christmas present they’ll receive this year.
Have you got any other Free From Christmas Tips?! Why not join the debate and help out other free from folk this festive season?! Drop a comment below, or on Facebook/Twitter.
Thanks for reading,