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Dealing with Different Dietary Needs
Sometimes you’ll have family members that have special dietary needs that cannot be broken, even during the holidays. If this is the case for you, it’s a good idea to find recipes that can work for all, made with the ingredients that guest can eat. Often, the people who don’t have food issues will not even notice, but the one with the issues will be very thankful because often there is nothing for them to eat and they don’t like making a big deal of it.
Try Vegan Options
If you have family members who are gluten free and/or dairy free, you can often find delicious vegan options that work for both. Dishes like Gluten-Free Rice Stuffing work well for those who have both requirements, and it tastes delicious to the other people too. It’s not really even hard to make either, since you start with uncooked rice and cook it mostly in the oven: https://www.thespruce.com/gluten-free-vegetarian-rice-stuffing-recipe-3376879
Create a Facebook group for everyone you’ve invited for the Christmas holidays. Then ask them as a group to let you know their food restrictions. Most people won’t talk much about it unless you ask them. Sometimes it does feel as if people with restrictions are picky and loud, but that’s only because they’re at your party and are hungry.
Send Out a Menu
If you want to cook a menu regardless, the best thing you can do is send out the menu with your invitation so that people who know they cannot eat that meal will feel free to RSVP “no” or call you about bringing their own food. The important part of the holidays is being together, even though food feels really important.
Pot Luck It
If you know that enough of your family members have issues, ask everyone to bring their own dish to share. That way they’ll have at least one thing they can eat. Offer to cook the ham or turkey (or whatever your family eats as a main dish) and ask them to bring something that fits their dietary needs.
Use Fewer Ingredients
Often, recipes with fewer ingredients are easier to eat for those with food allergies. But if you’re inviting a lot of people, it is also important to label foods containing ingredients such as milk, eggs, and nuts that people are commonly allergic to.
Finally, just relax. You can’t please everyone. Let your guests know what you’re going to serve and let them know it’s fine to bring something if they can’t eat it. Don’t single anyone out and ask them to try something.
Make everything self-serve so that people can make their own choices and don’t feel as if the spotlight is on them. Nothing is worse than really wanting that pumpkin pie but knowing you will have to visit the toilet several times if you indulge at a big family event. So, don’t push people. If they say no thank you, smile and accept it.
Tips and Tricks for Advanced Prep
When you’re responsible for feeding a crowd, how you go about it will depend a lot on your budget, your health, your space and the food choices you and your family make. These tips and tricks can work for any type of party, including your holiday dinner party.
Set Your Budget
This is important to do before you start inviting people. More than likely you’re going to spend on average 10 dollars a person for your holiday menu. This is helpful to know so that you can set a budget and limit on how many people show up. Alternatively, you may choose to provide the main course and let your guests bring dishes as they will, or that you assign if you have a theme that you want to stick to.
Decide Who Is Invited
Once you have your budget, you can create your invitation list. Even if you aren’t formally inviting people and just your family is showing up because this is the tradition, write it down anyway. While you’re at it, write down any food allergies or limitations of the guests that you know will be there.
Plan Your Menu
Now that you’re in the menu-planning stage, it’s important to know whether you’re cooking it all or whatever you can count on individuals to bring what you assign them to bring. You can easily include the recipe you want them to use too if you do it this way. Alternatively, you can tell them to bring a green bean casserole and let them use their own recipe. To ensure your guests will stick to the menu as assigned, explain in your invitation how it’ll work.
Choose Simple Recipes
While it might seem like a great time to try that complicated recipe you found, it’s not. It’s best to try those recipes out on your immediate family rather than at a holiday dinner with many people there. Instead, choose recipes that have fewer ingredients that are easy to prepare and take little prep time.
Consider Feeding Your Freezer
Some people who have a nice-sized freezer like to serve a lot of different recipes at their holiday gatherings. They will start feeding their freezer a few weeks prior to the event and then simply heat the food up when it’s time to serve it. This works great for casseroles, dressing, and many desserts.
The important thing to remember is that people are there to be with you and the other guests. They’re not just there to eat. You can make a great easy holiday dinner by letting everyone make their own personal pizzas or by having a potato bar. You don’t have to do everything completely traditional to make it a wonderful event.Other Details
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