How to Host a Gluten-Free Gathering

How to Host a Gluten-Free Gathering

Jan 31, 2024Tori Sajovec, RD, LD

Hosting can come with a set of challenges — especially if you are inviting guests with food allergies. So, what do you need to know about guests who follow a gluten-free diet? Let's start by breaking down the basics of gluten and how to best serve gluten-free guests coming to your celebration. 

Gluten isn't as scary as it seems — it is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and a wheat-rye hybrid called triticale. It helps provide elasticity and structure to many of our favorite baked goods, but it's also found in many products on store shelves. Gluten can cause discomfort or serious health issues in people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. But what is the difference between celiac disease and gluten intolerance? Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease in which an autoimmune response causes damage in the small intestine when gluten is consumed. An individual with a gluten intolerance may experience many of the same symptoms as someone with celiac disease, but no damage occurs in the small intestine. Also, while there are tests to detect celiac disease, there are no diagnostic measuring tools to diagnose a gluten intolerance. 

How can you make guests who follow a gluten-free diet more comfortable at your holiday gathering? When preparing and serving gluten-free dishes, thoroughly wash all dishes, serving utensils, cookware, etc., because gluten can affect those with celiac disease through cross-contamination. So, if you commonly prepare items containing gluten in your kitchen and plan to serve other dishes that contain gluten at the party, be sure to give those dishes and surfaces an extra scrub! Labeling dishes and letting guests know what options are gluten-free so they can freely serve themselves could also be helpful. 

Now that you're equipped with tips for accommodating gluten-free guests, let's take your party to the next level with a gluten-free charcuterie board! Charcuterie boards are great to serve guests as they arrive at your party, and they can also be turned into a pack-your-own party favor station at the end of the night. Let's break down the basic components of a charcuterie board, but make them gluten-free friendly!  

Connect with your local Hy-Vee dietitian on our virtual nutrition services platform and schedule a complimentary Discovery Session to learn more. Hy-Vee dietitians offer various services to help you meet your weight loss and nutrition goals, including one-on-one consultation packages, personalized menu plan programs, virtual nutrition store tours and more.  

The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice. 

About the Registered Dietitian 
Tori Sajovec RD, LD, received her Bachelor of Science degree in dietetics with a minor in English from Iowa State University. From there, her passions took her to New Orleans, Louisiana, where she completed her 10-month dietetic internship program through Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. As her knowledge of food and nutrition grew, so did her desire to educate customers and clients on their overall well-being. Her goal as a dietitian is to make health and wellness an insightful and enjoyable lifestyle for all.

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