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!
Protein: There are plenty of ways to add gluten-free protein options to your charcuterie board! Consider adding roasted and crunchy beans like The Good Bean Roasted Chickpeas or cutting up lower-sodium meat sticks like New Primal Lightly Peppered Meat Stick Free-Range Turkey.
Fruit: Fresh or dried are both great options! If you want to add more crunch to the board, a dried fruit like Bare Baked Crunchy Fuji & Reds Apple Chips could hit the sweet spot.
Crackers: This is where you will find most gluten-containing options on a traditional charcuterie board. Instead, try gluten-free swaps like Mary’s Gone Crackers, Flackers, or Pamela’s Gluten-Free Honey Grahams for a sweet twist.
Chocolate: Balance the savory flavors of a charcuterie board with sweets like Endangered Species Chocolate Natural Dark Chocolate with Espresso Beans Bar or Quinn Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Nuggets.
- Dips: A great way to add more flavor and nutrition to your board is by setting out different dips. Boost the fiber and protein, but avoid gluten, with sweet and savory dips like Justin’s Honey Almond Butter and Wild Garden Hummus Dip.
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.