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How to Navigate Dietary Restrictions this Holiday Season

How to Navigate Dietary Restrictions this Holiday Season

November is here, and it’s time to start thinking about the most wonderful (and, OK, sometimes stressful) part of the year. Holiday season is a time to come together with friends and family to enjoy delicious food, drink, and merriment. Sounds great, but as we learn more about allergies, sensitivities, and new ways of eating, the classic holiday menu gets a bit more complicated. If you have a dietary restriction and are planning to attend a holiday get-together, this can become stressful. Similarly, if you’re hosting a large party, you may feel overwhelmed by all the accommodations you anticipate having to make to your dinner spread. Fear not, as our useful guide will help you to enjoy the season for what it’s really about.

Be Transparent

These days, many people have dietary restrictions and preferences, and the best way to navigate group get-togethers is to be transparent—both about your own restrictions and about what’s in each dish if you’re hosting. As a guest, you may want to give your host a heads up about what you can and can’t eat so that you’re not left with an empty plate at the dinner table. You can also offer to bring a dish from home to take some of the pressure off. If you’re the host, reach out to your guests ahead of time and ask them if they have any restrictions, allergies, or preferences so that you can plan accordingly. Doing this a few weeks in advance will help you to map out your menu and mitigate any stress involved.

Make Use of Labels

Before your guests arrive, make sure to clearly label each dish on your buffet spread so that everyone knows what they can and can’t enjoy. This will help your guests to arrive at the dinner table with a full plate in hand and none of the stress or potential embarrassment involved in having to ask what it’s in each dish. You may also want to consider adding labels such as (V), (VG), and (GF) so that everything is crystal clear. Check out these fun holiday themed labels from Etsy and get creative with your presentation.

Go in with a Positive Attitude

The holidays can get stressful, particularly for the host. However, dietary preferences and restrictions don’t need to be a damper on your day. You can still make all of your favorite, classic dishes while trying new things in order to make everyone feel welcome. If you’re planning to host, challenge yourself to try a new recipe like this gluten-free cauliflower stuffing, or this colorful butternut squash salad for your vegan friends. By branching out a bit, you may even find your new favorite holiday staples.

For more tips on how to get your home ready for the holidays, or to find an apartment community near you this season, contact us today.