Celiac Disease: How to Enjoy Christmas Dinner Without Gluten

There are many simple ways people can enjoy Christmas dinner (Image: Getty)

It’s hard to be a celiac — for obvious reasons.

Meals that no one thinks much, other than cooked, can be difficult for people with celiac disease; a condition in which the immune system attacks tissues when you eat gluten.

The traditional Christmas roast turkey is one of those dishes.

But there are easy ways to make this hearty meal acceptable to people living with the condition so everyone can participate and enjoy the food.

Dr. Naomi Newman-Beinart, a nutritionist and psychologist, tells us that party eating has been difficult for ‘decades’ for people on gluten-free diets.

She told “The feeling of dread when you’re about to go out to eat or go to a friend’s house for dinner, certainly equals the course.

‘But in about the last 10 years or so, people have noticed celiac disease, and this has led to a huge influx of celiac-friendly food products.

‘Aphrodisiacs everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief because it’s finally easy to avoid gluten and really enjoy eating out.’

What should you cook for Christmas?

Naomi warns: ‘When it comes to Christmas dinner, sick people know that many common Christmas foods will contain gluten, and these are not the obvious ones.

‘For example, whole turkey is completely gluten-free. But stuffing and gravy will often contain gluten. So it’s really important to weigh each dish before you prepare Christmas dinner for a friend with celiac disease. ‘

You need to go through every step of the cooking process, instead of seeing the finished turkey as one thing.

Each preparation and flavoring step is unique and an opportunity to eliminate gluten.


‘Gluten-free appetizers are easy to eat – crisps and dips like guacamole, salsa and sour cream are always winners, says Naomi.

‘Check the crisps for gluten and sometimes the flavoring will contain gluten. Popcorn is usually a safe bet and very tasty.

‘If you’re a little more adventurous, cheese-stuffed mushrooms or gluten-free cocktail sausages are good options.’

Kinds of meat

If you’re shopping for pre-made bacon products, this is another place to look and spot any gluten additions.

Naomi says: ‘If you’re using ham or bacon, just make sure you check the ingredients as some flavorings or additives may contain gluten.

Check yeast for gluten (Image: Getty Images)

‘If you’re making a traditional turkey Christmas dinner, think gluten-free that everyone can enjoy, or cook it separately.

‘You can also buy or make gluten-free gravy by replacing the flour with gluten-free flour. It will taste the same but match everyone at your table. ‘


All vegetables are good for celiacs because they’re naturally gluten-free, but again, just be careful to check if the sauce is gluten-free.

“Beets, carrots and potatoes baked with olive oil and spices are ideal dishes and taste great,” notes Naomi.

‘All side salads will also be naturally gluten-free and balsamic and olive oil can provide some flavor.’


In keeping with tradition, there are gluten-free meat pies and Christmas puddings available for purchase at supermarkets.

Alternatively, Naomi suggests making gluten-free cheesecake or chocolate mousse, with a gluten-free recipe from Jamie Oliver being her favorite.

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Tom Vazquez

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