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Have a guest on a special diet? Let us help!

Many of us wait all year for Grandma’s secret-ingredient mashed potatoes or Mom’s pumpkin pie. What happens when you or a guest is following a specific diet? Here are a few ways to adapt your meals.

Plant-Based Meals

A guest following a typical plant-based diet avoids animal products like turkey, ham, beef, butter, milk, and cheese. The good news is that most veggie, fruit, or grain dishes will be something your guest can eat.

Keep the butter or cheese on the side so it’s optional. Add a bean or legume dish with nuts or seeds, since this is a great way to pump up the protein content of a plant-based meal.

Dairy-Free Meals

For those who are lactose intolerant or who just avoid dairy in general, the holidays may be a time for extra tummy troubles, as many dishes include ample amounts of butter, cheese, and other dairy products.

To help your guests navigate your holiday spread, call out items made with dairy products. When baking, use a dairy-free milk substitute like almond or coconut milk. If possible, keep cheese and butter on the side. Pick up some lactose-free cheese, and use olive oil instead of butter.

Paleo-Friendly Meals

Paleo-friendly meal options are not as far from traditional dishes as you may think. This diet focuses on meats, veggies, fruits, eggs, nuts, and seeds. Expect guests following a Paleo diet to eat the main protein course as well as fruit and veggie side dishes. They may pass up any grain- or dairy-based dishes.

Consider doubling recipes for any protein, fruit, or veggie dish, as your guest may be inclined to take a second helping. Paleo followers avoid refined sugars and artificial sweeteners and use maple syrup or honey as sweeteners instead. These natural sweeteners are great options for baked goods too!

Gluten-free Meals

Guests on gluten-free diets avoid foods that contain wheat, rye, or barley. Fortunately, many traditional holiday foods are naturally gluten-free. Fruits and vegetables such as regular and sweet potatoes, corn, cranberries, and green beans fit into most gluten-free diets.

Gluten is often a main ingredient in bread products, but don’t worry. Fresh Thyme Farmers Market stores each have a whole case of gluten-free bread options.

Finally, think about stocking at least one gluten-free adult beverage, like a cider or wine.