1) Never assume. Just because your host knows you're on a special diet doesn't mean they understand the nuances of your lifestyle. Ask to see packages of foods before you eat them.
2) Bring a protein-based dish to your next gathering. That way, you know there will be something safe to eat, and you won't be hungry. Click here for a Holiday Quinoa Salad.
3) Make sure you have your favorite dishes and desserts available in a Gluten Free version. That way, you won't feel deprived and eat gluten-full foods that will make you sick.
4) Have a few tricks up your sleeve. Pre-made foods that you can purchase and not cook are not only convenient, but will allow you to have more time to spend with your guests. The Whole Foods Market Gluten Free Bakehouse has an extensive line of gluten free baked goods. Some tasty gluten free crackers can be served with dips, cheese, and/or a deli tray.
5) You don't have to bake everything from scratch. There are many gluten free baking mixes. To see a list of my favorite pie crusts and pie crust mixes, purchase my Thanksgiving ECookbook.
6) If you're having friends and family at your home this year, ask them to bring gluten free items such as a bottle of wine, fruit salad, or a centerpiece. That way, you are still in control of what's being served.
7) When dining out this holiday season, call ahead mid-week and speak with the chef about your dining options at the restaurant. This gives you a great peace of mind knowing that you do not have to worry about your food, and you won't feel put on the spot the day of the event.
8) If you are traveling this holiday season, do your research ahead of time. Go online and look for restaurants that cater to the gluten free community. Make sure to take snacks with you in case you are stuck while traveling. Call your hotel or cruise line and ask to speak to the chef about your culinary needs.
9) Join a support group. There you can learn some new recipes, try samples, and meet others living the same lifestyle as you. Click here for a list of a support groups around the country.
10) Relax and enjoy being with family and friends. Count your blessings and appreciate all we have to be thankful for.