Whether it's a food allergy, a medical condition or simply a personal preference, it can be a challenge to navigate dietary restrictions and holidays meals for guests and hosts alike. Everyone wants to enjoy the holiday festivities, and you can with a little consideration and pre-planning on both sides.
Here are few places that you can start.
1. Plan ahead.
If you or your loved one has a dietary restriction, speak up early in the holiday planning process so your host has time to prepare. If you are the host, read the labels and don't be afraid to ask questions if you aren't sure about a particular dish or ingredient. No one knows what works better than the person living with these restrictions every day.
2. Provide options.
Often it's just one or two ingredients like bacon or cheese that can rule out of a dish. Where possible, offer these as extra additions on the side so those with dietary restrictions can still enjoy your holiday dish. It is also helpful to avoid cross-contamination of foods by using separate utensils and pans for items that are in question like nuts or meat. If your guest has physical trouble with eating or swallowing, plan some easy-to-enjoy dishes like simple soups to accommodate their needs.
3. Practice moderation.
If it's calories or salt that are your nemeses, don't let the holidays throw you off your diet. Enjoy a reasonable serving of your favorite items without overdoing it. This is especially true for those who already have a heart condition or are at risk for one. Studies have shown that overeating can increase the risk of a heart attack in the hours following the meal.
4. Bring a healthy alternative.
Bringing along a safe and healthy option is the easiest way to ensure your meal will have at least one dish that conforms with your dietary restrictions. Just be sure to bring enough to share, so it doesn't feel like you're separating yourself from the group.
A little pre-planning and communication goes a long way toward easing the challenge of dietary restrictions at the holidays.
If your terminally-ill loved one needs additional support this holiday season, we can help. Please call us at 888-564-3405 to set up a consultation. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to meet with your family.
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