With the holiday “eating” season upon us, whether it’s work, church, or a neighborhood gathering, you are likely to be invited to a few parties – which inevitably involve food. I have posted a few blogs recently about handling work events, happy hour and most recently holiday potlucks. I have received feedback from several people who have had luck making their gluten-free requests work; these suggestions could help you as well.

Embracing the Potluck

Stewart works in the foodservice industry and says he deals with “buffets, potlucks and chef’s meetings all the time”. He tells me he has three ways of dealing with potlucks, “In some cases I just don’t eat,” Stewart said, “…walk around the party with a drink…you’ll have something in your hand and you don’t have to talk about your diet.” Another way he handles it is by bringing something you know is gluten-free and “…carefully place it away from possible cross-contaminations.”

His third option, he says is his favorite. He says “…be very honest about your gluten intolerance/allergy and make your plate first. Some of the people I know well will segregate a plate of treats for me either before the party starts or even during preparation to make sure that all will be well.” That’s one of my favorite options too.

Going Gluten-Free at a Work Gathering

Three other readers explained how they successfully manage their diet during work gatherings. Arianna lives in Italy, she admits celiac disease is more widely known and “…feels at ease nearly everywhere.” She says if it’s a business meeting, “I eat only chips…and a fruit juice or Cola.” Arianna works as a reporter and is on the go when she’s on the job. “I bring some handy food…” which from my experience is necessary for any reporter, celiac or not, since they could be sent anywhere for a story during the day. She also has success speaking to people in the kitchen when she dines out.

Lynn is both gluten-free and lactose-intolerant and has the added challenge of managing a diet for her daughter with diabetes. She says no matter what the party “…we’re always checking every food item…” Lynn says she just eats “…meat, fruit and vegetables, but no dips or spreads, nothing baked.” Her daughter eats cheese and meat, “…and I carry the list of food/carbs on my smartphone so I can calculate carbs in any snacks for her at parties.” Liz added that if it is a business or lunch party, “I tell the organizers that I need a special meal and there is usually no problem.”

Michael said he checks to see what is provided and says “…most people are reasonably accommodating.” But he always acts on his backup plan, “I make sure to have had something in advance…”

In my most recent post on dealing with work lunches, events and happy hours, I had expressed how worried I was that people appear to not be asking for any accommodations. I feel like it is always worth asking, you may be pleasantly surprised. After reading these comments, I am in a much better place now! Happy holiday eating everyone!

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One Response to “New Suggestions for the Holiday Potluck or Work Gathering”

  1. I seem to be involved in lots of organizations that do potlucks. The first one after I was diagnosed was so stressful, I had to leave. I fled to the comfort and security of DQ! A Heath bar blizzard is still–6 years later–a last ditch strategy for me.

    I work for a very large company, and our group started–independent of me!–asking for recipes to be attached to every potluck dish. I go out of my way to thank those who do. It’s not a guard against cross-contamination, but it does give me a chance to try a few different things.

    I bring something I can eat in quantities to share, wild rice salad, for example, that includes starch, meat and fruit, so I don’t feel like I’m going hungry if that’s the only thing I eat. I place it far from the nasties on the table.

    People who just don’t participate or eat at these events are just hurting themselves…I find that the more people who know about my issues, the more likely it is that everyone at work will opt to go for lunch to somewhere I can eat, or to arrange for a breakfast meeting to include fruit as well as muffins.

    What a great blog! Thanks and keep writing!

    Liz

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