We all love holiday food, but we don’t all have the same diet our whole lives. Sometimes, may develop conditions that necessitate diet changes. That may make it seem like the holidays are going to be more difficult than usual, but don’t worry! However, there are a few things to consider before you despair.

Thanksgiving holiday feast with a turkey in the foreground and pumpkins in the background.d

Change Your Mindset

First, I believe I’ve said this before, but a holiday dinner is one that you eat on a given holiday. Which matters more: having all the traditional foods you usually eat, or having a dinner that everyone can eat?  Or, at the very least, have something that each person can eat? I know my family has had to adapt because of various diet restrictions and diet changes. Tackling these changes head on is a good way to handle this.

Evaluate the Situation

Next, ask yourself these questions as you are planning out your meal:

  • How many people have restrictions?
  • What kind of menu changes have to be made? Are they small changes or do whole dishes need to be removed?
  • How disruptive to the meal will removing certain dishes be?
  • Have you talked to the rest of the attendees of this holiday dinner about the changes that need to be made to the meal?

The answers to these questions will guide you, and honestly, the most important thing is to have open communication with everyone who will be there. I wrote last year about including everyone during the holiday season in terms of helping prepare the meal, but everyone may also be needed to help adapt the meals. It just depends on what the restriction is and how difficult it is to work around. You could ask your (or your loved one’s) doctor about certain dishes and the restriction in question.

Research Substitutions

If you’re making most of the meal, you may be surprised at what you can change to a meal to make it fit better within certain dietary restrictions. For one, I was surprised at how easy it was for me to make my baking completely plant-based when I had to a few years ago. Like I already said, it may be helpful to run certain substitutions by a doctor.

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