Gluten Free Holiday–Dec ’09

GF Baking for the holidays
Upcoming classes
Tips for a healthy holiday season

The holiday season is usually filled with fabulous food and opportunities to eat at every turn. With a little time and planning, you can enjoy all sorts of great food, even with food restrictions.

We’re lucky that there are more and more recipes out there that taste just like the real thing, AND even simple and easy mixes, like Betty Crocker. For holiday classics,  it’s easier to make some treats that happen to be gluten free, rather than gluten free adaptations of “normal” foods. Foods that are naturally gluten free avoid the expense of specialty flours. Also, it can take a few tries to find a GF flour mix that you and your family likes. I know I’ve had my share of “learning experiences” along the way. My chief guinea pig, (AKA my husband,) used to call them my incredible inedibles. It also avoids the complaints of friends or family who aren’t willing to try GF foods just because they’ve decided they won’t like it. There are a lot of treats which just happen to be GF, or mostly GF. You can find recipes in normal cookbooks, or maybe you have family recipes and didn’t realize they were safe! Here’s a  list 50 + naturally gluten free treats from which I put together with the help of many folks at my classes. I’ve marked the desserts that are dairy free (DF), egg free (EF) and soy free (SF), because many people are dealing with several issues. I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the number of things you can still have! Remember, these foods are only GF if you use GF ingredients.

Also, here are recipes from from around the web.

Upcoming classes:

Living and Loving a Gluten free Diet

Saturday, Jan 16th, 11-12:30

It’s great for people who know the basics but still have questions on
label reading, cross contamination, resources, etc. Or maybe there are
a few things you’ve heard and aren’t sure about. It’s also a way of
educating a significant other or family member so they can help
support you better in your GF journey!

* Celiac disease, gluten sensitivity and the importance of testing
* All you ever wanted to know about label reading
* Foods to avoid, cross contamination and hidden gluten
* Sorting out the facts from common myths
* Where to get support-local and online groups, websites, books

The class cost is $20 per person, or bring a friend for 2 people for $35. To
register, see

The session will be run by Cheryl Harris, Nutritionist and Registered Dietitian.

Holiday tips:

The holiday season can be a time of overindulgence, expanding waistlines and a lot of temptation, especially for people with food restrictions. Here are some ways to enjoy the spirit of the season and favorite holiday foods, while staying healthy and safe, too.

Get Prepared: It’s not fun to sit in a room full of people eating delicious (off limits) foods while you sit quietly drinking your water and nibbling a carrot stick.  Have a box of  Clementines or or bring a box of your favorite GF cookies to work, or better yet, bring an apple crisp along with you to a party.   Make sure your children have treats stashed at school so they don’t feel left out, either.

Balance: if you are going to a holiday party in the evening, make an extra effort to eat well on other days. Add in more vegetables, fruits, beans, gluten free whole grains, etc. and move more, too! A piece of chocolate cake one day or one big holiday meal won’t make or break a diet, but treats every day will add up.

Move the goodies out of sight: One of the biggest challenges of the season is a see-food diet, otherwise known as “if I see it, I eat it”. Studies show that when people keep food out of sight, they eat smaller amounts. Put the candy dish in a cupboard and move the cookies where you won’t have constant temptation. Instead, put fruits on the counter or in your refrigerator where they are easy to grab. Seasonal fruits in the winter months include Clementines, oranges, pineapples, grapefruits, grapes, pomegranates, persimmons, mangos, and more.

Fill your table with fruit and veggie dishes: Have your holiday meals feature seasonal vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, collards or other greens. Have soups, roasted veggies, sautéed green beans, and much more. Make roasted chestnuts as a snack. Have a fruit inspired dessert, like baked apples, poached pears, sautéed bananas, etc.

Soups: as long as they’re not cream based, most soups are a healthy snack or part of a filling meal. Chicken and turkey soup with brown or wild rice, butternut squash soup, lentil soups and other beans soups are a great way to stay warm and enjoy seasonal flavors.

Get moving! Exercise is a great way to improve mood, reduce stress levels, and burn calories, too. Head out at lunchtime for a short walk, start a new family tradition and do something active at family events, dance at party functions, or make a habit of hitting the gym. You don’t have to wait until January for healthy resolutions.

Harris Whole Health offers individual sessions, family sessions and classes to help people eat healthier and feel better! Whether you are dealing with Celiac Disease, food allergies, picky eaters, chronic illness, or if you just want to improve your diet, Cheryl can help you achieve your goals. For an appointment with Cheryl Harris, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist, click here or call 571-271-8742.