Cooking for special diets is a breeze with these easy and delicious holiday recipes! Whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or simply being together as a family, everyone at the table will enjoy all the flavours without cringing through gut distress, meltdowns, or flare-ups later.
It will be a holiday to remember for all the right reasons!
If your loved ones have asked you to be mindful of their special diets this year, don’t fret. I’ve compiled a list of easy recipes that taste as good as mom used to make.
I’m also sharing the briefest details about the benefits, to help you bond with your guests and maybe even find a reason why your own life might be better off with a few ingredient swaps.
Are Anti-inflammatory Diets Like GAPS Just A Fad?
Anti-inflammatory diets have become popular with many parents because they reduce tantrums and bad behaviour by reducing the food triggers that cause emotional overwhelm.
Many adults follow the GAPS diet because it reduces inflammation in the body which means less swelling, less pain, less brain fog, and better gut health. (And if you aren’t already a devout believer in gut health, all you really need to know is that the state of your gut is directly related to the state of your emotions, moods, and energy levels. Even if you don’t feel any gut distress in your belly.)
I discovered the GAPS diet when my 2 children were first diagnosed with PANDAS and became like demon-possessed hellions that were hard to be around. Their behaviour changed almost immediately after switching to the GAPS diet and now we have fewer meltdowns at home, better social skills everywhere they go, and they can actually sit and focus in school.
How Difficult is it to Follow the GAPS Diet?
At first, it may seem a bit daunting, but the rules for the anti-inflammatory diets are actually quite simple. There is a list of ingredients to avoid (because they cause pain, emotional upheaval, and mood swings). And there’s a list of foods to enjoy in abundance (because they decrease pain, increase happy chemicals, and balance the gut).
If it’s not on one of those 2 lists, the rule is to enjoy it in moderation.
It’s not much different than Keto or Whole 30 in that it uses little or no carbs and refined sugar, but I feel like GAPS has a lot more variety so you don’t feel quite so restricted.
Now if you’re wondering how you can produce delicious holiday meals without carbs or refined sugar, I’ve got your back!
I’ve included recipes for carb-free stuffing that won’t leave you hungry and the lack of carbs means fewer tantrums from the kids and less hating your scale for the next week!
As for sugar, honey, stevia, and whole dates or raisins are welcome alternatives for refined sugar, so you’re really not missing out at all.
The List Of Approved and Banned Foods
For a more comprehensive list of which foods are approved on the GAPS diet, I recommend this page: http://www.gapsdiet.com/gaps-full-diet.html.
For example, the list of approved ingredients includes plenty of traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas foods like:
Apples, pears, cherries, rhubarb, dates
Carrots, celery, broccoli, beets, mushrooms, squash, string beans, turnips,
Cheddar, brie, blue, parmesan, gouda
Turkey, ham, lamb, beef, bacon, duck, chicken, wild game
And of course, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg for pumpkin spice flavours! (Just omit the cloves.)
GAPS-friendly, Gluten-Free, and Dairy-Free Recipes That Don’t Skimp On The Meat
Although this recipe is for a chicken and stuffing casserole, it will work just as well with turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. It’s delicious either way.
This fantastic recipe for stuffed mushrooms includes pecans which are on the GAPS approved list but it’s still a good idea to check with people to make sure they don’t have any nut allergies. If they do, you can just skip the pecans without changing the flavour.
You can include the parmesan cheese (GAPS-safe) in this stuffing recipe or take it out to make it dairy-free (but not vegan).
Side Dish Recipes For Thanksgiving, Christmas, Or Any Winter Gathering
If anyone dares to complain about this year’s menu, shove one of these bacon-wrapped asparagus treats into their mouth and they’ll stop complaining!
This sugar-free cranberry sauce uses sugar alternatives so just check with your guests how strict they want to be about sugar and calories (for those who are more worried about inches than emotions).
Another bacon recipe for the naysayers.
No winter meal is complete without the stuffing! Here’s a low-carb version that will fit most special diets (or go for the sausage and herb one above if you want something heartier).
Sugar-Free, And Gluten-Free Desserts That Are Safe For GAPS And Anti-inflammatory Diets
It’s not Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie! Just remember, no store-bought pumpkin spice because it usually has cloves. This recipe skips the cloves so you don’t even have to think about how to mix up your own spices.
This recipe offers vegan and gluten-free options for a traditional trifle like grandma used to make.
This cannoli recipe isn’t sugar-free but you do have a few options to use as sugar alternatives. For holiday meals, people often choose to relax their normal diets so check with your guests and see if they’re happy for you to use an alternative such as organic coconut sugar or pure stevia.
GAPS-Friendly Drinks For Adults And Kids
Who doesn’t love eggnog? It’s even better without the dairy and refined sugar (but I’ll let you decide whether it needs alcohol or not!)
This holiday cocktail can be made with or without liquor so that the kids can enjoy it as well.
For something a bit different, this beets and cranberry juice is amazing!
The Best Ingredients For Creating Fond Memories Instead Of Mega-Meltdowns
I’m 100% sure you’re going to love making these holiday meal recipes for your family and friends when you see the smiles at the dinner table. Your guests are certainly going to love that you took the time to consider their needs.
Best of all, the kids will drift off to sleep without the ear-splitting screams so the parents can finally relax and enjoy a drink with the adults instead of rushing out the door with apologies and embarrassment.
Perhaps sitting down with a GAPS-friendly cocktail or two instead.