Gluten and Dairy-Free Holiday Survival Guide

So your Ebenezer Scrooge-naturopath said no gluten or dairy this holiday season. Now you are wondering, "What will I eat at the office holiday party or how will I survive dinner at my in-laws?" Relax, things are not as difficult as they seem and you won't be deprived. Rather than focusing on want you can't eat, prepare to discover all the amazing yummy things that you get to enjoy this holiday season.

Party noshing
So crackers and cheese are a no-go, but there are many great snacks you can enjoy at the office holiday party. For those who like to crunch, potato chips, popcorn, nuts, tortilla chips with guacamole and salsa are all fair game. Those who lean toward the lighter side of things can dive into crudités and hummus. The more sophisticated types can delight in smoked salmon, shrimp cocktail, and sushi without the soy sauce. And for those keeping it old school: deviled eggs.

Sensible substitutions
Remember your family and friends want you to be healthy so don't be afraid to ask for a few special requests. If you love mash potatoes, you can prepare them using unsweetened dairy-free milk like hemp or almond and vegan margarine, olive oil or coconut oil. Gluten-free latkes are also a snap. Just swap wheat flour with chickpea, brown rice or gluten-free blend flours. For dishes requiring breadcrumbs, crumble gluten-free bread or rice crackers or for a more nutritional boost addground flaxseeds, almond meal or gluten-free oats. At the table, bring some gluten-free rolls or bread, but make sure that you place them in a separate basket to prevent cross contamination.

Joyful Spirits
If libations are your raison d'être this holiday season, you can rejoice, for with the exception of beer, most spirits are gluten and dairy-free. So sip on mulled wine, sake, cranberry cosmos, hard cider, and champagne. Drink responsibly as too much can impair your ability to make proper eating choices. There are also plenty of non-alcoholic options, such as, lovely hot apple cider, sodas and seltzers, fruit juice, and dairy-free egg nog sans nog.

Sweet treats
Passing on Aunt Mary's Christmas cookies doesn't have to make you sad because there are many goodies that are just as sweet. Indulge in dark chocolate, meringue cookies, sorbets and coconut milk ice cream. Rice crispy treats can be cut into holiday shapes and decorated. There are also many store-bought gluten and dairy-free cookies and cakes. If you want that fresh bakery experience, I recommend in the East Village. For my Jersey folks, has amazing gluten-free cookies, which completely fooled my dad. You can also start a new holiday tradition with my .