6 Sneaky Sources of Gluten During the Holiday (And How to Replace Them for Gluten-Free Relatives)
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6 Sneaky Sources of Gluten During the Holiday (And How to Replace Them for Gluten-Free Relatives)

Planning a holiday meal that meets your family's dietary needs can be trickier than you might expect, especially when it comes to providing plenty of options for gluten-free relatives. Foods that contain gluten are not always easy to spot, and it is probably present in more traditional holiday menu items than you might expect. Here are six sneaky sources of gluten that may have a regular place on your holiday table, as well as simple adjustments that can provide healthier alternatives for your gluten-free family members!

Seasoned Turkey

Processed turkey can contain a higher level of gluten than one might expect, especially if it is heavily seasoned or marinated. This also goes for Tofurky and other plant-based imitation turkey products, which are frequently marketed as healthier alternatives to turkey and do not necessarily live up to this claim. Starting with a plain, unprocessed turkey is generally a better option, and you can make your own seasoning using a gluten-free recipe if you want something a bit more flavorful.


Topping your turkey with a standard can of gravy may also not be a great option for gluten-free family members. Store-bought gravy is often high in fat and wheat-based flour, both of which contribute a surprising amount of gluten. Making your own gravy gives you the option to replace these ingredients with coconut flour and stock, which results in gluten-free gravy.


Soup is often seen as a relatively healthy side dish, but many processed soups contain broth, cream, or bouillon that is packed with gluten. Soup that contains certified gluten-free broth is available as a simple alternative, and you can also make your own soup using the homemade gluten-free broth for an even tastier alternative.

Mashed Potatoes

Including plenty of vegetables in your holiday menu is always a good idea, but mashed potatoes can be more problematic than you might expect if they contain flour. Fortunately, this is a completely optional ingredient that can easily be left out of homemade mashed potatoes. Flour can be used to thicken your potatoes, but they will taste just as good without it.

Flavored Teas

Sampling holiday-flavored everything can make the season even tastier, but many holiday flavorings can add gluten to basics that would otherwise be gluten-free. Most types of tea do not contain gluten on their own, but it is always a good idea to check the label before serving holiday teas to a gluten-free family member.

Some Alcoholic Beverages

Enjoying a glass of wine with your holiday dinner is usually not a problem as long as it does not contain extra flavorings or coloring that are made with gluten. However, many other alcoholic beverages can be surprisingly high in gluten, such as beer, whiskey, bourbon, scotch, and some wine coolers.

At Senior Helpers of Tampa, we know that planning a healthier meal is just one of many ways your holiday season may need to be adjusted as your family members' needs change. We are here to help seniors and their families in the Tampa, Hillsborough, Lutz, and Odessa areas manage a wide range of seasonal and ongoing needs to create a healthy and memorable holiday season. Contact us today to learn more about the services we offer or to get started!