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Christmas is a time when we socialise and bond over food with loved ones. Undoubtedly, this is a time most of us look forward to, however, the shine can be taken off such celebrations for those with specific dietary requirements unable to easily navigate Christmas menus and food offerings. If you are hosting a party and know your guests have specific dietary requirements, below I discuss some common specific dietary requirements and what can be used in replace!

Gluten free

If any of your guests have coeliac disease, they must avoid all sources of gluten entirely. Other guests may have gluten sensitivity and not feel well when gluten is consumed and choose to avoid it.

An easy way to cater to those who eat a gluten-free diet is to swap gluten-containing grains such as rye, wheat, barley, spelt and couscous for gluten-free grains:

  • Buckwheat
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Amaranth
  • Millet
  • Teff

Use the above grains when making salads, stuffings or baked goods.

Simple swaps from gluten containing to gluten free 

Wheat based crackers >> rice crackers or seed crackers

Gluten containing bread >>> gluten-free bread or chickpea/buckwheat flatbreads

Wheat based baked goods >>> baked goods using almond meal, brown rice flour or buckwheat flour

Soy sauce >>> tamari gluten free soy sauce and gluten fish sauce

Bottled salad dressings >>> home-made salad dressing following this simple formula: extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar and tamari gluten free soy sauce in a ratio of 3:2:1, definitely one of my favourites!

Seasoning and mixes: purchase individual packet spice and mix eg cumin, coriander, paprika, oregano for a nice spicy flavour!

Rum balls >>> fruit/nut bliss balls

Dairy free

Although dairy features heavily on any traditional Christmas menu, it is still possible to enjoy the creamy texture and taste of dairy…minus the dairy! Here are some ideas:

Swap cow’s milk for plant-based milk such as soy, rice, oat, almond milk

Swap cheese for vegan cheese or simply use diced avocado

Swap yoghurt for coconut yoghurt or whipped coconut cream

For a creamy dairy free dressings use tahini or nut butter as the base and add either orange juice, garlic, chilli, lemon juice, salt, pepper and water to thin out.

Nut free

Nuts generally offer crunch to dishes, plant-based protein and also decoration!

If nuts need to be avoided, they can be replaced with seeds such as sunflower, chia, pumpkin, linseeds or hemp

If seeds don’t suit either, use toasted coconut flakes, pomegranate seeds or puffed rice for crunch.


Apple & Strawberry Chilled Treats

A simple Christmas summer dessert which is gluten, dairy and nut free!

Apple and Strawberry Chilled Treats

 Serves: 4-6
Pre: 5 minutes
Cooking: 60 minutes

5 large apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 punnet strawberries, stem removed and cut in half
1 cup virgin coconut oil
Berries for decorations


 In a medium saucepan add all of the ingredients and cook till soft, approx. 5 minutes, then blend till soft. Pour the mixture into individual glass bowls.

Alternatively cook the apple in ½ cup coconut oil and in another saucepan the strawberries in ½ cup coconut oil. Pour mixture into bowls one at a time to create a layered effect.

Decorate with some berries of choice and place in the fridge for 45 mins – 1 hour until set.