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Thanksgiving in an Age of Dietary Complexity

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Thanksgiving is traditionally a holiday for togetherness and family, but as individual dietary needs become more complicated and diverse, pleasing everyone can be a tall order. With keto, diabetic, vegan, nut-free, and a multitude of other dietary restrictions and even allergies out there, it may feel like the holiday that once brought everyone together over great food is now a divisive occasion for splitting hairs over individual ingredients. But don’t just skip inviting that family member with the particular diet. It’s not as hard as you might think to accommodate everyone’s dietary needs!

Here are our solutions for hosting Thanksgiving in 2018:

1. Ask first!

The first step is to make yourself aware and informed of all the needs and restrictions that will be present at your table on Thanksgiving Day. As the host, ask everyone you invite if they have any allergies or dietary restrictions. That way, you won’t be surprised when they arrive and have to scramble for something to serve them. No one will mind being asked, and you don’t want your guests to leave hungry, so asking for specific recipe recommendations can’t hurt either.

2. Cook things that can be adjusted easily

Rather than trying to cook a special dish for each guest, consider cooking items that can be made without certain toppings, spices, or sauces, and those components of each dish left on the side. If you typically cook sweet potatoes with marshmallows, nuts, and butter on top, all those items can be left off the potatoes, but still served in separate dishes so guests can customize. That way, those with the dietary restriction can still partake of the main dish if the offending elements are on the side—but everyone else can still enjoy it!

3. Don’t rule out a potluck

If your whole family or friend group all has their own different list of dietary restrictions and preferences, cooking for all those needs can feel like an impossibility. In this situation, a potluck can help to manage the dietary division. Everyone can bring something that they are able to eat, and chances are there will be some amount of overlap, so everyone can enjoy several different items that they might not have otherwise. This approach saves you from cooking up a storm and can even make the Thanksgiving table a more varied and interesting smorgasbord of food options.

4. Be respectful to people with dietary restrictions

Perhaps the most important part of sharing a holiday with those who have dietary restrictions is remembering to treat their needs with respect. Whether their diet has changed in a weight loss effort, for religious reasons, or for other health needs, is really none of your business. It will only make your guest uncomfortable to have to explain 30 times why they can’t have the dinner rolls—no matter how delicious a family recipe they may be. The best thing you can do for your guest with special dietary needs is to not make a big deal out of it and move on.

Hungry for gluten-free, vegan, or keto dishes for your guests? There’s no end of options out there!

With Thanksgiving indicating the end of the year, now is also a good time to tap into your home’s equity so you can finish year-end projects or just have a little extra cash for the holidays. From home equity loans to home improvement loans, Park Place Finance is here to help.

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