Dietary Restrictions During The Holidays


Lindsey Henry

Having food restrictions during the holidays is often an overlooked occurrence.  According to, six in ten U.S. adults have a dietary restriction. These include dairy, meat, gluten, sodium, etc. For people without a dietary restriction, it can be easy to overlook how prevalent allergens are in our food. Thus, many guests may be left out during holiday feasts.

As Thanksgiving, a holiday mostly centered around food, is approaching, it is especially important to remember to ask your friends and family about their dietary restrictions. Substitutions for common Thanksgiving foods are simpler than expected. When it comes to the most popular Thanksgiving foods, turkey and ham, adding something like a salad bar would allow people with restrictions on meat and sodium an option for a main course. Offering baked potatoes instead of, or as well as, the usual mashed potatoes gives those with a sodium or dairy limitation the opportunity to have a side dish. The frequent Thanksgiving dessert, pumpkin pie, includes common allergens like dairy and gluten. Serving candied, or dark chocolate covered, fruits is a more inclusive option. Overall, having a diverse variety of foods allows every guest to enjoy the meal without worrying about health complications.

 Dietary restrictions affect more holidays than just Thanksgiving. Valentine’s Day and Halloween, among many others, are also impacted by food restrictions. Even a casual gathering between friends and family requires navigating around each person’s sensitivities. In all of these occasions, accommodating dietary restrictions allows every invitee to fully participate in the meal.