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The holidays are a time for celebrating together. But it can be quite challenging when one guest is on a low glycemic index diet, and another is lactose or glucose intolerant, for instance. We want to make things easier for you with this guide, which features (sometimes unknown) foods that everyone will love.

Low glycemic index diet

Swap the macaroni salad with quinoa salad, like this one, which combines oranges, strawberries, broccoli, kale, and feta cheese. It all comes together with a vinaigrette enhanced with a dash of maple syrup. We also invite you to try this beet and Nantes carrot salad, featuring aromas of turmeric, chili powder, and paprika; the colours in this dish are sure to add a festive touch to your table. Salads made with legumes, such as white beans and chickpeas, are great options for this type of diet.

Rather than the classic mashed-potato side, why not try eggplant? According to the American Diabetes Association, this veggie helps slow the digestion and absorption of carbs, particularly due to its fibre content.

Low glycemic index diet

Eggplant puree is so easy to make: simply cut your eggplant into cubes and stir in olive oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, crushed garlic, and a pinch of salt. Spread over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cook for 20 minutes or so (turning halfway). Let cool a few minutes and puree with a food processor or hand mixer.

If you really have your heart set on the classic ham, chicken, and egg sandwiches, try making them on a cauliflower crust—a new take on a timeless favourite.

Make the crust from grated cauliflower florets, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese, along with chickpea flower, egg, dried oregano, garlic powder, and peppers. Blend the ingredients together, and spread the resulting dough on a baking sheet, cutting it into squares and coating it with olive oil. Cook at 425°F (220°C) for 25 minutes. For a more festive presentation, before cooking, cut the dough with holiday-themed cookie cutters (think trees, stars, snowmen, etc.). Let your crust cool adding your sandwich fillings.

To end the festivities on a sweet note, use coconut sugar—a great substitute for brown sugar in cakes, cookies, and other pastries. It has a lower glycemic index than white sugar, and is far more ecological to cultivate than its counterparts. Looking for a New Year’s resolution? How about using coconut sugar more often moving forward?

Kamut flour has similar benefits when compared with enriched wheat flour. It also contains more protein and nutrients. It’s a perfect option for making bread, muffins, and other pastries and yummy snacks!

For a lactose-free meal

Top your creamy soups with Belsoy sour cream. You can also use this product as a substitute ingredient in your cream fudge… not even granny can tell the difference! Soy cream can also be used to make mouthwatering brownies.

Coconut milk is also a lactose-free diet staple. It can add smoothness to your creams and soups, and makes for a great substitute in chicken gravy, for example. For dessert, you can whip it up into a lactose-free Chantilly in seconds! Simply add icing sugar, vanilla extract, and lime zest. A divine topping for cakes, pies, and trifles!

For a lactose-free meal

For a gluten-free meal

Lucky for you, meat and veggies have no gluten, so the possibilities are endless. We therefore suggest starting off with one or more salads, or homemade hummus with crudités and crackers (grain or rice or corn flour) to whet your guests’ appetite.

If your recipe calls for a crumb coating, you also have lots of options to work with. You can make it with hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, peanuts, or other ground nuts, mixed with gluten-free bread crumbled in a food processor. After cooking, top with chives and a fresh herb, to taste.

Psst! We didn’t forget about your vegan friends! For those who don’t eat marshmallows because of their animal-based gelatin, they can indulge in Rice Krispies squares made with vegan marshmallows. Your holidays will be Snap, Crackle, and Poppin’ this year!

Cooking with dietary restrictions in mind doesn’t have to be … restrictive! For a ton of vegetarian holiday recipe ideas, read our full article on the subject.