While many of us look forward to the traditional Thanksgiving meal, those with special diet needs may be concerned about the foods they can and cannot eat. As you plan for Thanksgiving, ask your guests about food allergies or intolerances so you can prepare a meal everyone can enjoy.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when preparing an allergy-friendly Thanksgiving meal:

  • Use clean or separate utensils and kitchen tools to prepare and serve allergy-friendly dishes.
  • Cook allergy-friendly foods first in order to ensure the surfaces are clean and prevent cross- contact. (Cross-contact is when one food comes in contact with another food that has the allergenic component.)
  • Keep all foods covered and away from other foods that may splatter, and make sure each dish has its own serving utensil.
  • Allergens can’t be removed from a dish. For example, removing croutons from a salad doesn’t make it gluten free.
  • Label foods so you know what they are and which ingredients they contain.
  • Don’t forget to wash your hands with soap and water if you have handled an allergen.
  • Scrub down all surfaces and sanitize all tools after you are done preparing the food.

Source: Adapted from Enjoy Life

If your guests require gluten free or dairy free options, consider these allergy-friendly healthy food substitutions and tips below:

Gluten Free

(Free from gluten containing foods such as wheat, kamut, spelt, barley, rye, oats and triticale)

  • Swap white or whole wheat bread for gluten free whole grain bread, brown rice or quinoa for a stuffing while adding fiber.
  • Use gluten free whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, amaranth, or millet for a pilaf. Try the below Curry Butternut Squash and Quinoa Pilaf.
  • Cook pilaf in a gluten free chicken or vegetable broth for more flavor. Try the True Goodness® by Meijer® Organic Gluten Free low sodium chicken broth.
  • Make baked desserts with higher fiber gluten free flours like brown rice, almond or chickpea flour.
  • Use brown rice flour to make the turkey gravy or look for a gluten free turkey gravy mix.

Nut Free

(Free from all nuts)

  • Sunflower seeds, pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds), sesame seeds or roasted chickpeas can be used in place of nuts to add crunch and good source of plant-based protein. Toast seeds before adding to your side dish to enhance flavor. Try the below Sweet Potato Casserole.

Dairy Free

(Free from casein and whey milk proteins)

  • Use milk alternatives such as plant-based milks like soy or almond milk for desserts.
  • Sprinkle dairy free cheese substitutes on veggies or casseroles.
  • Stir in non-dairy yogurts into mashed potatoes, dips and desserts.
  • Use silken tofu in place of mayonnaise and sour cream in creamy dishes, such as soups and dips.
  • Use soft tofu to replace egg or dairy in desserts and baked goods.
  • Use medium firm tofu for dishes that require braising or boiling like soups, dressings, dips or desserts. Try the below Green Bean Tofu Casserole.

The holiday turkey may be the main event this Thanksgiving, but these sides keep your guests with special diet needs in mind. The gluten free recipe options will delight all of your guests, especially those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. The vegan recipe options are perfect for vegetarians and for those who have milk allergies or lactose intolerance.


Sage Rubbed Roasted Turkey
Serves 14

  • 2 teaspoons True Goodness® by Meijer® Organic garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons rubbed sage
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon True Goodness® by Meijer® Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 (14 pound) True Goodness® by Meijer® Whole Turkey, no antibiotics, no added growth hormones, fresh or frozen, thawed
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Place roasting rack in shallow roasting pan. Mix garlic, sage, pepper and salt in small bowl.
  3. Place turkey, breast side-up, in prepared pan. Brush turkey with oil. Sprinkle seasoning mixture evenly over turkey. Cover loosely with heavy duty foil.
  4. Roast for 2 hours. Remove foil. Roast 1 hour longer or until internal temperature in the thigh reaches 165°F, basting occasionally with pan juices. Remove turkey from oven. Let stand 20 minutes.
  5. Transfer to a carving board and slice.

Nutrition Information (per 4 ounce serving): 160 calories, 6g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 398mg sodium, 80mg cholesterol, 1g carbohydrate, 24g protein


Creamy Garlic Mashed Cauliflower (gluten free, vegan)
Serves 6

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance® Natural Buttery Spread
  • 3 tablespoons Go Veggie! Monterey Jack and Cheddar style shreds
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Add cauliflower to a pot of boiling water. Cook for 10 minutes or until tender. Remove florets from water. In a food processor blend cooked cauliflower, spread, veggie shreds, garlic, salt and pepper until smooth.

Nutrition Information (per ½ cup serving): 62 calories, 3g fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 180mg sodium, 6g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 2g protein


Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Walnuts & Cranberries (gluten free)
Serves 6

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1/2 cup True Goodness® by Meijer® Organic Walnuts, chopped (substitute with sunflower seeds for nut free recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon True Goodness® by Meijer® Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup True Goodness® by Meijer® Organic Sweetened Dried Cranberries
  • ½ cup True Goodness® by Meijer® Organic Crumbled Feta Cheese (omit for vegan and dairy free recipes)
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Toss Brussels sprouts and walnuts with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Roast for 30 minutes. Stir halfway through cooking. Roast Brussels sprouts until tender. Remove from oven. In a bowl, toss Brussels sprouts with balsamic vinegar. Mix in dried cranberries. Top with feta cheese.

Nutrition Information (per ½ cup serving): 203 calories, 10g fat, 2g saturated fat, 6mg cholesterol, 228mg sodium, 24g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 5g protein


Curry Butternut Squash & Quinoa Pilaf (gluten free, vegan)
Serves 8

  • 4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon True Goodness® by Meijer® Organic Curry Powder
  • ¼ teaspoon True Goodness® by Meijer® Organic Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons True Goodness® by Meijer® Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
  • 2 cups cooked True Goodness® by Meijer® Organic Quinoa
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine butternut squash, garlic, curry powder, cinnamon, and salt. Drizzle with oil. Toss squash with oil and spices until evenly coated. Spray a foil lined baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange squash in a single layer on baking sheet. Roast 30 minutes, stirring once. Add pecans the last 4 to 5 minutes of roasting.
  3. In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa, roasted squash and pecans.

Nutrition Information (per ½ cup serving): 229 calories, 6g fat, 0mg cholesterol, 149mg sodium, 37g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 7g protein


Sweet Potato Casserole (nut free, dairy free, gluten free)
Serves 6

  • 2 ½ pounds sweet potatoes (about 4)
  • 2 True Goodness® by Meijer® Organic Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons Earth Balance® Natural Buttery Spread
  • 2 tablespoons True Goodness® by Meijer® Organic Brown Sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon True Goodness® by Meijer® Organic Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon True Goodness® by Meijer® Organic Ground Ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  1. Place sweet potatoes in a microwave safe dish. Pierce each potato a few times with a fork. Microwave on high for 20 minutes or until fork tender. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Scoop inside of potato out into a mixing bowl. Mash potatoes until smooth. Add eggs, spread, sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Whisk mixture until smooth.
  3. Spray an 8×8-inch casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Pour sweet potato mixture into the casserole dish and spread into an even layer. Top with pumpkin seeds. Microwave for about 10 minutes or until heated through.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 193 calories, 10g fat, 3g saturated fat, 78mg cholesterol, 253mg sodium, 22g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 5g protein


Creamy Green Bean Tofu Casserole (dairy free, vegan, nut free)
Serves 10

  • 1 ½ pounds fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound True Goodness® by Meijer® Organic Mini Bella Mushrooms, chopped
  • ½ medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 (14 ounce) package firm tofu, drained and pressed
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup fried onions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add green beans and cook for approximately 7 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Add olive oil to a large pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onions, salt and pepper and cook until mushrooms and onions are golden. Add garlic and cayenne pepper and cook an additional 3 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, puree tofu in food processor or blender.
  4. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  5. Sprinkle flour over the mushrooms, stirring constantly. Add vegetable broth and simmer until mixture has thickened. Add tofu and green beans. Mix well and transfer to a baking dish. Top with fried onions and bake for 15 minutes.

Source: Adapted from

Nutrition Information (per serving): 130 calories, 6g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 258mg sodium, 14g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 7g protein

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