Low-to-No Wheat Consumption at Thanksgiving

How to Reduce Hidden Wheat and Refined Floursthis Thanksgiving

For many of us, Thanksgiving challenges us with the potential to eat more food in one meal than we usually would in a typical day—this by now we all know, and either have adapted to accordingly, or just simply succumb to having a bloated experience.  One of the most, if not in fact the most filling aspect of these meals comes in the form of wheat and/or flours included in the meal.  Here are some hidden wheat and refined flour areas of the Thanksgiving Experience to keep an eye out for:


Although I do what I can to make Thanksgiving dinners as vegetarian-heavy as possible, some family members are going to be doing turkey, and chances are very good you and your family will be too.  So then, pass the gravy?  Not so fast.  Traditionally, gravies are thickened with refined flour, which are heavy, caloric, and completely unfriendly to those going aiming to go gluten-free.  So here’s what you can do:  avoid the gravy altogether; water it down significantly with some hot water that’s around for tea; or just take your turkey straight- you can always add a little bit of hot water for added moisture, and/or spoon some mayo and/or mustard onto your plate.


photo: rfduck, Flicrk


 Savory casseroles (as opposed to sweet ones such as that crazy marshmallow-yam dish) may either be pasta-based, or, occasionally, will have added bread crumbs (even many of the vegetarian dishes I’ve been combing thru online this year have bread crumbs included).  You can do one of a few things:  skip it, especially if there are numerous other options, which there probably will be; do your best to eat around the bready parts, which may be too challenging; or, if it’s a really good dish, just go ahead and indulge, as long as you’re not gluten-sensitive.


Croutons; avoid these…it’s the last thing you need at a big meal.

 Meatballs, or any other food ‘Balls’

God forbid you should indulge in meatballs, but if you do, know that they too are often filled with breadcrumbs; vegetarian-friendly balls also tend to include breadcrumbs, or perhaps seitan, which is a gluten-based meat substitute.

Pies, both savory and sweet


photo: jessicafm, Flickr

I guess savory pies are pretty rare at thanksgiving, but sweet pies – whether apple, pumpkin, pecan or something more exotic – are completely ubiquitous.  Here’s where you can really gain the system:  wherever pies are crust-dense, whether the browned top or the shell bottom, you can save a lot of calories, and stomach bloating (sorry- there just isn’t any better way to get the message across), by avoiding it.  Eating the fruity or nutty main ingredient along w/some filling and perhaps some ice cream or whipped topping should be plenty to top off your great meal.  No need to add the crust, as tasty as it may be- if you can summon the will power to lay off it, you’ll ultimately be thankful for reducing your wheat and refined flour Thanksgiving intake.

Bread and/or rolls

OK- this one isn’t hidden in the slightest, but it still doesn’t make any sense to me:  isn’t their enough food already?  Skip the rolls unless your eating under unusual circumstances in which your meal is limited to really small portions of each dish.

When all is said and done, I’m sure you’ll eat plenty – even without the Thanksgiving wheat and flour – hopefully just the right amount…happy thanksgiving!

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