How to Host an On-Budget Party for Gluten-Free Guests

June 10, 2020 by  
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Nobody wants their friends to miss out on awesome party food just because those friends are gluten intolerant, but when you look at ingredient lists, gluten hides in places you might never expect—and gluten-free flours are expensive. But any host/hostess can, with a little ingenuity and work, create a celiac-disease-friendly party snack menu that everyone will enjoy AND manage to stay on budget!

Be Good to ALL Guests

Not everyone has the stomach for kale chips. Not even all those healthy eaters with dietary restrictions have the stomach for such things and, even if they do, nobody is going to have fun at your party if the food all paleo nibbles when your friends’ palates are accustomed to hot chips and queso.

Try to keep the party snack items fairly normal and in line with what you would normally serve if celiac disease weren’t a concern—dips, cheese balls, canapes, etc. Just make sure that half or more of the options available to your guests are gluten-free as well as delicious.

Read Ingredient Labels Online

You don’t have to wait until you go to the store! Many companies post nutrition facts online, including ingredients, so you can search to make sure that packet of ranch dip mix you need for your famous cheese ball isn’t going to kill your best friend. And if you’re not sure whether or not one of those ingredients is gluten-free, don’t feel stupid or discouraged. You’re not alone; a quick internet search will (1) reveal that you’re probably not the first person not to know if that was gluten-free or not, as well as (2) multiple articles that should get you the answer your need.

Now, when you go to the store, you have a pre-checked grocery list of what brands to buy to complete your gluten-free party shopping list.

Keep the Flavor, Ditch the Gluten

A major problem the conscientious host or hostess will encounter is the high cost of gluten-free flours or the mixes to make gluten-free cookies, cake, or brownies. Even if sweets aren’t the focus of your table, you probably still want to make some sweet things available.

Here are a few sweet cheats:

  • You can flavor Rice Krispie treats to taste like practically anything. If Pinterest fails you, just do a little research to figure out what gives the thing its characteristic flavor. For example, red velvet cake=chocolate, vanilla, red food coloring, and cream cheese icing.
  • Jell-O jigglers are appropriate for any crowd and make fun finger food
  • Fruit is healthy and sweet, and there’s plenty of different ways to serve it.
  • Chocolates and/or mixed candy in a pretty bowl add a nostalgic, whimsical touch to any gathering

Vegetables are Your Friends

They’re not just for a relish tray! Vegetables are refreshing, colorful, and fill you up with fiber in place of the carbs in gluten-filled snacks.

Any dip that woks with chips or crackers will be equally as delicious on veggies, and many hors d’oeuvres and canapés call for or rely upon veggies.


Not only is it almost impossible to make punch that contains gluten, a fantastic punch can really liven a party up if you feel your menu isn’t all you hoped it would be.

If you don’t have any Punch recipes beyond the instructions on the back of Kool-Aid, relax! Mixing punch your friends will love is simple

  1. Pick a pouch of Kool-Aid, lemonade, or other drink mix
  2. Add juice in corresponding or complementary flavor
  3. Add ginger ale and lemon-lime soda.
  4. Mix in punch bowl
  5. Add ice
  6. Oh you want to get fancy? Two words: Rainbow Sherbet.

Finishing Touches

Now, a few things to remember before you get lost in the full swing of your party:

  • Label the foods that do contain gluten—tape an index card onto a toothpick and stick it into the cheeseball, make a name card, or simply point it out to your friends.
  • Try not to let cross-contamination happen; one crumb might not do any harm to most with gluten intolerance, but Celiac disease means a high susceptibility to even trace amounts of gluten. No sense letting a crumb ruin your party!
  • If there is a gluten-free dish or dip your friend particularly enjoyed, box it up and let them take the leftovers home—it’s probably rare they see food this good that they know they can eat!

It doesn’t take extensive medical research to feed the gluten-intolerant in your circle! Follow these tips and your party should be a success for all, no matter their dietary restrictions!


About the Author:

Lucy Markham is an avid blogger and researches with companies such as ACR Research. As a recent homeowner, Lucy considers herself a bit of an expert on all things home improvement, gardening, and home decoration.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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