How to Be a Great Guest (Even With Major Food Limitations)

You can be a gracious holiday visitor and stay true to your healthy-eating needs with this expert advice.


One of the most difficult aspects of my autoimmune disease used to be dealing with food at parties and dinners. I would often eat beforehand or wait until returning home. Eventually I found a much better way that will likely work for anyone with food restrictions or special diets. Try these ideas:

Bring a dish you can eat. Talk with the host beforehand — but rather than calling with a list of ingredients you can’t eat, or asking her to overhaul the planned menu, let her know you are on a restricted diet and will bring something for yourself that complements what’s being served. That way you won’t bring a Greek-inspired dish to a dinner filled with Asian specialties.

Bring enough for everyone. Having a single-size portion for only yourself could make you feel even more self-conscious about your dietary limitations. When others can enjoy what you bring, it feels much more like a communal meal.

Have a go-to appetizer. Cocktail parties seem to be filled with wheat-based appetizers. Bring one or two options that are easy to prepare and that you know you can eat. My favorite is veggies wrapped in bacon, because they’re pretty, fun, and require only a few ingredients.

This originally appeared in the December 2016 issue of Experience Life. For the full article see “Celebrations.”

Reprinted with permission from Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple and Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain Celebrations: A Year of Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes for Every Occasion by Danielle Walker, copyright © 2016. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease at 22. She has worked to help herself and others by creating dishes that are healing, wholesome, and delicious. She is the New York Times best-selling author of Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple and the recently released Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain Celebrations: A Year of Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes for Every Occasion. Find her blog at

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