Wholesome Thanksgiving Food Ideas for Autism & Sensory Sensitivities

Gluten free and Autism Friendly Thanksgiving Recipes

The holiday season is upon us, and possibly the most challenging celebration for those following an autism-friendly diet is just around the corner: Thanksgiving. Traditionally, Thanksgiving feasts revolve around comfort food that may not align with gluten and casein-free dietary needs. This can pose a dilemma for individuals with autism who benefit from specialized diets. However, we took the time to compile some helpful recipes as you plan your holiday feast. 

As you prepare for the big day, we're here to offer guidance and share tips and recipes that will not only accommodate dietary restrictions but also make your Thanksgiving feast enjoyable for the whole family.

  1. Savory Roast Turkey:
    • Start your Thanksgiving feast with a perfectly roasted turkey. Season it with a gluten-free herb rub for a flavorful and tender main dish. This sensory-friendly turkey will please all palates at the table.
  2. Mashed Cauliflower with Garlic and Herbs:
    • Replace traditional mashed potatoes with a velvety cauliflower mash. Season it with garlic and fresh herbs for a tasty and creamy side dish that's both gluten-free and sensory-friendly.
  3. Gluten-Free Stuffing:
    • Stuffing is a Thanksgiving staple, and a gluten-free version ensures that everyone can enjoy it. Prepare as you normally would but gluten-free bread or cornbread, and season with aromatic herbs and veggies.
  4. Cranberry Orange Sauce:
    • A sweet and tangy cranberry sauce adds a burst of flavor to your Thanksgiving meal. This homemade version is free from gluten and artificial additives, making it ideal for those with sensitivities.
  5. Green Bean Almondine:
    • Create a vibrant and crunchy green bean almondine by sautéing fresh green beans with sliced almonds. This side dish is gluten-free and provides a delightful texture contrast to the meal.
  6. Pumpkin Soup:
    • Warm up with a gluten-free pumpkin soup that's rich and comforting. The mild flavors and smooth texture make it an excellent choice for those with sensory sensitivities.
  7. Roasted Root Vegetables:
    • Roast a medley of colorful root vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, and parsnips. Drizzle them with olive oil and season with gluten-free herbs for a hearty and nutritious side dish.
  8. Gluten-Free Cornbread:
    • Swap traditional bread rolls for gluten-free cornbread. It's moist, slightly sweet, and pairs perfectly with your Thanksgiving meal. Plus, the texture is ideal for individuals with sensory sensitivities.
  9. Autumn Fruit Salad:
    • Fresh fruit salad featuring seasonal favorites like apples, pears, and grapes provides a refreshing and sensory-friendly option for dessert. Add a drizzle of honey for extra sweetness.
  10. Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie:
    • No Thanksgiving is complete without pumpkin pie. This gluten-free version combines a crispy crust with a creamy pumpkin filling, ensuring everyone can savor this classic dessert.

Thanksgiving can be a joyous occasion for everyone, including individuals with autism, sensory sensitivities, and gluten sensitivities. By incorporating these wholesome and sensory-friendly recipes into your Thanksgiving spread, you can create a meal that accommodates diverse dietary needs while celebrating the spirit of gratitude and togetherness. Enjoy a delicious, inclusive, and heartwarming Thanksgiving feast with your loved ones.



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