Thanksgiving dinner: Catering dietary restrictions


Alyssa Freyman

"Seasonings" greetings. South Forsyth High School culinary students work in the kitchen to prepare meals for Thanksgiving. Each meal is specially prepared and labelled with each ingredient and allergen. "We list the top ten allergens," Chef Martin said, "and if they have any other concerns, we address those too."

The aroma of freshly baked dinner rolls and sweet potatoes baked in brown sugar fill the kitchen on Thanksgiving day. Pumpkin spice lines the countertops, ready to be poured into the buttery, flaky crust of the pie. The turkey sleeps patiently in the oven while the juices begin dribble off the golden facade. The table is being lined with bronze cutlery and extra place settings are added for the guests that arrive.

Over 85% of Americans celebrate Thanksgiving with a variety of gluten-rich foods including stuffing and rolls, and dairy-filled casseroles, and tree-nut prevalent pecan pie. Thanksgiving for the other 15 million Americans who have dietary restrictions such as a food allergy can cause unwanted stress.

A dietary restriction is refraining from specific foods for physical, emotional or religious reasons. Common dietary restrictions are vegan, vegetarian, and religious dietary practices. A common dietary restriction is a food allergy which is an immune system reaction after someone has eaten a particular food. Symptoms like irritation to anaphylactic shock can arise after the food is in the mouth or after it is swallowed. Healthline lists the most common food allergens like dairy, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, wheat and soy. These foods are prevalent in a traditional Thanksgiving meal whether the ingredient is visible or not.

“The best way to have Thanksgiving when you’re allergic to something is to cook it yourself,” Chef Martin, the head chef at South Forsyth High School,  commented, “or else you’ll have to read so many labels.”

Chef Martin mentions that although you might not see the ingredient in the food, you have to make sure you read the labels and talk to the cooks to check to see what exactly goes into the food and how the food is prepared.

Here are some ideas for serving up a delicious meal while catering to dietary restrictions:








Tree-nut free:

Dairy Free: