How to navigate special diets during the holidays (and still have fun!)

Its that time of year guys!  The time where just about everything is somehow enveloped in food.  Whether you’re hitting up an office party or another holiday affair, you’re gonna be accosted by sweets, and appetizers and just about everything terrifying for those of us on special diets.

The hubs and I have been eating a keto diet for just over 8 months now.  In those 8 months, we have learned how to create dishes that satisfy our sweet tooth (without sugar) and fulfill our need for bready things (without grains).  It can be really difficult to skip that gigantic buffet table at your daughter’s holiday concert, but you do it because…hello willpower!  Feeling 10 years younger and fitting into those skinny jeans again are great reasons to stay on track.

The other thing that saves us bigtime, is always making sure we have something we can eat.  If we are going to a party, we volunteer to bring a dessert and appetizer, obviously making sure there is enough for all the guests, but ultimately making sure we have something to enjoy too without inconveniencing the host with our special diet needs.

In light of that, I’ve broken down some of the most common special diets out there these days, along with links to some amazing recipes you can make during the holidays.  The idea here is that you are still feeding yourself something that makes you feel like you’re not skimping while fueling your body with something that suits your special diet to a tee.

Since most special diets are not created equal, feel free to adapt these as necessary to bring your holiday eating dreams to life.


Breakfast:  The hubs and I started a Christmas tradition over 10 years ago that we’ve stuck with and don’t plan on giving up this year.  Cinnamon Rolls by the tree on Christmas morning give us all the feels.  This grain free recipe looks great (we’ll sub the honey for erythritol to keep it keto).

How to navigate special diets during the holidays and still have fun

Brunch: Since the holidays are already crazy, I’d recommend making some quick breakfast/lunch/brunch options to grab quickly while you’re on the go.  We make these pancake muffins (with berries and chocolate chips!) and veggie egg muffins all the time.  They aren’t too filling (gotta save room for Christmas cookies!) but fill your body with whatcha’ need to stay up past midnight.  And, if you’re off to brunch, they feed a bunch.

Dinner: Hosting a few friends?  This Garlic Rosemary Chicken looks super festive.

How to navigate special diets during the holidays and still have fun

Appetizers:  I could eat these Raspberry Brie Appetier Bites all. day. long.

Dessert:  Roll cakes scream holiday.  This low carb keto gingerbread cake probably tastes like a Christmas movie.


Breakfast:  Love, love, love me some french toast casserole on a cozy, snowy Saturday.  This one looks so pretty sans the refined sugars.

Brunch:  Bring these Blueberry Breakfast Cookies to brunch and you’ll be winning at Christmas.

How to navigate special diets during the holidays and still have fun

Dinner:  This recipe has “brown sugar” in the title, but there is NO SUGAR in it!  Many of us sugar free eaters miss our glazed ham at the holidays.  This Rosemary Brown Sugar Baked Ham is a great solution!

Appetizers: Raise your hand if you want to eat all of these Bacon Wrapped Asparagus bites yourself.

How to navigate special diets during the holidays and still have fun

Dessert:  These Peppermint Whoopie Pies would be a hit at any party.  You could also leave them with some milk for Santa which means you’ll be eating them in the quiet of the night before the holiday madness begins (no shame in that game!)


Breakfast:  Breakfast casseroles are great when you’re hosting guests for the holidays.  This Broccoli, Ham and Mozzarella breakfast casserole looks amazing.

Brunch:  These bagels use fathead dough as the base, making them super low carb.  You can make them ahead to grab and go before you hit up the Christmas tree lot – perfect with cream cheese, bacon and eggs or some mayo, turkey and cheese.

Dinner:  If you’re eating a keto diet, the carbs are too high in this Italian Herb Bruschetta Chicken.  But, if you’re just trying to keep carbs on the lower side, this looks beautiful and totally festive for the holidays!

How to navigate special diets during the holidays and still have fun

AppetizerCharcuterie Greek Inspired Antipasto platter is.  These low carb pizza rolls are also easy, delicious and totally fitting for the finger foods table.

Dessert:  Did someone say bourbon?  How pretty do these bourbon ball cookies look?  They’d make any holiday dessert table shine.


Breakfast:  These peppermint white chocolate sweet rolls are naughty.  But, if you’re looking to treat yo’self Christmas morning…I mean…

How to navigate special diets during the holidays and still have fun

Brunch:  How insanely good does this Paleo Sweet Potato Casserole look?  It’s vegetarian too and makes the perfect addition to your holiday table.  Pair it with a fancy salad and brunch is served.

Dinner:  This is just beautiful.  A vegetarian take on beef wellington:  a Mushroom and chestnut wellington dream

Appetizer: Thse carmelized onion, mushroom and apple puffs are perfect for bringing to your besties house for a holiday feast. Probably go well with Prosecco.  Just sayin’.

How to navigate special diets during the holidays and still have fun

Dessert:  We made this pumpkin bread for my hubbys birthday and Thanksgiving and will probably make it again for Christmas time.  Even though pumpkin is traditionally a fall thang, no-one is ever going to turn away bread that tastes like pie.


Breakfast:  One of my favorite scenes from my favorite holiday movies involves Strata (can you guess which one?).  Here’s a vegan zucchini breakfast strata to try yourself!

Brunch:  Isn’t brunch the best?  If you were chosen to bring something sweet this vegan cranberry orange loaf cake will do

How to navigate special diets during the holidays and still have fun

Dinner: I would have never thought of making a whole cauliflower roast, but this looks absolutely divine.  Perfect for the holiday table.

Appetizer:  Who needs pigs in a blanket, when you can make this vegan version

How to navigate special diets during the holidays and still have fun

Dessert:  These vegan gingerbread cookies look too good to eat.  So festive!


Breakfast:  Easy to make the night before and pop in the oven while you’re diving into your Christmas stockings – Crustless spinach, onion, and Feta Quiche

Brunch:  Something savory for brunching – Chicken Stuffed Jalapenos – wow.

Dinner:  I love the idea of a classic lasagna for Christmas eve dinner.  My grandma used to make it and it totally reminds me of being a kid on Christmas Eve.

How to navigate special diets during the holidays and still have fun

Appetizer:  Super festive and totally unique!  Bring these Strawberry balsamic bruschetta bites to your family par-tay.  Make sure you grab one before they’re gone!

Dessert:  This hot fudge pudding cake looks crazy.  Crazy good.  OMG.


Let’s keep recipe round up going!  If you’re on one of these special diets and have a recipe you’d like to share, drop it in the comments below so we can give it a try.



Never miss a post!  Drop your email below to get the weekly recap.


*DISCLAIMER:  This post is a combination of my personal insights, opinions and thoughts on various topics and products and may contain affiliate or referral links.  I earn a small commission if you make a purchase through my links, which helps me continue on this fabulous journey of blogging!  Full disclaimers avail. here

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.