How to Party Gluten Free with Foster Farms: Family Edition

Parties. Some people go for the food, others for the company, and a handful never go at all. When most party food is strictly off limits due to gluten ingredients or cross contamination, parties can be a unique challenge for celiacs.

So when Foster Farms suggested throwing a gluten free party for my friends and family, this college celiac couldn't resist an early birthday celebration. And, by breaking up my party into two small get-togethers (one for family at home and the other for friends at college), I get the best of both worlds and you get the best tips for both circumstances.

Foster Farms, AKA the reason I had 96 corn dogs
in my dorm last year!
Family is all about compromise (at least any of the families I've been a part of!), and throwing a gluten free party is no different. To ensure maximum (taste bud) happiness for everyone, find foods that are gluten free but loved even by the gluten-eaters. In the case of my family party with Foster Farms, this means having many of their gluten free options on hand - including their new corn dogs, chicken tenders, and chicken nuggets.

Personally, my family's favorite of the three are the chicken tenders. Crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside and quickly defrosted in the microwave or oven. For a fun idea, provide party guests with dish components and let them build their own unique plate.

Some of my favorite meals!
Whether it be throwing a corn dog on a salad with loads of roasted veggies (like moi) versus eating it straight with ketchup and tater tots (my Dad), or stacking salmon between sweet potato rounds (me all the way!) for sliders instead of serving it straight with veggies (the rest of the family), everyone will appreciate getting to fine tune their meal.

In the same thread of thought, try to keep an open mind when it comes to the menu. A celiac diagnosis may rid the household of gluten, but it doesn't have to be the death to old favorite party dishes or activities.

The birthday cake duo!
For as long as I can remember, it's been a birthday tradition to bake the cake with my dad. (Yep, birthdays mean the Marine gets to rock an apron!) Some years this was impossible, like when he was deployed or I was away at my freshman year of college. But going gluten free never stopped us - that's what gluten free cake mixes and recipes are for!

Love to make homemade pizzas before you cut the cake? Try some of my favorite pre-made crusts and crust recipes - all the flavor, none of the gluten! Or, if you're craving cheesecake but can't tolerate dairy or gluten, follow our lead and pick up Daiya's new GF and dairy free Cheesecakes! We let our two chosen flavors (Key lime and New York) thaw just enough to cut them into 9 equal pieces before popping them back in the freezer. Perfect pre-portioned treats for any time, especially a party!

A prettier picture from an Expo!
While experimenting with new products or recipes is great, though, if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it. The hardest part about going gluten free is learning the (edible) ropes and finding the best products. I can't even say how many types of different baking mixes we bought the week after my diagnosis! Now that I've been rocking some celiac swag for two years, I have some clear favorites. And those are the perfect candidates to blow party guests away! 

My family absolutely loves Pamela's Chocolate Cake mix with their corresponding chocolate frosting package. Deep chocolate flavor, moist texture and easy to mix, pour and bake! In fact, we haven't had any other birthday cake (even during the gluten-eater's birthdays) since I was diagnosed. 

A few cake flashbacks!
For my family's party, I also turned to Coconut Bliss Ice Cream (dairy, gluten, and soy free heaven!), King Arthur's chocolate chip cookie mix, and plenty of naturally gluten free goodies like steamed green beans, mashed potatoes, and grilled chicken. 

My final tip for a family fiesta? If you have the chance to throw an entirely gluten free party, be a caring yet stern host. I'm lucky enough that my immediate family completely understands my need for a strict gluten free diet and is willing to accommodate my diet. I know that not all celiacs have the same privilege, which could make a gluten free party harder. 

A Gluten Free fest...in your own home!
In that case, if the opportunity arises, use a 100% GF menu to show how delicious and fun a celiac's diet can be! Prevent accidental cross contamination by asking guests to not bring any food of their own, unless it is prepackaged and certified gluten free. That way everyone can have just as fun, carefree and delicious time with family as I did!

I was never a party person before my diagnosis, and celiac only complicated the celebration scene. As this summer has taught me, though, all it takes is some beloved family members, lots of tasty gluten free food (Foster Farms, Pamela's Mixes, and Daiya, I'm talking to you!), to make a party free of gluten but packed with fun


*Also found at RunningwithSpoon's Link Party!*


*I received compensation for my role in Foster Farms' campaign, but all opinions are my own*


What's your Number 1 gluten free party food or family favorite? Have you tried any of Foster Farms products? Comment below!

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