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The Ultimate Guide to Gifts for Dietary Restrictions — Sending Kosher Gifts, Gluten-free Gifts, and More

Whether you’re sending a gift basket for a birthday, corporate gathering, bar/bat mitzvah, wedding, holiday, or shiva, it’s always important to keep the recipient’s dietary restrictions in mind. Many people follow special diets for different reasons, and they all have different rules. It can get confusing at times, so we’ve thrown together this article to give you a quick rundown of a few different dietary restrictions and how to work around them. On to our Ultimate Guide to gifts for dietary restrictions!

Gifts for Dietary Restrictions: Composition of products symbolizing the Shavuot festival

Gifts for Dietary Restrictions. What are Some Common Diets?


We’ve all heard the term Kosher, but do we really know what it means? The Hebrew word “kosher” literally means “fit.” The laws of kosher define the foods that are fit for consumption by a Jewish person. This includes which animals are consumed, how food is prepared, and even how and when it is served.

Basics of Kosher

  • Certain species of animals (and their eggs and milk) are permitted for consumption, while others are forbidden—notably pork and shellfish.
  • Meat and milk are never combined. Separate utensils are used for each, and a waiting period is observed between eating them.
  • Meat must come from animals that are killed in a specific (and painless) manner known as shechitah, and certain parts of the animal (including the blood) must be removed.
  • Fruits, vegetables, and grains are basically always kosher but must be insect free. Wine or grape juice, however, must be certified kosher.
  • Since even a small trace of a non-kosher substance can render a food not kosher, all processed foods and eating establishments require certification by a reliable rabbi or kashrut supervision agency.


The first descriptions of gluten intolerance go back to the first century AD. The Greek physician Aretäus from Cappadocia describes the complaints in a medical textbook and uses the Greek word “koiliákos” first, i.e., “suffering from indigestion”. Today, studies suggest that up to 6% of the global population may suffer from this condition. Whether it’s coeliac or a simple sensitivity, more people are choosing to live a gluten-free lifestyle. So what exactly is gluten?  

Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale – a cross between wheat and rye. It helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together, and can be found in many types of foods, even ones that would not be expected.

  • – Wheat – commonly found in: breads, baked goods, soups, pasta, cereals, sauces, salad dressings, roux.
  • – Barley – commonly found in: malt (malted barley flour, malted milk, milkshakes, malt extract, malt syrup, malt flavoring, malt vinegar), food coloring, soups, beer, Brewer’s Yeast.
  • – Rye – commonly found in: rye bread, such as pumpernickel, rye beer, cereals, and Other Grains.
  • – Triticale – a newer grain, specifically grown to have a similar quality as wheat, while being tolerant to a variety of growing conditions like rye. It can potentially be found in bread, pasta, and cereals.

So what can you eat on a gluten-free diet? The most healthy way to follow a gluten-free diet is to seek out these naturally gluten-free food groups, which include: Fruits, Vegetables, Meat and poultry, Fish and seafood, Dairy, Beans, legumes, and nuts.

Gifts for Dietary Restrictions: Breads, and Flour Spelling out Gluten Free


A sugar-free diet is exactly what it sounds like: the reduction of added sugar. Pastries, cookies, candy bars, syrups, jams, jellies, and pre-sweetened breakfast cereals are all obvious sources of added sugars. But other foods such as salad dressings, sauces, condiments, flavored yogurts, instant oatmeal, and fruit smoothies can also contain added sugars. It’s always best to read the labels of all your food before hosting someone with a sugar-free diet. 

Since there are several forms and types of sugar, it helps to know what you’re looking for. If you see any of these on an ingredients list, the food has added sugars: Brown sugar, Corn sugar, Corn syrup, Fructose, Glucose, High fructose corn syrup, Honey, Raw sugar, Sucrose, Sugar, Syrup, and Turbinado sugar.

Whole foods that naturally contain sugar aren’t off-limits on a balanced no sugar diet. For example, while whole fruits like oranges and apples or 100% fruit juices are naturally sweet, they don’t have added sugar. But watch for fruit drinks that do contain added sugar, like cranberry juice.

Gifts for Dietary Restrictions: The Do’s and Don’ts for sending food gifts to someone with a dietary restriction.

Chances are you know someone with some kind of dietary restriction and are wondering how to host them for a meal.

Here are some tips to get you started:

1. DO find out whether their dietary restriction is an allergy, an autoimmune issue, or simply a dietary preference. This will determine how careful you need to be about cross-contamination. (Allergy and autoimmune = be extremely careful.)

2. DO ask your guest if there is anything you should be aware of or any precautions you should take that you might not think of.

3. If your guest is avoiding something as a dietary preference (not an autoimmune disease or allergy), DO invite them to look through your menu plan to make sure you are on the same page.

4. If cross-contamination is a serious issue, DO invite your guest to help you in preparing the meal.

5. DON’T leave them off the invitation list. Let your guest know that it’s perfectly fine to bring their own food if that would make them more comfortable.

Popular Holidays for sending Kosher Gifts

Rosh Hashanah, observed in September, is a Jewish high holiday. It’s both the celebration of the Creation of the world and the new year, as well as the Day of Judgement. Typically, people celebrate this holiday with a variety of foods such as, apples and honey, round challah with raisins, honey cake, pomegranates, pumpkins., and other round foods, sweet foods, and foods that are gold-colored, like carrots.

Hanukkah is an 8-day holiday that commemorates the Jewish recapture and rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem in 164 BCE. Usually celebrated in December, Jews will share plates of foods fried in oil as a reminder of the small amount of oil (just enough for one day) that miraculously burned for eight days when the Jews rededicated the Temple. Various delicacies include potato pancakes, called latkes, and jelly doughnuts called sufganiyot. 
Passover is an 8-day holiday (though some celebrate 7 days) that celebrates God freeing the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. The name refers to God “passing over” the houses of the Israelites during the 10th plague, and the killing of the firstborn. On Passover, Jews traditionally eat no bread or leavened food and instead eat matzah, which is unleavened bread. There are many traditional foods that are eaten on Passover, including matzah balls, gefilte fish, and macaroons. Additionally, there are many symbolic foods that appear on the seder plate that are explained during the seder.

A Plate of Bread with cinnamon sticks

How to make your own Gluten-Free bread

A gluten-free bread recipe that is easily baked in the oven. This soft gluten-free white sandwich bread has an amazing texture, bends, squishes, and is easy to slice. The bread is also naturally dairy-free. 


  • – 2 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour. 
  • – 1 teaspoons xanthan gum, leave out if your flour already has it in it
  • – 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
  • – 1 packet rapid rise/instant yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons)
  • – 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • – 1/4 cup honey
  • – 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • – 1 1/2 cups warm water (100-110°F)
  • – 3 egg whites, from large eggs and room temperature
  • – 1 teaspoon salt


  • 1. Spray a 9-inch x 5-inch bread pan or 9-inch x 4-inch small Pullman loaf pan with gluten-free cooking spray. Move the top oven rack to the middle rack. Preheat your oven to 350°F. I used both a 9-inch x 4-inch Small Pullman loaf pan.
  • 2. Add the gluten-free flour, baking powder, and instant yeast to a large bowl and stir to combine the ingredients.
  • 3. Add the olive oil, honey, apple cider vinegar, and warm water to the flour mixture and mix on low for 1 minute. If you are using a stand-up mixer use the paddle attachment, not the dough hook.
  • 4. Add the egg whites and the salt to the dough and mix on medium for 1 minute. The dough will look like a thick cake batter.
  • 5. Pour the dough into a greased 9-inch x 5-inch bread pan or the 9-inch x 4-inch small Pullman loaf pan. I HIGHLY recommend using a 9-inch x 4-inch Small Pullman loaf pan. Spray plastic wrap with gluten-free cooking spray and cover the top of the pan. Cover the pan with a kitchen towel and allow the bread to rise in a warm place to rise for 30 minutes.
  • 6. Place in the oven to bake for 30 minutes at 350°F. Bake the bread on the middle rack horizontally. The bread will be golden brown and have an internal temperature between 205-210ºF.
  • 7. Allow the loaf to cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Remove the loaf from the baking pan and place it on a cooling rack. If the bread completely cools in the pan, the steam can get trapped and the loaf can get soggy, especially on the bottom. Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing.
  • 8. Store the leftover bread in an airtight container, once it’s completely cooled. It may be kept on the counter at room temperature. It is also best not to pre-slice the bread before you store it, so just store the left-over portion of the loaf.
  • 9. The bread can be frozen once it is completely cooled. Wrap the loaf tightly in plastic wrap, then wrap it in foil or freezer paper. Place the wrapped loaf in a freezer bag. The bread can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw the bread in the refrigerator overnight.

Full recipe at

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