Last updated: February 19. 2013 9:32PM - 439 Views

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The traditional holiday meal is a staple in most households; turkey, stuffing, gravy, casseroles and pies are waited for year round.

But for people suffering from lactose or gluten allergies, enjoying holiday mealtimes can be a hassle.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as many as 50 million Americans are lactose intolerant and 2 million Americans suffer from Celiac disease, which means that they can't digest gluten.

Preparing for the holidays doesn't have to be made more difficult by accommodating for those suffering from allergies.

Here are some tips and tricks to hosting an allergy-free holiday.

Check to make sure that the turkey is gluten-free, as certain brands are processed with added gluten or glazed with a flour-based sauce.

Instead of thickening gravy with flour, use cornstarch to make it Celiac friendly.

Certain types of aged cheese are lactose-free, as the aging process strips the cheese of lactose. Stick to Parmesan, Swiss and sharp cheddar rather than fresh cheeses, like cream cheese, or soft cheese, such as Brie.

Make a gluten-free and lactose-free stuffing, simply by swapping out the regular bread for gluten-free bread.

Rather than putting out crackers and dips for appetizers, use traditional tortilla chips and salsa for a starter that everyone can enjoy. Just make sure to check that any salsas or dips are gluten and lactose-free as well.

Classic desserts, like pumpkin pie, can be slightly altered to become gluten-friendly. Purchase a gluten-free pie shell and the rest is easy!

— MCT Information Services

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