S’mores are a great dessert option for guests on special diets, whether the diet is vegan, paleo, or avoids some allergen. With careful shopping, a host can find many s’more ingredients that adhere to a long list of dietary restrictions. Homemade is almost always the most delicious, but the packaged nature of s’more ingredients protects guests from mistakes and cross contamination. Each guest can create their own s’mores. When they participate in the cooking process with everyone else, they feel included even when eating something different. Meanwhile, guests without dietary restrictions can eat their normal fare. S’mores are fun and nostalgic for everyone.
S’mores can be very delicious and do not have to be boring for people on special diets. My Mexican Hot Chocolate S’mores were made gluten-free simply by choosing the components wisely. Find many interesting and unique s’mores recipes in Elevated S’mores, available from Amazon.
S’mores are an inclusive activity, even when everyone gets different ingredients.
People with dietary restrictions are often neglected at dessert time. Alternately, they are served some tasteless item while others enjoy delicious confections. Even worse, sometimes a well-meaning host will create a dessert that supposedly adheres to the special diet. Only much later does the guest take ill and realize that the host did not really understand the nuances of cooking for people with food sensitivities.
No one wants to feel left out. Certainly, it is even worse when everyone’s dessert is customized to a few people with dietary restrictions. Though the host may be kind, there is usually at least one guest that will make a negative comment aimed at the “picky-eater”. Few things ruin a party for a guest like feeling guilty for imposing their issues on the entire group.
Fortunately, s’mores are a delicious, fun, nostalgic dessert worthy of many an event. The three traditional s’more ingredients are easily swapped out for other options. Gourmet offerings or allergy-friendly versions of traditional favorites are simple alternatives. Marshmallows, chocolate and cookies come in many flavors, types, and restriction-friendly formats. Vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and nut-free s’more ingredients are pretty easy to find. With careful shopping, many other diets can also be accommodated.
Marshmallows are usually naturally free of gluten, dairy, and nuts. However, they typically contain gelatin, so are not vegetarian or vegan, and are probably also not kosher. One national brand makes vegan marshmallows. At least one other makes kosher marshmallows. Sugar is not typically included in paleo diets. However, the internet is full of recipes for low-sugar, high-gelatin marshmallows that are considered paleo. Chances are, you can find marshmallows that adhere to most special diets. You will have even better luck if you are willing to source them via internet stores rather than just at local markets. Be careful to check the potential for cross contamination.
Plain chocolate very often contains milk, especially the milk and white varieties. Chocolate bar additions like cookies, nuts, citrus, and soy can make finding special-diet-friendly chocolates a bit daunting. Dark chocolate is usually paleo-friendly and often vegan as well. Many allergen-free chocolates are available, just read packages carefully and keep shopping until you find a good choice. Be sure to double check labels, and don’t assume because one offering from a specific brand is ok that other varieties from that same brand also follow the same dietary restrictions.
Cookies or Crackers
Cookies come in a huge variety, so most special diets should be easy to accommodate with some variety of cookie. Even graham crackers come in vegan and gluten-free varieties. Nut-based cookies are often paleo. Expanding options to include wafer, sandwich, macaroon, and other cookies widens the selection for those on special diets considerably. Though not traditional, rice crackers and sturdy corn chips make a great substitute for cookies, offering even greater variety. Check cookie packages carefully for all dietary restrictions, especially since many cookies without certain allergens are produced in a facility that processes those allergens.
Use extra caution
Always check packages carefully for dietary information and make sure to keep them sealed to avoid cross-contamination. Check with your guests regarding their level of sensitivity and any special preparation considerations. Provide separate equipment for s’more preparation if necessary. When in doubt, allow the guest to bow out gracefully. No gracious host will pressure a guest to eat something that endangers their health.