New Year”s Eve parties are some of the best. There is always plenty of food and beverages, but if you are the host, New Year’s Day cleanup is not fun. You’re tired from being up late, so this year, why not make the party easy by not over complicating meal planning. Consider your heritage when you get started planning.

For example, it’s a southern tradition to offer black-eyed peas, collards, and cornbread or hoe cakes on New Years’ Day to bring in the New Year and expand luck. Knowing about this tradition can inform your meal planning. Other locations have their traditions too.

Being of German descent, in my family, it just wouldn’t be the New Year without sauerkraut and pork, and no, I do not add brown sugar, or any kind of sugar to my sauerkraut. Growing up, we always had sauerkraut and pork on New Year’s eve to bring in the new year. The German people believe it brings in wealth and improves good fortune for the New Year.

In Japan, it’s tradition to enjoy a soba noodle dish on New Year’s Eve to bring in the New Year. The noodles, made from buckwheat, symbolize longevity. By the way, Buckwheat is gluten-free.

In Spain, people will eat 12 grapes (one for each stroke of midnight) to prevent starting out the New Year wrong. It’s called the 12 grapes of luck. A great way to incorporate this tradition is to put 12 grapes in everyone’s toasting champagne or ensure that you have enough grapes on your buffet table to go around.

In Italy, it is a practice to eat gold lentils with pork to bring prosperity and luck for the New Year. In addition, they usually eat a huge seafood dinner. This practice is called Cotechino con Lenticchie.

Vasilopita is a Greek New Year’s tradition. A cake with a coin inside is served at midnight. Whoever gets the coin is said to have extra luck during the New Year.

You can incorporate more than one of these ideas into your New Year’s menu to create added meaning to the night, especially if you explain the cultural significance to your guests. What is your family’s New Year’s Tradition?

You can find a few more recipes for appetizers here: Gluten-Free New Years Recipes

Regardless of how you eat during the holidays, almost everyone sets New Year’s eating resolutions, even if they don’t say it out loud. How you can make them and keep them are up next.