There are multiple ways to get around your food allergies and survive your gluten-free summer cookout!
Summertime + Friends + Food = BBQ Time
What do you do if you have food allergies?
Attend? Don’t go?
Living with food allergies and being gluten-free causes worry about eating out, especially at someone else’s house.
There are lots of concerns that come up:
*What will I eat?
*How do I know what’s in a dish so I can safely eat it?
*Will there be cross-contamination on the grill?
*Will I starve if I go?
*Do I have to tell anyone about my allergy?
*Should I just stay home?
When you have food allergies, you become very aware of the food around you. The necessity of knowing every bite and every ingredient you put into your mouth can sometimes get overwhelming. Although it matters, it should not consume your life. Nor, should it keep you stuck at home.
There are many ways to deal with eating outside of your home.
Attending a BBQ?
Try these strategies to survive
your summer cookouts:
**If you know the host, call them up and ask what you can bring.
Bringing your own food helps to have something to eat. When the food is placed out, make sure that you and your family have first dibs on scooping from your dish, so there is no cross-contamination.
Better yet, if others have allergies, have the allergen-free foods in one general location – preferably away from the gluten-filled foods.
**If it’s a small gathering, you can ask others not to double-dip.
We always need to be aware of cross-contamination. Many will understand once they know why you are doing something different.
**Ask if tin foil or a pan can be placed on the grill to cook your item.
This can take away your worry about cross-contamination. You’ll be able to cook your meat, in a much safer mode. Or, you can always cook your grilled food at home prior to arriving, which also works well.
**Bring a dessert.
This way, you’ll enjoy a treat with everyone else. No one feels left out.
Attending a larger cookout,
too many people?
**Bring your own cooler and keep all of your food separate.
This works well when getting together with multiple families. This sounds rude, but it is absolutely not! You are taking care of your health, which is very important.
For this type of cookout, bring a dish to share with everyone – one your family can also enjoy. Again, try to prepare your plate first if at all possible.
Having your own cooler allows you to prepare your plates separately and have no worries about cross-contamination with other foods out in different areas.
One of the BEST WAYS to survive
the summertime cookout:
**HOST IT yourself.
This puts you in charge. You know what will be served and how it will be served.
If you are grilling- you know that all the meats served will be gluten-free so there will be no issues.
Set up a separate area for others who bring gluten-filled food items. This is a good way to help control cross-contamination.
For grilling hamburgers or other meats, ask your guests to bring the rolls they enjoy. Therefore, they have what they like and need for their dinner.
**Offer two sets of condiments.
Have two sets of condiments or use all squeeze bottles to watch cross-contamination (Note that little ones often hit their food with the tip so this is not always the best strategy!)
Set your second set of condiments in a separate area with the gluten-filled items so there’s no sharing with gluten-free items.
**When serving dips, place out two of the same.
Two dip dishes = one for dipping gluten-filled and one for gluten-free, typically on an allergy-friendly table.
**Notify your guests (a very important step!)
Typically those coming to your house know you have a food allergy. Let them know where to put their items, and EXACTLY where the gluten-free and non-gluten-free items should be kept.
Once they know- it all works well!
Last but not least:
Do you need to inform everyone about your gluten-free allergy?
Honestly, do what makes you comfortable. There’s a lot to understand with food allergies, and many have NO understanding at all.
Most are not keyed into how you live with food allergies until it impacts their family. If they don’t want to hear about it, let it be. If they do, take some time to educate your family and friends on what they want to know.
Don’t stay in on these
beautiful summer days
– go out to the BBQs and picnics!
Eat, share, enjoy, and have fun!