These 5 tips will help you stay gluten-free at the times when it is toughest.
Restaurants: Talk to the Manager.
Restaurants can be a minefield. Talking to the manager before you eat, even before you visit, can guarantee a safe meal. Why the manager? The manager has a vested interest in making sure you have a great experience. He or she often knows what is in the meals, usually understands gluten if the restaurant claims a gluten-free menu, and has quick access to ingredient labels. The other staff, even including cooks, may be new hires or less educated when it comes to gluten.
Family Events: Bring it. Hide it.
Family parties and get togethers are great, fun, boisterous times! Unless you know the host is making a gluten-free meal with lots of options, it is best to bring your food, even if it is “just in case.” Why hide it? When the cousins see your delicious gluten-free cookies or meatballs or bbq chicken, they are going to eat it. All of it. Cross contamination is also an issue. We’ve all seen people use the same spoons to scoop up different dishes. Bring it. Hide it. At least hide some of it.
Grocery Shopping: Choose Whole Foods over Processed.
Most processed foods contain multiple ingredients. Some are easy to figure out. Others might as well be a different language. Choosing whole foods makes it easy to shop gluten-free. Whole foods include eggs, meats, vegetables, nuts, fish, fruits…basically ingredients. While preparation might take a little longer, lots of times the meals we make are more nutritious and delicious. Especially when made with gluten-free love.
Don’t Chance It. When in Doubt, Toss it Out.
I once asked my mother whether a leftover in the refrigerator was still good. “When in doubt, toss it out,” she said. The idea is that it isn’t worth getting sick over. This logic applies to gluten-free. If you’re not sure about a food or meal, don’t risk it. Eating that particular food or dish isn’t worth being sick for hours or days. Also, your instincts are generally right.
“I……am…….starving!” We’ve all been there. Skipped breakfast. Worked through lunch. Whatever the reason, now we are starving and judgment is out the window. This is exactly the situation we want to avoid because being hungry makes it exponentially harder to make good decisions. Carrying snacks is so important and can be a live saver. Find a few shelf stable snacks you like and keep them in your glove compartment or in a desk drawer for those times when you need ANYTHING to eat.