Hi and welcome back.
While the festive season is now over, there is never an end to the social food events throughout the yearly calendar. From a meal out with family, friends or colleagues to going to someone’s house for a meal and catch up, our social calendars are becoming more full. I find these events can be slightly daunting for me now that I am a coeliac as I find the food options can be a bit overwhelming. Please tell me I am not the only one!
I don’t want to turn up at families houses and become the guest from hell; triple checking packaging for gluten, getting annoyed the free from gluten options are covered in gluten in minutes or getting hungry (or in my case hangry – guilty) because you can’t eat anything. I have had all of these options happen to me so I thought I would pull together my top tips when navigating all the buffet food whether that’s at a children’s birthday party, summer barbeque or just a cosy film evening with friends.
1. Make a plan
This sounds so silly and simple, but it can really save a lot of stress for both you and the person hosting. Speak to them beforehand and see if they are happy and able to provide gluten free options for you. If they can, then you can go in comfortably knowing you have options. If they are busy or stressed, offer to bring something along with you. You can’t go wrong with homebaked goods. Check out my blog posts on Christmas tree brownies or Quick Cookie Recipe for some quick options that can be used throughout the year, not just at Christmas. If you want to go the extra mile, why not bake my gluten free Jam and Cream sponge? A definite crowd pleaser. If you are going to farmers markets, food markets or agricultural shows, it might be best to eat first as it can be difficult to know what options you have available.
2. Set up a gluten free spot
This tip works best if you are hosting or going to a friends house and the buffet food option is available. Help your host set up the buffet, but set aside a gluten-free safe zone for yourself. It doesn’t have to be big or flashy, but putting your food to one side will prevent cross-contamination and ensure you know you have options. I often find it surprising how most people will say they will not eat gluten free food as it tastes odd but often accidentally eat the free-from selection without realising and love it.
3. Do your research
This point is more geared towards eating out. I would highly recommend you look at the menu before you go. It will save so much time and hassle if you have an idea on what your food options are. Most restaurants and pubs now have their menu’s online that you can look through at home before you get there. With more restaurants stating which items are gluten free or having a separate gluten free menu, it will reduce the stress and helps you go in with a plan. If the options are unclear, you can always call to find out what you can have. I would always recommend calling to inform the staff so they are aware and can help and assist you.
4. It is better to be safe than sorry
If you are ever unsure on whether or not you can eat something, do not risk it. You do not want to become ill for eating the wrong things. If I am going out, I always make sure I have plenty of snacks with me. I love the Kind bars or Kettle crisps or even a Crimbles Chocolate Macaroon for when the sugar levels get to low. A classic gluten free go to option.
Thank you for taking the time to read: My Top Tips for Celebrating as a Coeliac. If any of these tips were helpful, or if you have advice on how to navigate the slightly daunting prospect of buffets as a coeliac, please comment down below. Please check out my social media links. Newsletter is now live! Don’t forget to subscribe so you do not miss out on any future blog posts.