It’s back! I’ve been seriously slacking my gluten free tips as of late. Big things have been going on that distracted me but I’m happy to report that this fave feature has returned.
Today I wanted to share a few tips for stocking a healthy snack drawer at work; it’s something I couldn’t survive without!
I like to make sure my work snacks still pack a nutritional punch to keep me powered through my day or fuel me up before a mid-day workout. Some of my go-to gluten free snacks include:
- nuts – pistachios, cashews, almonds
- trail mix
- small bags of microwave popcorn
- fruit leathers or dried fruit
- dry cereal
- a jar of peanut butter (not negotiable. It goes on fruit, rice cakes, popcorn in a dire situation, and more)
- rice cakes
- seaweed snacks
As you can see, I love to have a variety of snacks, both salty and sweet, on hand to satisfy whatever craving might strike. This saves me money in the long run and avoids running the risk of going hungry if there isn’t gluten free safe food available at a team lunch or at a store nearby!
What are your favorite office snacks to keep on hand?
Happy early Memorial Day everyone! I took today off to kick start the long weekend since I will be celebrating my friend’s wedding for the remainder of the holiday. I am excited both for my friend and that the summer season is officially upon us!
We all know that summer is my favorite season and what better summer activity than barbecues and cookouts outside?! I know they are some of my favorite memories. When eating gluten free, these gatherings can be both a blessing and a curse so I wanted to focus this week’s tip on making it through summer potlucks, etc. safely and healthily!
GF Barbecues and Cookout Tips:
- Speak to the host before and offer to bring something. Ask what else will be on the menu so you can get a sense of what might be “safe.” Your good friends [hopefully] know about your food allergies so hopefully one or two will contribute something safe or at the very least be happy to accommodate you!
- Things like salads, fresh corn on the cob, watermelon, etc. are all naturally gluten free. Just be careful of cross-contamination!
- Chips and dip are often a summer cookout staple. Most salsas are naturally gluten free which is great news! If there are pita chips around, make sure you grab some salsa or dip before they have a chance to be tainted (and that they don’t share the chip bowl!)
- Not all chips are created equal. SO.MANY tortilla chips these days are certified [and naturally] gluten free which often makes this food a good option at gatherings. Just make sure to check the label so you don’t accidentally get glutened!
- If you have a favorite cookout food, you might want to offer to bring that dish to ensure you can eat it. Mine are baked beans so in the past I’ve offered to bring (or make from scratch) a gluten free variety for the crowd.
- Grills can be tricky. Last year I stressed out about grilled burgers and meats because I knew there was also going to be fish and buns on the grill (both a no-no for me). My friends were rockstars and grilled up the meat first and then grilled everything else to make sure I could eat. Again, they rock.
- Poolside gatherings are often my favorite because people tend to bring lighter fare like salads, fruits, etc. Just double check with your friends if they made something from scratch. I am never afraid to ask what is in something and if I’m hesitant, I frame it as a compliment – this [salsa] looks delicious! What all is in it?
- Beverages – I’m a huge fan of water during the day but sometimes a beautiful summer day calls for something a little more fun. Bring your favorite GF beer to have on hand or if other drinks are offered just double check labels and brands!
- Desserts can be tricky. Last year I made this easy cobbler that was a hit with GF and gluten eaters alike!
- Enjoy! Summer is sunny. And happy. And if you can’t eat a full meal while hanging out with friends you can dip into your emergency snacks or eat something after to round out your meal.
What’s your favorite summer food? Other tips for staying safe at cookouts?
It’s no secret that I’ve become a proud Texan during my tenure in Washington, DC. It’s funny what happens when you take the girl outta Texas. Even if I don’t like country music there’s one thing that’s tied to it that I absolutely love – barbeque! True story, I used to get confused when East Coast friends invited me to a barbeque and it was just burgers and hot dogs. Where was the BBQ sauce? Smoked meats?
Eating barbeque (or BBQ) out at restaurants can seem pretty simple for someone trying to avoid gluten. It’s a lot of meat, beans, potatoes, and pickles. Simple, right?
Well, there’s actually a few places that gluten can lurk proving once again that GF folks need to remain vigilant!
- Some meats are marinated or rubbed with spices before cooking. Ask what is in those before ordering – sometimes soy sauce or beer is used in a marinade, flour added to a roux, or traces of gluten in spice rubs.
- Read options for sides carefully. Beans that are beer-braised are a no-no, chilies and other sides could be thickened with flour, cornbread and rolls are a more obvious choice to avoid, as are many corn puddings or other heavier sides.
- Some safe sides I rely on are: cold salads like Texas Caviar (black eyed pea salad), cucumber salad, baked potatoes, some BBQ beans (if I’ve checked ingredients), and garden salads which aren’t traditional but I like ‘em.
- Ask about the sauce! It’s not a given for BBQ sauce to be gluten free. It depends on the vinegars and spices used (and if they’re certified or guaranteed gluten free).
- Plan to skip dessert. I’ve only seen cobblers, cakes, brownies, etc. as dessert options at barbecue restaurants. Usually I’m full from meat and veggies so it’s not an issue!
I actually went to a new BBQ spot in DC last weekend called Hill Country. I was planning on getting meat and maybe a side but was unsure of what would be “Sarah friendly” aka gluten free. When I asked about a meat option and referenced no cornbread, the butcher asked if it was gluten I was allergic to. Win #1. He then quickly narrowed down my options to 2 choices and yanked this laminated sheet of a clipboard within his reach displaying the allergy information for all of the food. Win #2 and I picked my jaw up off the floor.
He then walked me over to the separate area where the sides were and explained to a colleague that I was gluten free and to make a substitution for me with no extra questions needed. My new friend, Jamie, then noted that swap on my menu card (what the restaurant uses to track your order. You pay at the end at a register up front).
Jamie then served me up some delicious Texas Caviar and Cucumber salad. When I requested pickles and jalapenos he let me know they were safe and then sliced me up a fresh jalapeno just to be safe. Win #3, #4, #5. OH and this was all with friendly smiles and a TON of help from the staff. It made for a great experience!
lean brisket, black eyed peas, cucumber salad, pickles
Other barbeque places I love (mainly in Texas):
- Spring Creek BBQ
- County Line