Many of us have been in situations where a host or hostess means well, but serves us a gluten containing food. What to do! This can be difficult to handle since you don’t want to bring attention to yourself or seem ungracious. Here are some tips to help gain the support of your family and friends when you have gluten sensitivities.
One friend served me salmon encrusted with Ritz crackers and was shocked to hear that Ritz crackers have gluten! Now what I do is remind the hostess before I am coming over that I am gluten-free. I let them know either when they invite me over or by calling them a few days before. A simple, “Hey, just wanted to let you know that I can’t eat anything with gluten, so a simple grilled fish or chicken and a salad is great for me. Can I bring something to share, such as a gluten free dessert that everyone can enjoy?” This is where I show off my baking skills and make something delicious using my gluten free baking mix!
A great recipe for a dinner with friends or family is Apple Crisp (hyper-link) served with whipped cream laced with brandy! Yum! Everyone will love it!
Preparing foods in advance is always helpful. I usually set aside some time on Sundays to cook larger batches of food for the first few days of the week. I often make waffles or pancakes for breakfast on Sunday morning. It’s a ritual. I make twice the amount of batter, make extra waffles or pancakes, cool them and place waxed paper in between each one and place them in a zip-lock freezer bag. During the week, its so easy to put out a few waffles or pancakes and toast them in your toaster oven.
I often make a pot of soup on Sunday that lasts a few days. Vegetable soups, chicken soup with rice, carrot curry soup, black bean soup, gazpacho, lentil soup, white bean soup – they are all fabulous for dinner with a salad and great for school lunches.
Another staple I make is roasted chicken. These days I need to make two roasted chickens so that there is some left over! With the left over chicken the next day I always make home made chicken stock with the bones and some of the left over meat. With the rest I’ll make enchiladas, chicken curry, chicken salad, chicken tacos or quesadillas, or chicken stir-fry. For breads, I will make fresh biscuits (link to recipe) or corn bread (link to recipe) and these freeze well and are great in school lunches.
I also make a full batch of gluten free chocolate chip cookies, bake off how every many I need, then roll the dough into a log and wrap waxed paper around it.
I place the log in a freezer bag. When we want warm, fresh cookies, I take the log out and let it defrost for about 10 minutes, then slice and bake!
Another helpful idea is to make gluten free cupcakes and muffins and freeze a portion for when my son or daughter is invited to a birthday party. I can just pull out a cup cake from the freeze and pack it in a plastic container for him or her to take along to the party. Sometimes I’ll top the cupcake with frosting and gluten free chocolate chips to make it look fancy. Check out these recipes for kids birthdays: chocolate cupcakes and pumpkin muffins. (hyper-link recipe for chocolate cupcakes and pumpkin muffins)
Gluten free box lunches and snacks
Unfortunately, most schools do not have healthy lunches, let along gluten free options. And, many work places do not have access to good restaurants that offer gluten free alternatives. Here are some ideas for gluten free school and work lunches.
When you are planning your dinner menus, think about what leftovers would be easy to take to school in a thermos. Here are some ideas:
- Chicken and veggie stir fry with rice
- BBQ chicken (my kids love this in their lunch!)
- Gluten free Mac and Cheese
- Gluten free sandwiches: toast the bread first—it dramatically improves the taste and texture! Turkey and cheese, almond butter and honey or low-sugar fruit spread are our favs.
- Corn bread with honey butter (link recipe)
- Cheesy biscuits with chicken salad (link recipe for cheesy biscuits)
- Almond butter and jelly waffle sandwich (link recipe)
- Salads: we often go to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s and pick up pre-made salads to take to school. I’ll purchase several for each child and they stay fresh in the refrigerator, saving me from having to prepare lunch in the morning during a busy week.
- Sushi: the sushi packs are usually gluten free, just make sure your child does not sure
- Asian Rice Noodle Soup: In the morning if I have a few minutes extra, I’ll make the gluten free Asian rice noodle soups available in packages. I add chopped carrots and celery. It only takes about 5 minutes to make and pour into a thermos.