Some people find it really daunting and worry when they are having to cook for people who is on a gluten free diet. Some people even end up avoiding inviting people around if they have certain food allergies or intolerances as they don’t know what to cook for them and worry they may make a mistake.
It can be the same for those on a gluten free diet, but this article will make it really simple for you! Follow these steps to make sure you are cooking a suitable meal for your gluten free guest. They will really appreciate the invite and the effort you put in to make sure the meal is suitable for them. You can use this for any occasion, whether it is Christmas or just a dinner party.
If you are cooking for someone on a gluten free diet, the first thing I would recommend is asking them a little bit about their condition and trying to understand a little bit about what a gluten free diet involves. Click here to have a look at this other blog post to understand a more about a gluten free diet.
Is Your Guest Coeliac or Gluten Intolerant?
First things first, you need to ask them whether they are gluten intolerant or if they have coeliac disease. The reason for this is because people with gluten intolerance may be able to eat products with small amounts of gluten or products which have been prepared in a factory containing gluten. However people with coeliac disease should not have any gluten in their diet and all products which are prepared in an area with gluten should be avoided (1, 2).
Can They Tolerate Gluten Free Oats?
The next question you should ask them is whether or not they can tolerate having gluten free oats. This may seem like a strange question but some people that need to follow a gluten free diet cannot tolerate even gluten free oats. The reason for this is that the protein found in oats ‘avenin’ has a similar structure to gluten and the gut can react to it in a similar way (3, 4).
Read The Labels
Reading labels is such an important part of cooking for someone on a gluten free diet. Key words to look out for on labels include: gluten, wheat, rye or barley. If it contains any of these then you know it is not suitable. Also as mentioned in the previous points, check whether or not it has been prepared in a factory that may contain other gluten containing products. Click here to find more about reading food labels.
When you are cooking for someone on a gluten free diet you need to watch out for any cross contamination. For people with coeliac disease, even a crumb in their food would trigger their inflammation in their gut. Using the same utensils, chopping board, knives etc can be causes of cross contamination. Click here if you need some more tips about avoiding cross contamination.
Cross contamination is one the hardest things about being gluten free. So, do not forget to mention to your guest that you have taken precautions. This will make them enjoy your meal even more!
Don’t Bore Your Gluten Free Guest
People on a gluten free diet can get very fed up of just having to have vegetable soup or a plain salad because sometimes this is the only option on the menu or what people think would be the easiest to cook. Get creative and use resources to think of some delicious dishes, they don’t have to be complicated or expensive. Click here to see some great gluten free recipe ideas.
Why Not Make The Whole Meal Gluten Free?
To make it easier for yourself and also more comfortable for your gluten free guest, why don’t you cook a gluten free meal for everyone. There are lots of foods and grains which are naturally free from gluten, for example vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, potatoes, rice, buckwheat, corn, polenta, quinoa and lentils.
Check Out Reviews For ‘Gluten Free’ Food
If you decide you want to use ‘free from’ gluten free products such as gluten free pasta, or bread then it is a really good idea to have a look online at reviews for which brands are best. One product is not equal to another. You could even ask your guest if they have a preference as well. Going this extra little step will make a huge difference to your guest.
Choosing Gluten Free Alcohol
Alcohol can also contain gluten so you need to be careful of this. If your guest likes drinking beer then you will need to buy in some gluten free beer. However you should probably check what your guest would like to drink, rather than stocking up on lots of gluten free beer which will go to waste.
These drinks are naturally free from gluten; wine, spirits, whisky, port, cider, sherry and liqueurs!
Enjoy cooking your gluten free meal!!
Article written by Dietitian Bethany Florey
Eddited by Dietitian Kirsten Crothers