The gluten free guide to group gatherings

The gluten free guide to group gatherings.

Diet changes can be a challenge, especially when you are first getting started. Group gatherings were one of the hardest places to implement our diet changes. There is nothing sadder than being hungry at a party only to realize that you can not eat any of the food. As time has gone on we have become wiser and more prepared, most of the time.

The Gluten Free Guide to Group Gatherings. Tips and ideas on how to protect your family from food allergies at group gatherings.

Plan ahead, find out what will be served.

The sad reality of having food allergies is you have to take extra precautions when it comes to dining out. Not only do you have to be careful and aware at a restaurant but also at friend and family gatherings. Before attending your event contact the host to see what food they will be serving. I personally do not expect friends and family to make entirely separate dishes tailored around our diet. Because of this I usually offer to bring some of our diet friendly foods along with us.

We recently attended a family get together with this situation. I inquired ahead of time to find out what would be served. The main dish contained both gluten and dairy. Because of this I prepared a simple diet friendly dish that we brought with us. Thankfully there would be salads and a few sides that we were able to have along with our dish from home. Calling ahead of time ensured that we would have something to eat and saved my mother in law from trying to whip up a separate dish we could eat at the last minute.

Don’t expect people to remember your allergy.

It is hard and a bit inconvenient. But the truth is, most people will not keep track of your allergies. It is not because they don’t care. Honestly I never used to think of food allergies until I married my husband. Recently at a group bbq one of the salads had soy sauce. It looked like it was gluten free but it was not. Always ask questions especially if your allergy is highly sensitive.

Don’t expect people to remember your kids allergy.

It is hard for a young child not to be able to eat what all the other kids are eating. If your kids are anything like mine they will want to have what everyone else is having. A sweet and caring adult may give it to her not realizing she can’t have gluten.

In reality if a child comes to you asking for a food item you should always check with the child’s parents. However, this is not most peoples first response. It would be wise to kindly inform others at the event of your child’s food restrictions.

What to bring when the main dish will not be gluten free.

You have a few options.

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If you will be attending a bbq bring your gluten free meat of choice to be added to the grill. Cross contamination can be a problem for some people so you can cook your meat ahead of time and bring it with you or you can ask to cook your meat at the gathering yourself. This way you know that no cross contamination has occurred.

Bring a simple dish from home that is easy to transport and reheat.

You can bring your own salad dressing. Or if you do not have dressing you can always ask if the host has olive oil, vinegar and salt and pepper and whip up a quick mixture of your own. Ask to get your salad before the dressing has been added.

Want to enjoy a cold beer at the party? Bring your own gluten free beer.

You can bring a simple dessert for your family to enjoy. This is an especially good idea for kids who don’t fully understand why they can’t eat like everyone else.

If you will be attending a large party and will need to bring some food items with you consider bringing a cooler. At one summer bbq there was no room in the fridge for our extra items. The next time we had a similar event I packed our items in a cooler. The hosts were very thankful that they did not need to rearrange the fridge to fit even more food.

Always carry snacks with you. Some of our favorite are Luna bars, Kits organic bars and Kashi go Lean bars. They are always kept in my purse and in the diaper bag since our options are sometimes limited.


Gluten free friends, this is the bottom line.

Don’t expect other people to remember your allergies. Always ask what ingredients are in the food. Never assume it is safe to eat. Always do your best to be prepared. You are the one in charge of making sure you and your family are fed and do not have any allergy related issues.

These changes can be really hard at first but with time it does get easier.

This is the gluten free survival guide for our family. How do you handle going to group gatherings with a food intolerance or food allergy? I am always open to new tips and ideas.norfolk

30 comments: On The gluten free guide to group gatherings

  • Great tips! And you’re so right, you can’t expect people to remember your allergies, so it’s best to be prepared 🙂

  • This is such a helpful post! I definitely have to share it. Thanks!

  • You make an important point about not expecting people to remember your allergy. So many people are simple unaware what certain allergies mean. Before my middle child, I never thought twice about the ingredients. When she was diagnosed with a dairy allergy, our whole world flipped. I have to pack snacks when we visit places. During conversations, people will say they are lactose intolerant too. Totally not the same. It’s not anyone’s fault; just not everybody knows. It is important for the person with the allergy, or the person’s advocate, to be diligent.

    This was a very informative post. I’m glad you made it. Gave me a little education about gluten.

    • A new allergy or intolerance can really can throw a wrench into the routine. Especially when it comes to kiddos. I am so glad that this post was helpful. Thank you for commenting Candy.

  • This is totally true. My sister is gluten free and she has to remind me and my mother-in-law all the time!

  • I don’t have any allergies but i know several people who have to be careful what they eat. It can be challenging.

  • Great post! I was gluten free for a couple years and gluten is in everything! I was shocked! It’s really difficult and I felt alone when out to eat. This was when they didn’t have gluten free options on menus.

    • Gluten is added to so many things!!! I had no idea it was in so much stuff until we had to avoid it. I have told a few friends, “At least we are gluten free now and not a few years ago when there were not as many options.” I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been a few years back. Thank you for sharing Eryka.

  • This is such an important topic to be addressed. I too never thought about food allergies until my niece was diagnosed with it.

    Good post.

  • As a gluten free vegan I feel like I am forever thinking about food! x

    • Haha. We are not vegan but with my husband being gluten and dairy free and myself and daughter being gluten and egg free I have found a true appreciation for vegan cooking. 🙂

  • It must be so hard to have a food allergy 🙁 I do try to remember the allergies when I invite people to my kids’ parties and such, but it really is hard. It’s good that you are aware and proactive!

    • With so many different allergies out there it is very hard to keep track of them all. That is very nice that you are mindful of other’s allergies but I truly think it is the responsibility of the family with the allergy to make sure the family is taken care of. 🙂

  • We are fortunate enough not to deal with any food allergies or intolerances, but many of my dear friends aren’t quite as lucky. Thanks for writing about your experiences, they truly help someone like me that may not deal with the struggle regularly.

  • Great tips! It’s true. I always forget that my husband’s aunt is a celiac and the last time she was over for a party I said “There are sandwiches in the kitchen… but you can’t have them…” *facepalm*

  • I’m not gluten free but I haven’t eaten beef or pork since I was 12 (and I used to be a complete vegetarian for 8 years). It is SO true, you cannot expect people to remember your special dietary needs. Always carry snacks! These are great tips!

  • I’m saving this one for future reference. I can eat pretty much anything and everything so I just don’t think about the fact that not everyone is a human garbage disposal like me. Lol

  • It is hard to keep track of all of my friends’ food restrictions and preferences, but I do like to provide something my GF friends. Sometimes it’s just veggie sticks and a GF dip that everyone can enjoy!

    • That is very thoughtful of you to have a gluten free option for your friends. There are so many different food restrictions out there it is nearly impossible to keep track of them all!

  • I am always surprised to see people give food to small children without asking the parents first. But, everybody wants to be the one to get a big smile when they give a kid a cookie! When throwing a party for one of my children,I always ask parents to let me know if there are any allergies. I don’t want one of their friends to miss out on the fun because they’re afraid of what I may be serving. That way I know what to eliminate from the food plan. Larger get together must be so hard to safely navigate with allergies. I think these tips you’ve given are so helpful to take some of that stress off!

    • Thank you so much for sharing Tina. It is definitely a struggle at times but it can be done. Especially with people like you. It is great that you always check with parents first before giving food to a child or planning a menu. It really means a lot to allergy parents!

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