Gluten free on the 4th of July – Cookout Tips

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Independence Day. The 4th of July! For most, a day off to celebrate our nation’s birthday and a reason for cookouts.  (Side note: this is not to overlook those working through this holiday and others: those protecting our country in the military or other emergency personnel–I’ve had those years, but that’s for another day.)  But, if you have gluten intolerance/are celiac, the cookout part gives you reason to pause, even fret!  If you are going to someone else’s, you worry will there be anything you can eat? how much can you bring for yourself and not make the host feel bad? Even if you’re hosting, what about cross contamination of those eating gluten rolls and then handling the food?
 What about if you can have gluten, but a family member or friend can’t? Scroll down to #2 for your tips!

1.   Well, for me, I try to host so that I know I can have as much control as possible on safe some choices for myself.  I also find, as host or guest that is best to eat as soon as the food is off the grill and get all I want on the first plate, so that the chances of cross contamination are lowest. When I host, I can easily have some gluten free rolls for myself, ensure the hot dogs or hamburgers are gluten free, and at least one hearty gluten free side (baked beans, pasta salad with GF pasta and dressing, etc.), and maybe even a gluten free dessert.  You can suggest easy gluten free sides like fruits or vegetables for others to bring or they can also just bring “normal” unsafe foods and you will still have plenty of options. If you are going to someone else’s cookout, see if you can find out if a meat will be acceptable and if so, just bring your own gluten free buns and a side you can enjoy!
2.   If you have a gluten intolerant family member or friend: if you’re hosting, just ask them what you can have for them or do not be offended if they bring their own things!  If you want to have something safe for them, serve safe choices like 100% beef burgers (turkey and veggie burgers are more likely to be unsafe, check the label on those), plain chicken, or gluten free hot dogs and have foil on hand to grill it in (and don’t touch it with the same spatula!).  Remember sauces,marinades, and seasonings can have gluten, so plain is best if in doubt.  Also, if at all possible, save them the ingredient labels whenever possible, it helps them know if they can have something or not!  If you want to bake something for them, it can be much trickier–you have to use super well cleaned bowl for mixing and then bake it on parchment paper or in cupcake liners!  Sometimes gluten free chips or plain fruits and vegetables are the best safe sides! If you want to have beverages for them, remember most beer and malt beverages are out.  Most sodas are safe, liquors are a bit complicated, but gluten free beer or gluten free hard apple ciders are a good choice.

   Another important thing you can do (as host or guest) is to be careful to not cross contaminate items.  Don’t let the ketchup or mustard tip touch your roll, use a fork to pick up your meat after touching your roll, don’t open your roll where crumbs may fall into another dish.  It can feel like a lot to remember, but it is for the person concerned as well! Do your best and know it’s appreciated. 🙂

I hope this has given you some tips to make the gluten free life easier and more enjoyable for everyone involved!

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