4 Tips for Your Healthy Gluten Free Summer Picnic
Backyard barbecues and picnics are nearly synonymous with summertime. After all, who doesn’t enjoy gathering with family and friends, tossing a few burgers and dogs on the grill and chilling out in the backyard?
Of course, when you must live gluten-free, that’s not quite as easy (or relaxing) as it sounds.
To keep your backyard barbecues and picnics safe, delicious and relaxing, as they should be – even on a gluten-free diet – check out these 4 Tips for Your Healthy Gluten Free Summer Picnic and fire up the grill!
1. Grill right.
A great barbecue could go up in flames if the grill is not free from gluten. Be sure to avoid cross-contamination by making sure the grill grate is thoroughly cleaned prior to use and by keeping gluten-containing foods away from the grill. For more on gluten-free grilling safety, read my article, “6 Tips for Avoiding Gluten on the Grill“.
2. Meat matters.
Pure ground meat or poultry is naturally gluten-free. However, be sure to purchase only “pure” ground beef and not pre-made patties with add-ins like bread crumbs or seasonings that contain gluten.
Hot dogs are a bit more challenging due to the addition of wheat as a binder in some brands. Choose brands like Applegate Farms, Nathan’s Famous, Dietz & Watson, and Boar’s Head, which all claim to be gluten-free. Always be sure to read the labels, as ingredients can change without notice to the consumer.
3. Make it BUN-believable!
A good gluten-free bun is probably the biggest request I receive. While I love making my own hot dog and burger buns, and some of you do, too, there are times we just want to “grab and go” and that’s when a ready-made gluten-free bun can be a lifesaver!
Udi’s Classic Hot Dog Buns and Hamburger Buns can make summer picnics and barbecues feel like old times – without the worry of gluten getting in. That’s because anyone will enjoy these savory buns – gluten-free or not – so you can pick up a pack or two and serve these to everyone! That’s just one more way to avoid the fear of cross-contamination from “regular” bread products. And Udi’s buns are also dairy-free, soy-free and nut-free, so they are ideal for those of us with multiple food allergies, too!
4. The Condiment Conundrum.
Most condiments like ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise are gluten-free so it is unlikely you will get “glutened” from adding these on your burger or hot dog; however, there are some brands we need to watch out for due to the addition of wheat or other gluten ingredients. Always read condiment bottle labels before consuming.
A more likely means of getting gluten from a condiment is via cross-contamination from using communal condiment bowls, bottles or jars.
- Your picnic buddies are eating their burgers on gluten buns and go back for the ketchup bottle – with the same gluten-y hands that held the gluten-filled bun. You pick up the bottle later, and although the risk is slight, for some of us who are very sensitive to gluten, there is a risk of gluten contamination. (Suggestion: Use a clean napkin to grasp the ketchup bottle to provide some protection for your hands, and wash up after using if possible, just in case.)
- A shared jar of mayo or mustard may mean gluten on your burger or hot dog. “Double dipping” of knives or spoons that touch gluten-filled breads contaminate the entire container. If you’re not the first to use or using a dedicated jar, you may want to avoid these altogether or consider having your own individual packets handy. You can find these via minimus.biz, a very handy resource for small packets of ketchup, mustard, mayo, salad dressings, and more. These are great for travel, too!
Now that you have these 4 Tips for Your Healthy Gluten Free Summer Picnic and know where to find excellent gluten-free buns for your dogs and burgers, you’re all set for some relaxing backyard fun!
Happy Memorial Day!
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