Thursday, July 1, 2010

4th of July Tips

So I was going to write a post about what to watch out for this holiday weekend- holidays are all about socializing and eating, but that can sometimes be a little tricky for those of us with food allergies. When I came home from work I found a great email in my box from the creator of Gluten Free Faces, Chad Hines, that I wanted to share with all of you.

"The 4th of July is just around the corner. 4th of July festivities usually include a get together with family and friends and of course, a BBQ. Here are some interesting stats about the 4th that might surprise you...
  • Number of hot dogs to be consumed on July 4th: 150 million
  • Amount of chicken purchased in the week leading up to July 4th: 700 million pounds
  • Amount of red meat/pork purchased in the week leading up to July 4th: 190 million pounds
  • Percentage of American households with outdoor grills: 87%
  • Number of Americans who will spend the holiday at someone else's home: 41 million
As you can see, Americans have a love affair with their grills during the 4th of July weekend. Being gluten-free can often be difficult when attending a BBQ at a friend or family member's house. With that in mind, here are 5 quick tips for a delicious, gluten-free 4th of July:

Tip #1: Lay Off the Sauce (Barbecue Sauce, That Is) - Most BBQ sauces contain gluten! It's just one of those sneaky place that gluten loves to hide. Some BBQ sauces may contain soy sauce, and others might contain Worcestershire Sauce, which can both contain gluten.

Tip #2: Pack a Backup Stash - Even if a close friend or family member has assure you that they will have a few gluten-free items available for you, don't trust them! Sounds a bit harsh, but I've been tricked too many times, only to be left starving and frustrated at a get together. Bring some small snacks, like a Lara Bar, Kind Bar or even some rice crisps. You should always have a "backup plan" in case there is no food available for you to eat!

Tip #3: Bring a Bun - Since we are talking about BBQ's, most likely, there will be burgers or hot dogs of some sort. (*Note that some hot dogs and sausages may contain gluten. Be sure to check which brands are gluten-free before you eat. There is a good list of gluten-free hot dogs and sausages referenced in the full article). Be sure to bring a gluten-free hot dog or hamburger bun with you! Don't ever feel embarrassed or awkward to suddenly break out your own bun from your bag. Your health is top priority, so bust out your gluten-free bun with pride! And remember, if you are going to be putting your bun on the BBQ, be sure to ask the host to thoroughly clean a portion of the grill to avoid cross contamination! It's a small favor to ask to avoid getting sick!

Tip #4: Offer to Bring a Side Dish - I've always said, "the only way you can be sure that something is gluten-free is to make it from scratch!" Offer to bring a side dish to the party, so that you are POSITIVE it is gluten-free. Whipping up a quick potato salad, cucumber and tomato salad or simple garden salad is quick and easy and will ensure that you will have at least one gluten-free dish at the party.

Tip #5: Dip with Caution - At holiday parties, chips and dip are almost mandatory. But, many of the traditional dips can contain some sneaky gluten that you need to watch out for. In particular, be aware of any spinach dip or processed cheese dip. Both may contain flour as a thickener and therefore, might not be gluten-free. If you are uncertain, be sure to ask the host or hostess for the packaging, so that you can read the ingredients. After all, it's better to be safe than sorry!

Keep these 5 quick tips in mind this holiday weekend and have a fun, safe and gluten-free 4th of July! And remember, if you are outside the United States, these tips can be used at any party or social gathering.


Chad Hines
Your Trusted Gluten-Free Advisor"

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