My tips for staying safe when eating with friends and family
- Make sure your friends understand what you’re dealing with. If they know how serious coeliac disease is, what the consequences of eating gluten are and that cross contamination really is an issue they will be more likely to take the necessary precautions to keep you safe.
- You can’t ask too many questions. If someone is preparing a meal for you, don’t feel bad about asking 100 questions relating to ingredients and cross contamination. It’s important and you don’t want to be glutenated just because you didn’t ask to check the pesto or the salsa.
- Make suggestions. If a friend wants to make you dinner and asks for suggestions, make sure you have some to hand. Discuss before hand what they are going to make or choose a gluten free recipe that they can follow. If possible, go to the grocery store together to choose ingredients.
- Offer to make dinner. If you are staying with friends, perhaps you can offer to be the one to prepare dinner. It works as a thank you for letting you stay and also keeps you in charge of what you will be eating/how things are prepared.
- Offer to wash up before dinner. If you friend wants to cook for you, you can feel a part of the process by scrubbing pots, pans, utensils, cutting board etc before preparation begins. This way you are both helping out and ensuring a safe cooking environment.
- Never be afraid of offending. If your friend is doing something you’re not comfortable with or using an ingredient you aren’t 100% sure about don’t be afraid to speak up or even stick with the gluten free snacks you brought with you. If your friends know how serious eating safely is they will be understanding about your anxieties rather than feel offended.
- Have a back-up plan. As in all situations of uncertainty be sure to pack yourself a safe just-in-case snack. Most likely your friend will cook a delicious and safe gluten free meal but if not, at least you won’t go hungry and you’ll still be able to catch up with your friend over a glass of vino.
- Try to relax. Having a meal with friends should be an enjoyable experience. This is of course a lot more difficult when you have a pit in your stomach from worrying about contamination but try to relax. You’ve double checked the ingredients and your friend is taking all the necessary precautions. Pour yourself and glass of vino and enjoy!
What are your methods of ensuring you stay safe when family or friends are cooking for you? Or do you even let others cook for you? Share your ideas/experiences in the comments below..