My gluten free toolkit
Those with allergies, intolerances, IBS and Coeliac disease know how important it is to be prepared. Prepared with medications, having to leave restaurants early, knowing where the nearest pharmacy is, knowing where the nearest public toilet is, reading menus, discussing food needs over the phone prior to arriving at a venue, and having snacks in your bag in case you’re unable to eat out at the place you planned to.
Just as I have invested money in purchasing kitchen items to help me cook healthy, nutritious gluten free meals, I have also invested in miscellaneous items to help me when I eat away from home. These items form my gluten free toolkit. I have found that by investing in myself and my health, I am better prepared when I go out which helps to minimise food anxiety and stress. Here are my favourite items to bring when I am eating out:
- A good quality, colourful esky – Fantastic for keeping my food cold. Enough room for 2-3 meals. Easily identifiable, making it a great conversation starter (it’s always good to talk to new people about Coeliac disease to increase the awareness within the general public). I also have an identity tag on my esky in case it’s lost at events.
- Reusable coffee cup – important for minimising cross contamination with drinks. Fun colour to be identifiable and minimises my environmental impact. I also carry tea bags in case the café/restaurant is unsure if a beverage is gluten free – this enables me to still have a hot drink with work colleagues, family and friends as I just ask for hot water.
- Main Thermos – great for hot water for drinks or certain foods such as soups, curry, stews, and risotto. Comes with built-in serving spoon. Keeps food and drink hot for 12 hours, enabling me to have something nutritious and tasty at events. Never have to miss out by being limited to packaged foods at events anymore.
- Microwavable Thermos – great thermos for keeping food hot or cold for 4 hours. Special microwavable container version so I can heat up food at events instead heating beforehand. Good size for one meal.
- Reusable cutlery – how many times do you look at a café with a shared cutlery draw and think about the high cross contamination risk (e.g. chocolate dusk from coffees, bread crumbs). To minimise the risk I always carry my own cutlery. This set comes with chop sticks, knife, spoon, and fork. It comes in a sealed plastic container so that they cannot be contaminated.
- Toaster bags – sometimes you don’t have access to your own toaster. As I am a big fan of toast in the mornings or toasties for lunch, I don’t want to miss out so I leave toaster bags in my suitcase when travelling and with my family and friends. Simply put your bread in the toaster bag and cook like normal. Minimises any chance of cross contamination and easy to clean. Can also be used in a sandwich press.
- Gluten free stickers – great for making food containers easily identifiable. Perfect for gluten free flours, butter, and packaged goods that may be gluten free by ingredient but have no gluten free label on the packaging.
- Gluten free tabs – great way to identify canapés, snack food, and main meals that are gluten free when having dinner parties or family events. Everyone will know what is not to be contaminated.
What is in your gluten free toolkit to make eating away from home easier?
Image credit: Hanako