Before I had my son, my BBQ lunch or dinner party worries involved more of what I was going to wear then what I was going to eat. How quickly life can change! Now with gluten free, dairy free, egg free, nut free little boy, an invite to a BBQ can evoke levels of high anxiety. My husband and I accept graciously every time knowing that stress and a possible argument will follow. Most traditional BBQ foods are off limits if we can’t read every label and know every ingredient.
We learned quickly to either eat a large meal prior or bring our own food. I only eat what my son can eat and my health has benefited tremendously from it. But my poor hubby, he eyes the tables filled with good smelling meats smothered in sauces, looks at all the different kinds of dips and salads, and salivates over to dessert table. I have watched him shove an entire cupcake in his mouth as fast as lightening, thinking he is not being watched. He doesn’t restrict himself but is very cautious and concerned about eating food that cannot be shared. Because he knows he will hear "I wanna bite!” and the guilt that comes with saying, “No you cannot eat this it will make you sick.” as crumbs fall from his own chin.
Most friends or hosts try to accommodate us somehow, meat without sauce, plain hamburgers, or we just bring our own meat or burgers to throw on the grill (after a good cleaning), spices, and gluten free buns. Corn on the cob and watermelon are our usual go to foods and taste delicious every time. I bring a side that is safe for us to eat and can be enjoyed by others.
I have realized I need to look at a summer BBQ as a time to enjoy my friends and family. To take the afternoon to relax, not focus on the food, just have fun with a little boy who is growing up so fast. I want my son to grow up with the memories of enjoying those BBQ’s and not his mother having a meltdown right before each one. He doesn’t really care about the food, as long as he can eat something and play he is happy.
I try to stress more on what I am going to wear. It never fails though, I go for casual capris or shorts with a tank top and flip flops and I am met by a sea of cute sundresses and sandals or visa versa. I think that the day’s attire should be included on the invitation along with the exact meal! That would pretty much eliminate over 50 percent of the stress in my life and create an enjoyable BBQ, at least for me.
If a guest on your list has a wheat or gluten issue below are some ideas to keep them included in your buffet line.
- Asking what is safe and what is not, gluten hides under some many names in just about everything.
- Plain hamburgers or gluten free hot dogs (seasoning and condiments have to be checked too!).
- Fresh vegetables like corn on the cob and fresh fruit like watermelon and strawberries.
- Some pasta salads can simple be altered with rice pasta (Tinkyada is a great brand)
- Try finding some gluten free crackers to serve with cheese.
Your guest(s) will feel welcomed, appreciated, and less stressed just by taking the time to talk to them about this diet guidelines and trying to make a few small accommodations.