Hosting someone with celiac disease, a food allergy or other dietary restriction can feel daunting. Most people want all of their guests to feel included, but it’s difficult to know the ins and outs of any of the aforementioned diets when you don’t live it yourself. Even so, there are small things you can do that make a big impact!
1. Share the menu in advance.
Let your guests with dietary restrictions know the menu in advance of the party. I always reach out beforehand (unless someone beats me to it) and ask about what will be served. Then, I can prepare and bring similar — but gluten free — foods for N. This is especially important for special treat items such as cupcakes and birthday cake. At N’s age, these treats are a big deal and advance notice gives me the opportunity to bring gluten free version so N can feel included.
2. Keep original packaging.
Leave the packaging visible for pre-packaged food items. I really appreciate when people do this. I can quickly and easily read labels without even having to ask the host to see the package. Otherwise, the food is most likely off limits.
3. Look for a gluten free snack option.
If possible, have a couple of snacks available that are gluten free. Common examples of this include applesauce pouches, Pirates Booty, fruits and vegetables, and many common chip brands are gluten free as well. It takes a little extra work to read the labels but is much appreciated by your gluten free guests. If you do this, refer to tip 2 to make things even easier!
4. Be understanding if your guest brings their own food.
Understand that your guests with celiac disease may want to bring their own food, even if you plan on providing a gluten free meal option. Preparing gluten free foods in a kitchen that isn’t gluten free can still pose a risk for cross contamination and celiac patients can be sensitive to amounts as small as a single breadcrumb. Gluten free cooking and baking take time to learn and even with the best of intentions, mistakes can be made. Cookware and other kitchen items (think colanders and cutting boards especially) are common sources of cross contamination. Please do not take it personally if your guests with celiac disease feel more comfortable bringing food from home. They appreciate you even offering!
5. Ask questions!
If you have a question, ask! I never mind when someone sends me a picture of a label or asks a question about what is or isn’t safe. It means a lot that they are taking the time to learn and include N. It is not expected but truly appreciated!
Do you have any other tips that you’d like to share? Post below!