How You Can Help Make Your Workplace Gluten-Free Friendly

By: Suzanne Wolke – Udi’s Social Media Manager

 

If you have Celiac Disease or a severe gluten intolerance your home kitchen is probably already completely gluten free or any possible cross-contamination is prevented.

But what about when you head to work? Most likely, not everyone in your office or workplace is gluten free and the communal fridge, microwave, and toaster are a high risk areas for cross contamination.

 

Here are 5 tips to help you enjoy your weekly meals worry-free:

 

  1. First and foremost, let your office management and co-workers know about your dietary needs. This will ensure that they can make proper accommodations for team meetings and other meal related situations
  2. Have dedicated gluten free food storage and prep. Ask you office to provide a dedicated gluten-free toaster oven. Clearly label it “Gluten-Free” and educate your coworkers that only gluten free items are allowed. You may also want to ask for a mini-fridge to keep your food separate from all the gluten filled items.
  3. Can’t get your office to get you a dedicated toaster? Try using toaster bags to avoid cross contamination. You can read more about them on Gluten Free Explorer’s blog here.
  4. Bring your own snacks, lunch, drinks, etc. This way you’ll never be without a safe option to eat. Even if there’s a company lunch meeting, you’ll be able to have some gluten-free options at the office if you don’t trust the restaurant. Dedicate a drawer to these non-perishable snacks, this way you can build up your own “mock gluten-free pantry” at work.
  5. If there is a business lunch approaching, see if you can help pick the restaurant. Call in ahead of time and inquire of their gluten free options and make sure to ask how everything is prepared. This way once the lunch meeting starts, your food will be the last thing you have to worry about.

 

Do you have any other advice to make your work day a gluten free breeze?

 

15 Responses to “How You Can Help Make Your Workplace Gluten-Free Friendly”

  1. Nadine says:

    I totally agree with Nancy above. I have been Celiac for 18 years and always put my food in the refrigerator with the wheat items. Of course it is wrapped. I think some of this paranoia is curious. I was 83 pounds when I was diagnosed so I know what sick is.

  2. Mary Ann Gardzina says:

    all the testimony from celiac (or sensitivity people)
    Is helpful.
    I avoid all the pressure of eating out by just saying NO!

  3. Dani says:

    Hi, reading all your posts made my head spin! Can anyone please give me a proper list of symptoms you have after being glutened? My friend accepts my GF eating, but also thinks I am way too paranoid and should not make such a big deal out of it.
    Pls write me back by mail, cause I don’t have the time to search through all newsletters all the time. munzie1959@gmail.com
    Thanks guys, Dani

  4. Lisa says:

    I am so sensitive that I cannot touch the outside of a bread bag or allow my grandchildren to touch me after they’ve had a sandwich, etc without suffering dire effects. At work, I bring my own food/drink and keep it at my desk. I have a small cooler that I keep perishables in and I prepare and eat my lunches at my desk. I can’t even touch the microwave or refrigerator after someone else has used it that had their hands on something with gluten! Sometimes, it really sucks, but I know I have to take responsibility for my own well-being.

  5. Monique Dubois says:

    I like your’re products is’t very good

  6. Bernadette says:

    Being GF for sensitivity is becoming much easier for many of us with an ever growing choice of GF foods available at local health food stores. I’ve learned to cook and bake GF at home and love it, but still take the chance of ordering or eathing out. Often times with same reqret later. A celiac sufferer cannot be sure that any resturant will not pose a problem of cross contamination even when given assurance by staff or server. Thus, rendering ordering or eating out with co-workers, friends, and family too much of a risk. My heart goes out to them.

  7. Jeff says:

    The list is pretty good a few things I would change. You can’t expect your work to accommodate your dietary problem. If a dedicated toaster or refrigerator is needed I would recommend you purchase it and bring it in. If you work in a place larger than 4 or 5 people it’s going to be very difficult to keep someone from toasting in your oven when you’re not there. I have Celiac’s Disease (confirmed biopsy) so there isn’t an allergy greater than mine. Ziploc bags and avoid toasting things are what works best for em. Toast/cook you lunch at home and put it in a container or ziploc bag that you can reheat in a microwave at work, place paper towels in microwave first. For meetings I still bring my own food instead of eating what is catered it is without a doubt the your best way to stay safe. if the meeting is at a restaurant I eat before I go and just order a beverage.

  8. Kiki says:

    I keep my own toaster in my office. I would never trust a toaster in the kitchen, even if it was labeled gluten free.

  9. Linda says:

    I kiss my grchildren on the cheek or forehead because I have Celiac. I carry a few of my own plastic plates that come in very handy – i use them to put my food on and i never use a countertop or table surface to prepare my food. I use my plates and my own cutlery. I have been allowed to enter a restaurant with my own gfree sandwich and order a coffee to go with it. I have ordered gfree items in restaurants as well – but that is still a bit risky as I have been glutened a few times from doing so. For storing your own items at work I use a small carry around cooler that contains ice packs and my food/beverage so that I don’t have to use a fridge. When I travel I actually do take a toaster with me on road trips and have purchased a toaster when I flew somewhere and left it for the hotel to designate as gluten free for future gfree customers. Good luck.

  10. Krystal says:

    My old boss didn’t care about being gluten free. He called me psychotic and said no such disease has ever been found. He laughed and acted like I was insane. We need to raise awareness!

  11. Jenn says:

    I think coffeepots are an overlooked culprit. If you’ve got a busy Keurig machine, think of all the things that pass through.

  12. Aj says:

    My sensitivity is such that kissing my child after his grandmother fed him a cookie was enough to make me severely ill. If you are not that sensitive you can not begin to understand how sick it truly makes me. At the same time, I know how sensitive I am and I make sure that I am as safe as I possibly can. I do not expect the rest of the people to cater to my needs. I take it upon myself to be sure tables and counter tops are sanitized before I begin preparation of my food.

    Cross contamination happens a lot more than most people realize and even those who try to take care can cross contaminate without realizing.

  13. Judy Kennedy says:

    I don’t see how cross-contamination can be avoided in any kitchen or restaurant that also serves gluten/wheat products. Particles like flour must get into the air and on surfaces used for gluten-free preparation. If one is really allergic to wheat or gluten, bringing your own in sealed containers or packaging seems to be the safest practice.

  14. Nancy says:

    Seriously?? Your closed/wrapped food can’t be in a fridge with gluten items?? I’m gluten free but this seems a bit much!

    The toaster is a good idea, but why wouldn’t you bring your own in?

    When we are ordering lunch or go to lunch I go online and see what their options are. I don’t expect the whole group to cater to my dietary limitations. In the vast majority of restaurants it is possible to have a safe meal with a little creativity.

    • Jodi says:

      There is a difference between being gluten free by choice and being severely intolerant or celiac. Yes, there are some that are so sensitive that they cannot share a refrigerator with items that contain gluten. While the risk is small, the possibility of cross contamination is still present.

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