Tips for an Allergy-Friendly BBQ

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It’s grilling season and nothing says summer like the barbeque! I love a wide assortment of grilled veggies and fruit, including onion, pineapple and eggplant! With a touch of olive oil, fresh garlic and Himalayan salt, there’s just nothing better!

If you’re hosting a meal, make sure you’re clear about your guests’ dietary requirements ahead of time. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), the most common allergenic foods worldwide (aka “the big eight”) include cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (including walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, pecans, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, chestnuts, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, etc.), fish, shellfish, soybeans and wheat.

With a growing number of adults and children experiencing food allergies and intolerances, we need to be mindful about accommodating the dietary needs of others. Here are some tips to help you when entertaining with the help of the good ol’ Bar-B.

Your guests know best
The last thing you want to do is replace something your guest can’t eat with something they can eat but don’t like! Everyone appreciates being asked what they enjoy. Be casual about it and let your guests know you are asking because you care.

Keep household members in the know
Let your household members know about the dietary needs of your guests right from the start and the ways to keep them safe. Teach your family about cross-contact prevention and how to be a proper host.

Read and save labels
There are many hidden sources of food allergens lurking in packaged foods. For example, many people don’t realize that malt is often a source of barley, which contains gluten. Many sources of malt (malt extract, malt syrup, malt vinegar, malted milk, and malt flavoring) are derived from barley and act as an additive or flavoring in packaged foods. Beer (unless labeled gluten-free), which is also derived from barley, is out for gluten intolerant guests. To prevent doubt, don’t throw it out! Keep food packaging on hand for your guests. This will put their mind at ease as well as yours!

Prevent cross-contamination
Clean and disinfect your barbeque grill at least one day ahead of your barbecue. While preparing food, work in a disinfected area of your kitchen and ensure that it is completely clear of any restricted ingredients that could potentially come into contact with the food you are preparing. Ensure your countertops, pots, pans, utensils and all equipment you’ll need are properly disinfected. Do not use serving utensils made of porous material, which may be more difficult to disinfect.

Make fresh food
Make your own soups, salads, sauces and dressings using fresh whole food ingredients. By making these items from scratch, you will avoid food allergens, control ingredients and your dishes will be healthier overall. Check the ingredients in all store-bought condiments and ask your guests which ones they can and can’t have.

The truth shall set you free
Everyone makes mistakes and that’s OK! If you think you made a mistake, inform your guest. I guarantee they will thank you for your honesty and word of caution!

Do dessert right
Seek out that delicious allergen-friendly dessert to delight your guests—so many of them are easier than you’d ever imagine. Serve your dessert with fresh fruit (that guests are allowed). Ending on a sweet note sounds like a happy ending to me!

Author: Lisa Cantkier

Lisa Cantkier is a passionate holistic nutritionist and lifelong celiac who helps others live well with food allergies and special diets. For more information, visit www.LisaCantkier.com

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