May is National Celiac Disease Awareness Month.
"One in 133 Americans has celiac disease – a lifetime condition that requires those who are diagnosed to completely remove gluten from their diet. This can be a difficult transition for many, as gluten is found in several commonly used ingredients making it even harder for those who are unfamiliar with this intolerance to determine what can and cannot be served."
Up until a few years ago, when my cousin was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I'm not sure that I had much awareness of the disease. Now, when we have family dinners, everyone makes a concerted effort to make sure that foods that are gluten free are noted - so that she can easily identify those that are safe for her to enjoy. Some easy swaps that can be made include using cornstarch to thicken sauce and gravies, instead of flour; serving corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas; making homemade dressings and dips with gluten free ingredients. Sometimes, people will even make two versions of the same (or similar) dish, one that is gluten free and one that is not. Helping her have a variety of options to enjoy requires thoughtful preparation and reading the labels of the ingredients used in the dishes to make sure that each is Gluten Free. Sometimes, you have to read through the ingredient list, but other times manufactures will include a notation on the label noting that the product is Gluten Free.
Here are some tips provided by Frito-Lay Chef Ngoc Trinh, an expert in gluten-free cooking. With these tips, hosting a sans-gluten gathering is a breeze:
"Plan Your Menu:
o Create a mouth-watering menu that your gluten-free guests can enjoy from start to finish. Chips and dips make great starters, especially when you pair your favorite Frito-Lay snacks with delicious gluten-free dips.
Check the Ingredients:
o Be sure to check your ingredients’ labels for wheat, rye, barley and malt. We’re helping fans easily identify which of our snacks are made without gluten by placing a “GF” icon or a statement on the back of qualifying bags.
o Some of your favorite Frito-Lay snacks may already be gluten-free since many of our chips are made with just three ingredients – corn or potatoes, oil and salt. (you can check out the list here)
Prep for the Party:
o Incorporate place cards so guests can easily identify each dish and determine if it’s gluten-free. Use descriptive titles that incorporate ingredients so guests know exactly what to expect.
o Use color coordinating condiment bowls, utensils, and serving pieces to eliminate the hazards of cross-contamination between gluten-free and non-gluten-free foods."
Here are examples from a couple of Frito Lay products, on how they label their package with gluten free information.
a text label:
Do you know someone that has Celiac Disease? How do you prepare foods for events with your friends that have this or other special dietary needs?
No compensation was received for this post. Frito-Lay provided me with a Gluten-Free Guide to Entertaining kit – including two bags of gluten-free Frito-Lay snacks, a color-coded condiment tray and chalkboard place cards, as well as information for this post. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family.