How to cook a meal for a celiac is a common question when people are newly diagnosed. Despite an unlimited supply of gluten free recipes and meal plans what people really need to know is what cross contamination is and why it’s a big deal.
This post is for anyone who wants to cook a meal for someone with celiac disease. Not an elaborate multi-course dinner or an entire Thanksgiving feast, just a simple meal. To sit down and connect with family or friends the way you used to, with new information that they can’t eat gluten.
Understanding The Treatment
A strict gluten free diet for life is the treatment for celiac disease. This isn’t just skipping the bun on a burger. It’s a lifestyle change that requires understanding and ongoing support from family and friends. Learning the very basics of this lifestyle is crucial because you can’t grow out of celiac disease.
When people are diagnosed celiac, especially during that first year, it’s overwhelming. They may continue to have symptoms as their body heals plus it takes time to learn so much new information about how to eat safely. All day, every day.
You can help by listening and offering to prepare a simple gluten free meal. Be willing to learn and you’ll find out why eating out is so stressful. Your friend or family member might say “don’t bother”. I say they’ll still have celiac disease five years from now and twenty years from now so you might as well start learning.
7 Things A Celiac Wants You To Know
- The gluten free diet is not a choice. It’s not a weight loss diet where you cheat. It’s not less gluten, low gluten or a little bit of gluten. It is a strict gluten free diet for life. If gluten free food is prepared in an unsafe manner then it’s not gluten free and shouldn’t be eaten.
- The hardest part of living gluten free isn’t the food, it’s the social situations and misunderstanding of the diet.
- Reading food labels and learning about food manufacturing is exhausting. It’s likely more complicated than you think and it’s important to read every label every time.
- Cross contamination with gluten containing foods causes damage to the gut with serious long-term health consequences. This is true even in people with celiac disease who have no obvious symptoms from consuming gluten.
- Gluten is a protein that can be washed away with soap and water. It can also hide in the cracks of cutting boards, knife blocks, utensils and dishcloths. A thorough wipe down of the kitchen counter area and items you use to cook can ensure you have a safe prep area. (see the checklist below)
- Shopping for gluten free ingredients can be inconvenient, expensive and frustrating. To cook a meal for someone with celiac disease focus on whole foods (anything that doesn’t need a label) and single ingredient foods like olive oil, red wine vinegar or black pepper.
- Many people with celiac disease cannot tolerate dairy and oats. This may improve over several months or years but not always. Planning meals that are dairy free is often a good choice.
K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple & Safe
Make the goal an easy gluten free meal and choose something you’ll all enjoy. Focus on whole foods, fresh herbs and expensive olive oil all prepared with simple seasoning. Plan ahead then clarify your plan with a single phone call well in advance. (see the checklist)
Checklist To Cook A Safe Gluten Free Meal For A Celiac
9 Easy Gluten Free Meals with Vegan and Vegetarian Options
Steamed asparagus or broccoli
|Garden Salad with oil and vinegar|
Roast Chicken with lemon
Roasted Root Vegetables
|BEAUTIFUL BOWLS with Vegan Options|
Buddha Bowl or
Santa Fe Salad (with or without chicken)
Pork Souvlaki with Steamed rice
Greek Summer Salad
|MAIN COURSE SALADS|
Blackened Steak Salad or
Mediterranean Salad Nicoise
|Arctic Char with Citrus Sauce or Shrimp|
5 Naturally Gluten Free Desserts
If you enjoy making dessert or want to make something together choose one that’s naturally gluten free.
I hope you’ll invite your friend for dinner and have a good time. Embrace a new lifestyle and raise your glasses to a new journey, a journey toward better health. I guarantee anyone can learn to cook a gluten free meal and enjoy a lifestyle that includes amazing food and good times in the kitchen. Cheers!