I recently attended a military function with my husband. It was at a very nice venue and I was relieved when I discovered that they had a gluten-free menu option. For those of you who’ve never had the pleasure of eating out or attending a social event when you have to be gluten-free (sarcasm intended), consider yourself to be fortunate. I do not exaggerate when I say that it can be a very difficult experience. Not only is there the fear of cross-contamination and a subsequent gluten exposure, there is also the side effect of being starving and having nothing to eat for the duration of the event.
Side note. If you’re anything like me, you become a raging bitch when you’re starving, but that’s beside the point.
This was an event that required some mingling to visit with other military officers, soldiers, and their spouses, so my husband and I left our table and worked the crowd, so to speak. When we returned, my salad plate had been delivered, right beside my gluten-free sign. The salad was romaine lettuce, topped with shredded parmesan and buttery herb croutons.
The moral of the story…
When attending a social event gluten-free, be very afraid.
Now, I don’t believe all social events to be like this. In fact, last summer I loved every bit of labeled gluten-free goodness at my cousin’s wedding reception. Occasionally you’ll come across knowledgeable chefs and wait staff, but the majority of these events are not special-order functions. It’s kind of like the old saying, “you get what you get, and don’t throw a fit.”
Therefore, I’ll share with you some of my tips for braving the buffet line gluten-free.
- Try to contact the host of the event to see if gluten-free is an option before the evening of the party. Follow up with the manager of the venue to ensure that the chef knows that you have an allergy.
- Eat something before you arrive so that you’re not starving in the event that gluten-free options are not available.
- Pack protein snacks, such as almonds or cashews in your purse.
- If consuming alcohol, stick with wine. Beer has barley, which contains gluten.
- When dessert is served, ask if fresh fruit is an option.
- If a food looks too good to be true- seasonings, gravy, crisp potatoes that were likely battered in flour- it probably is.
- Trust your instincts. You know what makes you ill. Don’t be pressured into days worth of sickness because someone said you can’t leave without trying just one bite of decadent raspberry cheesecake.
Most importantly, do your research ahead of time and take care of your body because it’s the only one you have.
Do you have any tips of attending social events gluten-free? I’d love to hear them.