Although only a very small percentage of people are allergic to gluten, many others are affected by it indirectly too. Even a small amount of gluten that enters a Celiac sufferer’s plate may be enough to make them sick. For this reason, families, school cafeterias, restaurants, and food manufacturers all have to take great care in preparing food. For commercial businesses, there are industry practices put in place for gluten allergy sufferers. However, many people at home are not quite sure exactly how to maintain a gluten-free kitchen. In this article, we will address this issue, along with other aspects of gluten-free cooking.

Hygiene in the Gluten-Free Kitchen

Kosher kitchens have certain rules for using entirely separate dishes and utensils for meat and dairy products. Similarly, in a gluten-free kitchen, it is necessary to use a few separate tools for certain things. When cooking, it is best to cook the gluten-free foods first. Never use utensils that have touched foods with gluten to cook gluten-free foods. Always ensure that pots, pans, dishes and even general preparation areas are thoroughly cleaned before using them to cook gluten-free foods. Finally, wash your hands before preparing or touching gluten-free foods and ingredients.

Gluten-Free Food Storage Techniques

Special care should be taken in storing gluten-free foods away from other foods to avoid cross-contamination. Use separate containers for them. Especially in the case of toasters, keep a separate one for Celiac sufferers so that gluten particles do not enter their toast. Condiments and spreads should also be kept free of gluten. For example, use a separate butter dish for Celiac sufferers to avoid bread crumbs from gluten breads being left on the butter. It is generally best to keep gluten-free products on a separate shelf or cabinet. Always label them clearly so that they do not get mixed or used elsewhere by mistake.

Preparing Food for Gluten Allergy Sufferers

The first step to gluten-free food preparation is knowing which items to avoid when shopping. Many innocent-looking items like packaged gravy, beer, soup mixes, and salad dressings actually do contain gluten ingredients. Always read the ingredient list before purchasing something. One of the easiest ways to start cooking gluten-free is to use foods that naturally do not contain any gluten. These types of foods can be adapted for the whole family, to save you from having to cook two separate sets of meals. For example, fresh, unprocessed meat, potatoes, fruits and vegetables, corn, rice, and beans are all perfect examples of gluten-free foods. It is also a lot healthier than using pre-packaged processed foods! In many cases, gluten-free flours or other safe ingredients can be used as substitutes for regular items. For example, if a soup or sauce is too thin, thicken it with a little rice flour or stir in mashed potatoes! Baking with gluten can be a little tricky, so if you are baking for a special occasion, do try a smaller test batch in advance to make sure that the recipe is reliable.

Children on a Gluten-Free Diet

It can certainly be difficult to cope with children who suddenly have to be switched to a gluten-free diet. Suddenly many of their favorite foods are forbidden. To start, help them understand what Celiac disease is, and what happens if they consume gluten foods. The resources below offer some games, activity packs, and cooking tips to help kids come to terms with a gluten-free diet and become more involved in preparing their meals. There are also plenty of gluten-free recipes online for meals and treats that are specifically developed to appeal to kids’ palettes and their affinity for attractive-looking foods.

Additional Tips and Resources

Going gluten-free initially seems like a very big change for most people. However, continuing to think like that and obsessing about gluten foods can make it even more difficult. Approach it as a challenge and see how many great meals and snacks you can make that are gluten-free. It certainly helps to meet other Celiac disease sufferers through gluten-free clubs or associations. They can help to introduce you to alternate cooking techniques and new recipe ideas. In the end you’ll see that eating gluten-free is actually not that bad at all. It simply requires a change of mind.