Eating gluten-free is something that involves your entire life. You can’t just eat gluten-free at home. One of the most difficult places to keep to a gluten-free diet is the office. With all the candy, doughnuts and homemade treats people bring into the office sticking to your gluten-free diet will be a challenge. You also have to worry about cross contamination.
Start with talking to your office manager or human resources department. Communicate your needs clearly and offer reading materials about gluten-free diets to those who would like to learn more. Be prepared to explain your needs clearly.
Ask for some gluten-free counter, shelf and refrigerator space. If necessary, and allowed, you could create a gluten-free kitchen in your office with a mini fridge, microwave, toaster and a small table.
Bring your own meals, snacks and drinks a whenever possible and label everything clearly. Make sure everything you bring is sealed completely to avoid cross contamination. Bring your own condiments and never share.
If you tire of eating frozen or pre-packaged meals at the office set aside a portion of your dinner from the night before and package it for lunch. Bring your own paper plates, plastic utensils, paper napkins and zip lock baggies to keep in your office. You may want to keep these in a locked drawer.
Eating out with co-workers or clients should be something you enjoy but it can be a problem if you need to eat gluten-free. Do your own research and find restaurants that offer gluten-free options. If they say yes then your research is not done. You’ll need to find out if they use separate pots, pans, plates, cups, etc. for gluten-free guests. Ask if their staff has been trained to accommodate gluten-free diners and if they use a separate preparation area for these types of dishes.
Many offices have the tradition of bringing in food for staff or to celebrate certain milestones like birthdays. You won’t have to miss out if you bring in gluten-free goodies on those days and take the opportunity to share your how delicious gluten-free food can be with your colleagues.
If you are struggling to transition to a gluten-free lifestyle consult with a nutritionist who can help you create a plan that will work for you.
Gretchen Scalpi is a Registered Dietitian, author and Certified Wellcoach® who has celiac disease and knows the challenges of eating right with this condition. Gretchen is pleased to announce her new online program “Gluten-free Bootcamp’, designed to help those who need to follow the gluten-free diet. If you are new to the gluten-free lifestyle for medical or health reasons, you’ll want to attend Gretchen’s new free webinar “Five Things You Should Know Before Going Gluten-free” at How To Be Gluten-Free In The Office.