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4 tips for staying gluten-free at work
For many of us, a gluten-free diet is more than a preference—it’s a lifestyle. Whether you’re on a diet or have a certain condition like Celiac disease, you’ll need to ensure the right food is always accessible.
Unfortunately, this restriction extends to every aspect of life, including the workplace. It can be frustrating when work events at restaurants or holiday parties don’t have food to include people like us. That’s why we’re here with 4 tips to help you stay gluten-free in the workplace.
1) Make Your Diet Known!
The number one thing you can do to avoid diet-related problems at work is to inform your co-workers, or at least your bosses. That way, people have the opportunity to be sensitive when it comes to bringing office snacks or picking restaurants. Many people don’t even know what gluten is, so if you tell them about your dietary needs, you can also teach someone valuable information.
The office party is one of the dreaded events for gluten-free folk. If your office orders catering, suggest a spot that will accommodate gluten-free diets. Places like Pinjarra Bakery, for example, specialize in finger food catering that is gluten-free. This is just one example of a business that offers delicious gluten-free options for large groups.
2) Bring Your Snacks
This is the most popular option for many of us. Bringing your own food will ensure there is gluten-free food. It also will prevent cross-contamination with any gluten, just in case.
If your office has a fridge and cabinets, store a consistent stock of work snacks there. This way, if any co-worker brings in sweets you can’t eat, it’s easy to resist temptation with your own food stock. Just make sure all of it is correctly labeled if it stays in a communal place!
3) Take the Lead on Food Suggestions
If your co-workers have the average diet, they won’t know the best gluten-free restaurants in town. Whether you know specialized restaurants or restaurants with appropriate options, telling others will help them to better accommodate your needs.
This also will help if you take regular lunches or dinners with clients. If your business lets the client pick, give some suggestions for suitable options. It’s always best to explain your dietary restrictions, so people are more willing to pick a restaurant where you can eat as well. Who knows, the client may also have similar diet restrictions and may appreciate your suggestion.
4) Find a Buddy
If you are honest about your gluten-free lifestyle, chances are, you’ll find people around you in the same situation. Find someone who shares the diet and eat with them at events, so you don’t feel secluded. This will also encourage multiple gluten-free options at potlucks if both of you bring coordinating meals.
You also don’t need to find someone on the same diet. After finding gluten-free food in your area, invite co-workers to join you there for lunch. You may find friends who will voluntarily skip out on gluten-rich office meals and snacks as a sign of solidarity.
Eating anywhere outside the house as a gluten-free person can be intimidating. After all, there are still many places that don’t account for certain dietary restrictions. However, making your fellow workers aware of these needs is the first step to teaching the world about the gluten-free diet.
Always remember that you don’t need to be ashamed of your diet. Everyone has unique needs, especially when it comes to food. If you need to be gluten-free for your allergies or other health reasons, be open and honest about it. You deserve respect just as much as anyone else.