Going on a picnic as a gluten free family can be different, especially when you are used to grabbing that package of hot dogs, cheap buns, all the condiments and chips. Here is a picnic sampler for that next trip to the beach that will satisfy everyone’s appetite (even Dad’s), but keep everyone healthy.
Ketchup is the food most kids love more than vegetables. They seek it out to cover their lack of desire to eat foreign food matter more than anything else. So, what do you do when you are on a gluten free, no sugar diet, and your kid loves ketchup? You make your own in a jiffy.
First, you open a can of tomato paste, without extra seasoning and scrape it into a pan. Most name brands do not have extra sugar or gluten based seasonings, but check the labels to be sure.
Second, you mix in 1/2 tsp of sea salt, 1/2 tsp of pepper, ¼ tsp of cinnamon, and ¼ cup of agave syrup or other liquid sweetner. Then add 1/4 cup of apple cider or other gluten free vinegar, and ¾ cup of water. Cook and stir it for 30 minutes over medum-low heat, or heat it in a microwave safe bowl for 1-3 minutes. Finally, cool and then pour into a jar or other container, for storage in the refrigerator.
Sandwiches can be problematic for the gluten free family. The bread doesn’t taste the same, and the kids in particular are wondering why they have to suffer. There are actually several different gluten free bread mixes available at the store, and the ingredients can be placed into a bread maker, and made overnight. I have also successfully put my favorite recipe into my bread maker and had fresh bread that way too.
You can also buy loafs of gluten free bread, but I have to warn you—they are not for big guys. There are many varieties out there such as rice, tapioca, and other mixes, but it comes down to size and your family’s needs.
If your family is like ours, chips are still a desired food. Since chips in the grocery store can be filled with seasonings that are not gluten free, the ingredients should be checked. Even veggie chips can have a gluten seasoning that causes gastrointestinal illness with only a handful of chips. The best chip choices are organic, simply salted with sea salt, or natural, with no extra flavorings. Corn chips, potato chips, and some veggie chip varieties are okay.
Chip or vegetable dips can also be made quickly and easily. This can be in the form of avocado dip, salsa, bean dip, or a mayonnaise-based dip below.
Mayonnaise Dip: First, scoop 2 cups of gluten free mayonnaise into a container. Add ½ tsp of sea salt, ½ tsp of black pepper, and ½ tsp of dry mustard, and ¾ tsp of dill weed. Stir it all together, and let seal the container for later use. Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Avocado Dip: Make a salsa base in a food processor with 6 tomatoes, ¼ cup of onion, 2 cloves of garlic, ½ tsp of salt, ½ tsp of pepper, ½ tsp of cumin and a few sprigs of cilantro (if your eaters can tolerate it, add 1 or 2 jalepenos). Set the salsa aside, and process 2-4 avocados, depending on the number of people., until they are a dip consistency. Add ¼ cup of salsa per large avocado, and puree more until the dip is mixed. Keep in a tightly sealed container up to 24 hours. Squeeze a little bit of lemon juice in to keep an extra day.
Bean Dip: Make a salsa base listed above and set aside. Puree 2 cups of beans in a food processor. Add ½ cup of salsa per cup of beans. Puree until mixed and place in a tightly sealed container.
Buying a good sized cooler with plenty of ice packs, will allow you to take all the necessary items you need for a gluten free celebratory picnic. Taking your special diet with you can be easy with a little bit of planning—all in time for the holiday.