I love summer, because I get to spend so many hours outside doing some of my favorite things – gardening, hiking, going to the beach, and soaking up the sun. If you’re like me, you don’t spend nearly as many hours poring over making meals this time of year. And probably a lot more weekends with friends and family in backyards enjoying BBQ and beer.
But with a gluten-free dairy-free diet, this time of year can be tricky with all the hidden gluten and dairy in so many foods. I wanted to share some of my best tips to help you navigate this tricky time of year, so you can fully enjoy your summer, still eat refreshing treats, and feel good in your body.
I’m all about getting as much information as possible to help me along my journey, so throughout this post you’ll see that I’ve offered up a few extra resources for you to learn a little more or take the tips one step further. I encourage you to do more research so you’re well equipped for making this summer super easy to stick with your gluten and dairy-free diet.
1. Know what’s safe
It’s important when you’re living with any food intolerance, you know what foods are safe and which to stay away from. There are plenty of foods that are naturally gluten-free and dairy-free and these are the best ones to stick with. The more processed foods are the ones you want to be more conscious of and read ingredient labels.
These foods are always gluten-free and dairy-free: fruits, vegetables, gluten-free whole grains, nuts and seeds, and lean meats. As long as there aren’t any additions to them – basically anything processed, you can be 100% sure they are gluten-free and dairy-free. But if you only eat food without combining them with others (who does that?!), you’ll want to be more careful. Check ingredient lists as much as possible to ensure that what you have is in fact safe for you to eat.
If you’d like to learn even more about which foods are safe and how to stock your kitchen for success on a gluten and dairy-free diet, I highly recommend checking out my signature course, GFDF Living for Beginners.
2. Make a list of easy warm-weather gluten and dairy-free meals
One of the easiest ways to stick with your gluten-free dairy-free diet any time of year – but especially when it’s warm – is to make and keep a list of easy meals that are safe and require minimal to no cooking.
In the summer, I don’t want to be in the kitchen as much cooking, and would rather be out having adventures with my family, so I try to plan my meals ahead of time, and try to make sure plenty of them can either be cooked outside on a grill or I can leverage a lot of pre-cooked or prepped ingredients from the store (things like $5 Costco rotisserie chickens or bagged salad mix).
My family relies a lot on simple meals that don’t take too long. I share all my weekly dinner recipes in my gluten-free dairy-free menu planning service, GFDF Weekly.
3. Find alternatives to your favorite summer treats
So much of summer is all about the treats to keep you cool – popsicles, ice cream, and cool drinks. There are plenty of GFDF friendly options in the freezer section at your grocery store (my favorite is coconut ice cream!!), but you can make your own versions at home too. Here are a few things we make in our house:
4. Keep snacks on hand
I’m a big proponent of keeping snacks on hand for those in-a-pinch moments any time of year. But particularly in the summer when I’m out of the house more often, I make sure to have snacks on hand at all times.
I like to load up a big freezer bag with a ton of snacks like Larabars, nuts, homemade trail mix, and gluten-free beef jerky to keep in my car. This snack bag goes with us to the beach, hiking, and on our daily out-of-the-house adventures. This way, I’m always ready when I’m out of the house and haven’t had time to grab a meal yet. Make sure if you have kids there’s loads for them to enjoy in your snack bag too!
5. Know a few restaurants that are gluten-free dairy-free friendly
I don’t know about you, but in the summer, we eat out at restaurants more than the rest of the year. We get lazy when its hot out and sometimes its just nice to have someone else do the cooking for you. The tip here is to check ahead of time at online menus for restaurants you may go to so you can find safe options. Knowing where gluten and dairy hide in which foods and under which names can really come in handy here.
Even better, do this research all at once and make a list of safe places, so you can make recommendations and have choices available for your friends and family when it’s time to make a decision on where to eat.
I hope as you make your way through this summer that you’re prepared and ready for taking on any situation that you find yourself in! If you haven’t yet checked out my tips for summer parties and BBQ’s, you should read that next!
What are your best summer gluten and dairy-free stick-with-it tips? Share in the comments below!
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