Snacking, baking, and cooking can be tricky when allergies and dietary restrictions are involved. But there’s a community of individuals in the same situation with tips, tricks, and recipes to keep things tasting good and healthy.
My gluten-free and vegan recipes arise from a hodgepodge of experimentation and inspiration.
Here are some tips for making food when you have allergies or diets to adhere to:
1. Buy in bulk
Packaged and processed foods get costly when you have to buy something with a sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, all-natural or organic label. Though most of my food is fresh, I do rely on some shelf products for easier cooking.
My mornings used to start with cereal before I had to start reading labels. Now, I eat oatmeal with fruit every morning. I buy oatmeal and frozen blueberries in bulk from Amazon or Costco. In the long run, it saves me money and a lot of trips to the store.
2. Cook in bulk
In addition to buying in bulk, cooking in bulk helps me eat healthy. Because I rely on home-cooked meals instead of packaged or restaurant dinners and lunches, I would spend a lot of time in the kitchen without preparing in bulk. Pulling 60-hour work weeks makes me not want to cook every night, so I dedicate one night to preparing lunch and dinner for most of the week.
Most of my leftovers are good for a week in the fridge and can be eaten cold and on-the-go if necessary. Quinoa medleys and squash are a favorite of mine because they’re jam-packed with nutrition while being extremely filling. And, I don’t have to stand over the stove top constantly stirring. The hands-on prep time is minimal.
3. Make extra to share
When you have dietary restrictions, it’s often difficult for people to conceive what you put into your mouth on a daily basis. You’re probably tired of hearing people say, “What do you eat?”
If you’re packing some delicious allergy-free cookies to snack on at work, chances are, your co-workers will want some. But they have preconceived notions that the cookies can’t taste good without butter, eggs, wheat flour or sugar. Prove them wrong! Bring along a few extra goodies to share. It helps educate and open their minds. And who knows? They just might whip up an allergy-free recipe to share with you down the road!
4. Experiment in the kitchen
If you stick to following recipes on the Internet, you will be running to the store a lot to pick up items you only use once. If a recipe calls for flax seed but you’ve got applesauce on-hand, try using that as an egg replacer. If it calls for almond flour but you’ve got rice flour, try that.
**This post was inspired by SkinnyPop, a healthy, gluten-free option for popcorn snacking.