From a small dinner-party to a large gathering, hosting an event can be stressful. You need to plan the decor, the guest list, and the menu! While it’s easy to focus on table settings, the latter two topics are most important- your guests + the food. More and more, folks are discovering food allergies and intolerances (gluten being a very common one!), and any good host should be aware of this when planning. Whether your guests have celiac disease, a gluten intolerance, or other food allergies- it is important to be mindful when planning the meal. You should be careful, prepared, and most of all- accommodating. This ensures everyone (including you!) is comfortable and ready to enjoy the party! 

To help, we’ve called in gluten-free entertaining expert Lisa Thiele of With Style & Grace. She’s a whiz in the kitchen- creating beautiful, delicious meals and sharing entertaining ideas along the way. On her blog, she helps people understand food allergies and ways to work around them. Her advice has become so sought-after, she’s released an e-book!! On each page you’ll find flavorful recipes, entertaining guidelines, and tips for embracing a gluten-free lifestyle. It’s perfect for anyone who fears they might have a gluten-sensitivity (or who has loved ones who do). Today, Lisa shares her Top 5 Tips directly with Rue for successful gluten-free entertaining: 

Entertaining can be intimidating, and then you add a gluten allergy, you might as well throw in your hostess hat. My goal is to eliminate the intimidation and make it a pleasant experience, for everyone. For instance, let’s take a pizza party. Whether it’s for the kids or adults, we all love pizza and we all love a party. Here are 5 Entertaining Tips that can be applied to any kind of party.

ONE: Be Careful of your work station. Prepare your gluten-free dish(es) first, before the gluten-filled ones to help avoid cross-contamination. Use separate cutting boards, knives, pans, etc. Once you’ve finished, set aide before you begin the prep for the other dishes.

TWO: Check labels. When you’re buying packaged items, be sure to double check the ingredients (no wheat, barley, rye or triticale). A few items that you would’t suspect – taco seasoning, barbecue sauce, marinades/dressing, are just a few that contain wheat. Don’t worry there’s alternatives for almost everything. Nowadays, many brands are putting a big ol’ ‘GLUTEN-FREE’ right on the front of the package, especially pizza.

THREE: It isn’t a party without drinks. Unfortunately, beer and some hard alcohol contain gluten. Be sure to have a 6 pack of gluten-free beer on hand (especially for pizza night) or wine as another option. Or tequila…

FOUR: Put a sign next to the gluten-free dish(es). This will help guests identify what’s safe (and not safe) to eat. This will also keep you from having to point it out 100 times.

FIVE: Let your gluten-free guests dish up first. Again, this is one other way to avoid cross contamination. For instance, say someone dips their [gluten] cracker in the hummus or uses the hummus knife to spread it on their BREAD. That can be a real party pooper.

As Lisa explained, a few simple steps will make for a totally successful soiree!! For more information on Lisa, a gluten-free diet, or to buy her book- please click here.