Oct 11 2013

Going Gluten Free At The Office

Published by at 7:25 pm under Workplace

Businesswoman Blowing Out the Candles on Her Birthday CakeSticking to your gluten-free diet in the confines of your home can be easy as long as you don’t have family members or roommates stuffing the pantry with all sorts of gluten-laden goodies. In most cases, however, you can limit your exposure to gluten products in your own home and stay stocked with lots of yummy gluten-free snacks and meals.

Outside the home, things can get tricky, especially in the workplace. No matter what size company you work at, it’s likely that co-workers will bring in brownies, cookies and donuts on occasion to celebrate a special event like a birthday.

If you work in a corporate environment, you may be expected to take clients out to lunch at a restaurant of their choosing. You could also find yourself trapped in a lunch meeting when you have no control over what is served.

In all of these instances, not only do you have to keep your own hunger in check, but you may also feel like a loner by declining the food offered. The best way to deal with these circumstances is to be upfront about the fact that you don’t or can’t eat gluten. If you have celiac disease or a gluten allergy, then that should be reason enough for your co-workers to understand why you don’t eat gluten. If you choose a gluten-free diet for health reasons, then it may take a little bit more explaining to convince everyone.

Be polite but consistent when turning down food. If you feel comfortable, ask for special considerations during lunch meetings (maybe a lettuce wrap instead of a sandwich with a bun). Most people will be understanding of dietary limitations. If you are taking a client out to lunch, for instance, try suggesting a few different restaurants in the area where you know you can order a gluten free meal instead of letting the client throw out the initial suggestion.

Always stock up on your own snacks and meals at the office. Many offices include a kitchen with a fridge and cabinets where you can store snacks and foods. If the boss orders pizza for everyone, you can dip into your stores to put together your own meal. It will also help you resist all the gluten goodies if you have a few candy bars or some trail mix stashed in your drawer or somewhere in the kitchen.

Most importantly, don’t feel embarrassed about your gluten-free diet. Whether it’s a medical necessity or a lifestyle choice, you have the right to determine your own diet. If you explain this to your co-workers in a polite and respectful way, most will be understanding and considerate toward your needs.

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