November 25, 2016   |   Gluten-Free Living   |   Little Northern Bakehouse

Don’t get caught by surprise: gluten can lurk in these favorite summertime foods.

Finally, picnic season has arrived! Time to gather your favorite folks, spread a giant blanket on a grassy lawn, enjoy conversation or perhaps a concert—and, of course, a basket brimming with summer’s favorite treats.

But don’t let unexpected gluten sneak into your alfresco eats and spoil the fun. Be sure to carefully read the labels when shopping for these popular picnic foods:

Pickles

Pickles Naturally, cucumbers are gluten free. But watch out if they’re pickled with malt vinegar—it’s made from ale, which contains wheat. Look for pickles brined in white vinegar, or labeled gluten free.

Salad Dressing

Bottled salad dressings often contain gluten in the form of wheat flour, which is used as a thickening agent. Choose a gluten-free brand, or make your own with olive oil, vinegar and your favorite herbs.

Plant-based meat alternatives

Seitan and several other vegan or plant-based “meat” products contain gluten in the form of wheat protein or a wheat-based binder. Carefully check labels for ingredients that may contain gluten.

Frozen treats

If you want to stock your cooler with ice cream or other refreshing cold treats, check for wheat ingredients, including wheat starch, malt, and some artificial colors and flavors. Avoid flavors like cookie dough, cookie bits, and cake or brownie batter.

Pudding

Again, wheat-based thickeners are often culprits in this comfort food. Caramel coloring, cocoa powder, and other ingredients may contain gluten, and the food may have been processed on equipment that also handles wheat-based ingredients. To be sure, choose a gluten-free brand.