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Bootin’ Gluten from the BBQ

There’s a lot of buzz this month at some area grocery stores when it comes to gluten, especially so close to so many Memorial Weekend cookouts!   May is C...

There's a lot of buzz this month at some area grocery stores when it comes to gluten, especially so close to so many Memorial Weekend cookouts!   May is Celiac Awareness Month.  According to healthcare professionals, celiac disease is  "an immune disorder in which people cannot tolerate gluten because it damages the inner lining of their small intestine and prevents it from absorbing nutrients. Even a small amount of gluten can cause a reaction and small intestine damage. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley and occasionally in some products such as vitamin and nutrient supplements, lip balms, and certain medications."

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that, "1 in 141 individuals have celiac disease, though most are misdiagnosed or undiagnosed."

Head here for more information from NIH.

To explain the meaning behind this month and offer suggestions for a gluten free barbecue, Weis Markets registered dietitians Elizabeth Stark and Kathryn Long joined Newswatch 16's Ryan Leckey today to take a bite out of this topic.  They explained celiac disease and healthy options for your upcoming barbecue.  They also explain how some supermarkets, including Weis Markets, are offering easier to identify labels on their products for those with a gluten sensitivity. Click here to check out those labels!

The following are tips from Weis Markets dietitians  to help you host a Memorial Weekend Cookout with some gluten free grilling options.  Here's the salad recipe showcased at 6:15 a.m. today.  To make this gluten free, replace "Farro" with brown rice.  And, use Ken's light balsamic vinaigrette.

If you are hosting a cookout with GF guests or attending a BBQ as one who follows a GF lifestyle, here’s how to get grillin’ the safe and gluten free way:

Stick to the Basics

There are many naturally gluten free grilling options to serve:

Plain, unseasoned/unmarinated chicken breast, plain lean turkey or beef burgers without bread crumbs being used as a binder, plain fish, lean plain steak.


Be aware of common BBQ foods/condiments that MAY contain gluten-containing ingredients

Salad dressings

Seasoning mixes and rubs

BBQ sauces


Hot dogs



Soy sauce

Veggie burgers

Swap out the GF ingredients

Replace gluten-containing grains in pasta and chilled salads with quinoa, rice, GF pasta or ‘zoodles’

Combat cross contamination

Make sure the grill grates have been cleaned and that gluten free foods are not placed on where gluten-containing sauces, marinades, etc have been. Or, go a step further and grill GF foods on foil.

Allow GF individual to serve themselves first

Separate platters, utensils, servingware, bowls of snacks, dips etc

Stick with squeezable condiments vs jars (PROPS)

Label foods as gluten-free so guests know what is safe to eat (PROPS)

Don’t toast GF buns and rolls in a toaster used with non-GF breads


Encourage guests that follow a GF diet to bring their own dish or 2 to share

Talk it out

Discuss what can/cannot be eaten with the host or guest to make the party as stress free and enjoyable as possible

Finally, Weis dietitians say if you're unsure if you have celiac disease, there are several ways healthcare providers can test for it:

a medical and family history

a physical exam

blood tests

an intestinal biopsy

a skin biopsy