A Gluten-Free Summer

Looking for summer recipe inspiration?

Anxiety-ridden about how to eat safely gluten-free at all those summer BBQs and events?

Look no further. The Celiac Canada dietitian team has pulled together everything you need to know about eating safely during the summer.

Read on to enjoy the summer with a full belly and peace of mind.

BBQ season has arrived! Five top tips for staying safe at the grill.

Set up separate tables

  • One designated gluten free only & the other with gluten-containing foods

Either cook gluten-free (GF) food first or designate the top rack to gluten free only

  • Cross contact can occur if gluten containing food is being grilled above GF foods – so keep GF foods on the top rack and gluten-containing foods on the bottom.

Use tinfoil or bbq mats

  • Tinfoil or a silicone bbq mat helps create a barrier between GF food and the rack
  • This can be helpful even if you have a designated GF rack as it helps prevent any gluten that may be stuck on the rack from touching and contaminating your food
  • And remember, the high heat from the grill does NOT kill gluten.

Use multiple dishes and utensils

  • Different tongs, forks, knives, grill-cleaning brushes.
  • Clearly label all utensils as GF and keep them away from the others

Use squeeze bottles for condiments including ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard and relish

  • This will help avoid contamination through double dipping. Or designate GF condiments and keep them away from non-GF condiments.

Wash your hands thoroughly after handling gluten-containing foods. 

Attending a BBQ? Prepare in advance.

Call ahead and talk to the host to provide a friendly reminder

  • Fresh foods like chicken, pork and vegetables are GF but the sauces and marinades used can contain gluten – ask for a plain piece without marinade or offer to bring your own, usually this is welcomed!

Serve yourself first to reduce the risk of cross contact as things tend to get messy the more people that have gone ahead.


As always, when in doubt, eat in advance or go without!

Gluten-Free Summertime Beverages


Distilled alcohol is gluten free even if made with a gluten-containing grain. This is because during processing the alcohol evaporates into special equipment where it cools and forms a pure distilled liquid, leaving the heavier solid materials (aka. gluten) behind. Examples of distilled alcohol include bourbon whiskey, brandy, gin, Irish whiskey, rum, rye whiskey, scotch whiskey, tequila and vodka.

Always read the labels of flavoured vodkas because flavourings and other ingredients may be added after distillation.

Gluten-free cocktails like margaritas, mojitos, cosmopolitans are generally safe, however be sure the cocktail shakers are properly washed out, as well as your glass, and be sure to read all drink mix labels.


Gluten-free beer that is safe for those with celiac disease must be made from gluten-free grains. This could include grains such as millet, sorghum, buckwheat, amaranth, rice or quinoa. When made from a gluten-free grain, these beers are permitted to state ‘gluten free’ on the label.

Gluten free beer cannot be made from gluten-containing grains including wheat, rye, barley or triticale. Gluten-reduced beers are not considered gluten free.

Heading to Summer Camp?

Download this camp letter (word document) and customize it to help their care providers understand what celiac disease is and how they can help your child stay safe.

Start the Conversation on Dining Out Celiac Safe

More and more restaurants are offering “gluten free” menu items, but providing a safe gluten-free dining experience requires the combined efforts of the kitchen and serving staff. Some restaurants have developed extensive policies and procedures to achieve this, others have not. Here are some questions you might want to use to determine whether the restaurant or foodservice establishment is really able to serve you safely.

Donate to Your Local Foodbank

With rising food costs and inflation, don’t forget to pay it forward this summer. Print out our gluten-free logo and attach it to your food bank donation. So many families are currently in need of gluten-free food.

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