Eating in shared spaces

The main thing to remember is that preparing and cooking gluten free meals is the same as it would be with gluten-containing recipes – you just have to be careful to avoid gluten, and watch out for cross-contamination. Mealtimes needn’t be a hassle, nor do you have to be Jamie Oliver, once you learn the basics!

Remember the following advice and you’ll have no gluten stress in your shared accommodation…

Be prepared!

If you don’t have gluten free food to snack on and you’re sharing a house with non-coeliacs who have lots of goodies, then you may be tempted to settle for something unsuitable – which will undo all your hard work. To avoid this, make sure you always have something at the ready! Check out our section on sticking to your gluten free diet for more info.

To help avoid cross contamination, we recommend you have your own cooking equipment.

We suggest the following as essentials…

  • Mixing spoon
  • Frying pan
  • Saucepan
  • Colander
  • Baking tray
  • Oven dish
  • A set of tea towels
  • Kitchen roll
  • Dishcloth/sponge
  • Cling film
  • Tin foil
  • Sandwich bags
  • Cutlery
  • Plates and bowls (more than one of each)
  • A sharp knife
  • Scissors
  • Storage containers
  • Food labels and pens

If you absolutely can’t have your own baking tray for the oven, then securely cover any (clean!) shared ones with a fresh piece of tin foil each time before placing your food on to cook.
We also suggest getting yourself a separate toaster and clearly labelling it to make sure that nobody else uses it to stop any gluten crumbs making their way into it. If you can’t do this, then toaster bags are available at very reasonable prices.

Ask for help, but don’t be stubborn!

It’s totally reasonable to expect your fellow housemates to be considerate, but if all else fails (and sometimes it will), you must put ‘gluten free’ first and do it yourself. If you’re at all worried about being labelled ‘OCD’ or ‘clean freak,’ just remember that if anything, your friends will thank you for keeping the kitchen clean!

Keep your food separate

Sounds like an obvious one, but it’s a good idea to have a designated gluten free shelf in the fridge. Again, this is a very common student thing to do anyway. Try your best to nab the top shelf to avoid anything dripping or dropping onto your gluten free food, and always always always keep everything well covered with cling film or resealable sandwich bags/storage containers to avoid any chance of cross-contamination. You can label your food too – this will help you and your housemates a great deal and is definitely worth the effort!

Keep the kitchen clean

Here’s a quick ‘kitchen clean’ checklist:

  • * Always wipe down countertops before and after food preparation
  • * Keep your cupboard and fridge shelf clean and crumb-free
  • * Thoroughly scrub all kitchen utensils after use and store them separately

If you’ve got any other tips, why not share them below? Don’t forget that our section on sticking to your gluten free diet contains useful advice for what to store in your cupboard!