As the holidays approach, you may be searching for a great gift idea for someone that adheres to a gluten- free diet. I personally enjoy finding unique gifts for my friends and family so I have included items you may not have thought of or known about. I wanted to bring in different perspectives and ideas to fit any budget. Use this list to simplify your gift buying or provide it to relatives asking for ideas. From practical to extravagant, there is something for anyone on a gluten-free diet!
Budget to low cost
1. Reusable lunch bags or food containers: A reusable lunch bag or thermos is a staple for anyone on a special diet, and designers and innovators are turning these formerly humdrum articles into works of art. I think of these items as an expression of someone’s unique personality so find one that fits the adult or child for whom you are buying. I am including a link to an impressive variety of products available, as well as a site selling retro lunch boxes for those looking for lunch with a vintage twist.
2. Gluten-free travel items: Previously used items like toasters, colanders and cutting boards can’t be used safely by anyone on a strict gluten-free diet. Buy one or all of the following for the gluten-free traveler: toaster bags, foldable colanders, silicone cutting boards and individual condiment packs. All are inexpensive practical items that can easily fit into any travel bag.
3. Cookbook: There are hundreds of popular gluten-free cookbooks available in a delicious variety of approaches. Peruse your local independent bookstore or read the reviews on Amazon to find one tailored to your recipient’s palate. For the adventurous, consider an ethnic cookbook that may not be gluten free but contains recipes that are easily adapted. Indian, Persian and Thai recipes are easily modified to be gluten free.
4. Pizza stone: Gluten-free pizza is an easy and quick meal for many. A pizza stone makes it taste that much better!
5. Gift basket: A quick Internet search for “gluten-free gift basket” will provide you with ideas and pre-made baskets to fit any need. If you are feeling energetic, create your own basket with their favorite gluten-free foods. Add some new ones for fun!
6. Gift card to a favorite gluten-free restaurant: This can be modified to fit any budget. For easiest ideas, choose their favorite restaurant or a “safe” chain restaurant. The Gluten Free Travel Site contains a helpful list as a starting point. As always, dining out needs to be approached with caution and research, even if gluten-free menus or options are available.
7. Magazine Subscription: A number of magazines focus on gluten-free diets and food allergies and cater to the gluten-free community. Consider a gift subscription to Allergic Living, Delight, GFF, Gluten-Free Living, Living Without’s Gluten Free & More and Simply Gluten Free. Subscriptions are affordable and provide a year of information and recipes!
For Gluten-Free Kids
8. Individual cupcake holder: They make it more fun and much more convenient to bring a gluten-free child’s cupcake to birthday parties and school functions. My favorites include the Evriholder Cupcake-2-Go, theFox Run Cupcake to Go and the Sure Fresh Individual Reusable Cupcake Containers & Lids.
9. Make gluten-free play dough: You can purchase pre-made gluten free play dough, but I find it hard to use and even more difficult for little hands to manipulate. A better idea is to make your own – it’s easy. Try my favorite recipe from the Celiac Support Association. Decorate a cute air-tight container for additional smiles!
10. Children’s books: There are several books aimed at children who adhere to a gluten-free diet or have celiac disease. These books help a child understand their need for a special diet and make them feel part of a bigger community. These also make a great gift for family members, teachers and school libraries. Check out Eating Gluten-Free with Emily: A Story for Children with Celiac Disease and Willie Villie Meets Casey Kramps in Sprueville: A Book About Celiac Disease. Most children love to help cook and bake, and when food is the ‘medicine,’ it also provides them with skills for life. Choose from lists of gluten-free cookbooks for kids onAmazon and Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef.
11. Gluten-free camp: Offer to send the child to a gluten-free camp. The Celiac Disease Foundation has a list of gluten-free camps in the United States and the Coeliac Youth of Europe lists camps in Europe. This is a most amazing way to create community for a child and allow them to realize they are not alone in having to adhere to a restricted diet and the struggles that come with it. And they are fun! CDF also offers “camperships” to make camp more affordable (make a donation in a child’s name!). Children in Northern California are eligible to attend Camp Celiac at Camp Arroyo, only a $25 registration fee.
12. Pizza Boxes: This may sound like an unusual gift and perhaps is best given to the child’s parents. Pizza is a staple party and sporting event food. Although gluten-free pizza is available at many pizzerias now, it is often brought from home. Kids love getting their gluten-free pizza in a box so they feel just like everyone else. You can buy boxes close to home at your local pizzeria or online. Either will be a welcome surprise when it comes time to partake in a slice!
If you are trying to find something with a personal touch, consider the following:
13. Dine out together: Research a 100% gluten-free restaurant or bakery in your area and take them there. One of the best treats for someone on a restricted diet is to be able to eat without worry! If 100% gluten-free is unavailable in your area, search out safe gluten-free dining options (or stealthily ask the recipient for suggestions if they struggle with dining out). Call ahead, make reservations and let them dine in safety, hassle-free. People on restricted diets relish not having to research a restaurant and talk to the chef or manager in advance. Do the work for them.
14. Cook a “safe” meal for your friend or loved one: This will require a coordinated effort with the person you are cooking for. Ask them questions regarding safe meal preparation, honor their answers and their need to double check ingredients and preparation methods withoutjudgment. They will appreciate your efforts more than you can imagine. This will also teach you how to safely cook for them in the future once you see how easy it is!
15. Gluten Contamination Recovery “Kit”: Accidental exposure is inevitable and can substantially disrupt a person’s day-to-day life. Help them recover with a little more ease by creating a gift basket containing some simple items: a water bottle, Tylenol, Ginger chews, charcoal tablets, ginger, slippery elm or fennel tea, a lavender eye pad and an app or CD that eases the anxiety and sleeplessness that often accompanies accidental contamination.
16. Donate to a good cause. If you are buying for “the person who has everything” or you want to teach your little ones about the importance of giving, consider a charitable donation to a medical research center or nonprofit organization. (Lists are intended to be examples, not all-inclusive.)
Beth Israel Deaconess Celiac Center
Center for Celiac Research & Treatment at MassGeneral
Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University
University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center
Celiac Community Foundation of Northern California
Celiac Disease Foundation
National Foundation for Celiac Awareness
Luxurious Gluten-Free Gifts
If cost is not a worry, or a splurge is the intention, consider one of the following:
17. Plan a gluten-free getaway: For a special someone, plan a gluten-free trip. Relax and enjoy with no worries about food!
18. Personal Chef: This is just about every person’s dream who is on a restricted diet! This gift will require some research in your region and discussion with the chef regarding their familiarity with cooking gluten free and knowledge of cross contamination risks for someone with celiac disease or severe non-celiac wheat sensitivity. The work you put into this gift will bring endless smiles to anyone on a gluten-free diet!
19. Gluten-free food delivery service: This can be a one time delivery option or ongoing, depending on budget. A recent article inGluten Free Living Magazine compares current delivery service options and offers helpful information.
20. Bread Maker: The Zojirushi breadmaker is “the ultimate” in bread makers for the gluten-free baker. Read this summary for additional bread maker options.
I hope these ideas make your gluten-free gift giving easy and fun! Happy Holidays to all!
*Products and services described in this article are personal or general suggestions, and lists of products and organizations are not intended to be all-inclusive. I do not accept compensation for endorsements.
Past columns by Dr. Burkhart:
April/May 2016: Reasons People Follow a Gluten Free Diet: 7 Types of Gluten Free Dieters
March 2016: Ten Positive Aspects of a Celiac Disease Diagnosis
February 2016: Gluten Causes Keratosis Pilaris (a.k.a. “Chicken Skin”): Fact or Myth?
January 2016: Fingernail Changes in IBS,Gluten Disorders and Celiac Disease “A window to health”
December 2015: 20 Gluten-Free Gift Ideas: From Budget to Luxury, Sentimental to Practical & More
November 2015: Cold Sores, Canker Sores and Gluten
October 2015: Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity Research: Snippets from ICDS 2015 (Part 2)
September 2015: Celiac and Gluten Sensitivity Research: Ten Snippets from ICDS 2015
July/August 2015: A New Home Test To Monitor Gluten Exposure
June 2015: Six Reasons to Test for Celiac Disease Before Starting a Gluten-Free Diet
May 2015: POTS, Celiac Disease and Gluten: An Undiscovered Connection?
February/March/April 2015: Arsenic in the Gluten-Free Diet: Facts and Tips
December 2014/ January 2015: The Microbiome and Celiac Disease: A Bacterial Connection
November 2014: Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity: The doctor-patient disconnect
October 2014: Should You Trust Gluten-Free Labels?
September 2014: Triggers for celiac disease: One possible answer
July/August 2014: Ten Tips for a Healthier Gluten-Free Diet
June 2014: Back Pain and Gluten
May 2014: Self-Diagnosis of Gluten Sensitivity: Four Alarming Trends
April 2014: Update on Restaurants and Gluten-Free Dining
March 2014: Histamine Intolerance: Could it be causing your symptoms?
February 2014: Celiac Disease and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (Reprinted with permission from Sonoma Medicine)
January 2014: Four Vitamin Toxicities on a Gluten-Free Diet
December 2013: Move Over Gluten-Free, Low FODMAP is Next
November 2013: SIBO, Gluten and IBS: What Is The Connection?
October 2013: Pesticides, Wheat and Gluten Sensitivity: What is the Connection?
September 2013: Is gluten really the culprit in gluten sensitivity?
August 2013: Clarifying the Gluten-Free Labeling Rule
June/July 2013: No such thing as Mild Celiac Disease
May 2013: Magnesium Deficiency
April 2013: Six Reasons to test for celiac disease before starting a gluten-free diet
March 2013: Why am I having migraines?
February 2013: What is fructose malabsorption?
January 2013: Educating doctors about celiac disease
December 2012: Are supplements to digest gluten safe and useful?
November 2012: Top 5 reasons for persistent symptoms after Going Gluten Free