The weather is warming up and, with social distancing still recommended, outdoor picnics are a great way to get together and enjoy the summer safely.
But for those of us with a food intolerance, many of our traditional picnic favourites can feel like they’re off the menu.
With more Free-From alternatives hitting the shelves than ever before, there’s never been so much inspiration available to make sure, when it comes to food intolerances, you never have to skip a social event.
Here are some of our favourite suggestions for a delicious Free-From picnic.
Gluten free goodies
Sandwiches are a staple of the summer picnic, but for those of us with a gluten intolerance, they never get a prime spot on our plates.
Fortunately, there is a wealth of gluten free breads and wraps now on the market, with most major supermarkets offering their own versions, as well as branded products like Genius, Warburtons and BeFree.
If you’re steering clear of bread all together, why not try some fun and fresh alternatives, such as lettuce cups with tasty fillings, swapping out the bread with marinated cooked flat mushrooms or gluten free puff pastry tartlets, loaded with your favourite toppings.
From creamy dips to the ubiquitous cheese board, dairy can dominate the picnic plate. But you can still put together an amazing spread without it.
If you’re looking for tasty accompaniments for your crudites, swap out dairy dips for Free-From alternatives, using soya or coconut yoghurt as a base. Adding nutritional yeast packs a punch when it comes to recreating a cheesy flavour.
If dairy intolerance makes you wary of bringing baked goods, there are plenty of alternatives you can use. This handy chart from the Academy of Culinary Nutrition shows you helpful baking substitutes for milk, butter and cream, as well as milk chocolate, cheese and buttermilk.
Excellent egg-free alternatives
It wouldn’t be a picnic without a dollop of mayonnaise. From potato salad and coleslaw to a hearty spoonful for dipping, mayo is a mainstay. But if you have an egg intolerance, you might often find the picnic selection a little limiting.
Thankfully, egg-free mayo is now easy to find on the supermarket shelves. Look for vegan labels and explore the Free-From aisles to find a range of own brand and big brand egg-free alternatives.
If you’re a fan of bringing baked goods to the picnic, there are a range of ways to replace egg in your favourite treats. Eggs can be substituted with natural ingredients such as applesauce, banana, or flax seeds. We love this handy guide, showing the perfect quantities of alternatives needed to replace eggs in your favourite bakes.
A little tipple
For some of us, the picnic just isn’t complete without a cheeky cold beverage. But if you have a yeast, wheat, gluten, or even fruit intolerance, many alcoholic drinks can cause you more problems than just a fuzzy head. Take a look at our recent blog on beer and bloating for a refresher on great alternatives.
Is something else at the picnic causing problems?
While dairy, gluten and eggs are all common ingredients when it comes to food intolerance, they are by no means the only foods that can cause issues.
It’s estimated that around 45% of the UK population has some kind of food intolerance. Often, they go undetected for years, causing mild, but persistent and frustrating problems that stop you from feeling your best.
We often blame ‘the usual suspects’, but anything in your diet, from tuna to tomatoes, could be behind a host of unwanted symptoms.
What are the signs of a food intolerance?
Food intolerances, which can occur when your body’s immune system mistakes a food protein as a threat, releasing antibodies to fight it, can cause a host of inflammation.
Headaches, brain fog, skin complaints like eczema or acne and joint pain are all reactions that can result from a food intolerance, as well as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and bloating.
Take control of your diet
Getting to the bottom of a food intolerance can be frustrating. A common recommendation is the elimination diet, where you remove one food at a time for a few weeks to see how you feel. But this process can take a long time. And, although many of us commonly react to a few different ingredients, the elimination diet is often abandoned when the first trigger food is found, leaving an incomplete picture of what’s causing the problem.
Get answers faster with Smartblood
When it comes to food intolerance testing, it’s important to do your research and choose a reputable laboratory testing company.
At Smartblood, we offer a comprehensive test to help you take control of your diet quickly and discover your own trigger foods.
Our home-to-laboratory service gives you fast, accurate results that pinpoint exactly which foods you are reacting to. Tests are completed in our accredited laboratory by trained experts, with clear, easy to understand results sent to you via email within three days.
Dedicated nutritional support
Importantly, our tests include a telephone consultation with our BANT registered Nutritional Therapist. This additional support is there to help you understand your results and put a plan together to make safe, sustainable changes to optimise your diet.