Celebrating Coeliac Awareness Week with M&S Food | AD

*Disclaimer – the products featured in this blog post were gifted by M&S Food for the purpose of inclusion in this blog post. This blog post is in collaboration with Marks & Spencer but all opinions are my own. 

As this week is Coeliac Awareness Week, there’s a lot going on in the free from community and lots of brands are doing their bit to show their support to us Coeliacs!

One of my favourite brands for gluten free food that I speak about A LOT is Marks & Spencer and as always, they’ve been at the top of the game when it comes to bringing out new free from products.

I always say how M&S’ free from range is a little different to other supermarkets as they bring out products that are different to everyone else’s. They’re often the foods you didn’t realise you missed until you could have them again and that’s what makes them so special.

I recently went for a wander around my local M&S Food Hall, which is Handforth Dean and met the manager there, Lucy. We picked some of their new products and best-sellers for me to try, so I thought I’d do this little haul style blog post for you, showing you what I got!

Made Without Wheat Raspberry Bakewell Slices 

One of the newer products at M&S, I picked these up mainly with my mum in mind as she loves Bakewell slices, so I knew she was the perfect person to review these!

You get 4 in a box and they’re a really decent size. There’s a good layer of raspberry jam and a generous topping of almond flakes and according to my mum ‘they tasted just like the regular ones’.

Made Without Wheat Caramel Crispie Mini Bites 

I’ve spoken about these little gluten free cake bites before over on my Instagram because they are one of the tastiest free from products I have ever tried!

They’re similar to their other mini bite tubs (which M&S are well known for) but these are totally gluten free and safe for coeliacs! They’re a rice crispie square with a layer of caramel and a layer of solid chocolate… so good!

Made Without Wheat Shortbread Rounds

I love shortbread biscuits and actually think gluten free shortbread is really nice and these are no exception.

You can’t beat a plain and simple shortbread biscuit and these ones are super buttery and just the right texture too, perfect for eating with a cup of tea or serving with a creme brulee!

Made Without Wheat Triple Chocolate Crunch Cereal

Probably one of my favourite gluten free products Marks & Spencer have ever brought out, their Triple Chocolate Crunch cereal might be a little bit high in calories and sugar but it is so good!

It’s a mixture of plain granola clusters and pieces of milk and white chocolate and for a Sunday morning breakfast or a special occasion, it is such a welcome treat!

Made Without Wheat Lemon Cheesecake Dessert

I’m not usually a huge cheesecake fan but I do really like lemon flavoured things, so I was still intrigued to try this little Lemon Cheesecake Dessert pot and I’m glad I did because it was delicious!

The cheese topping was super creamy and not overpowering and the main flavour throughout was sweet lemon which I personally loved. The cheescake base was pretty loose and crumbly but it is in a pot so that doesn’t matter so much!

Made Without Wheat Lemon Muffins 

These were part of M&S’ newest launch of gluten free products and they were probably the thing that grabbed my attention the most as I have been on the hunt for gluten free lemon muffins for ages!

I could find lemon cupcakes, lemon slices, lemon cakes but not lemon muffins and persoanlly, I think they all taste different so I particularly wanted muffns and I’m pleased to say these did not disappoint!

I used to love the original M&S lemon muffins and these tasted pretty much the same, just a little smaller but they come in packs of 4, so you can always just have more than one!

Made Without Wheat Sourdough Pizza

I love pizza and let’s be honest, gluten free pizza is pretty hit and miss, so when a new one comes out, I’m always keen to try!

I’ll be honest, I was hesistant about trying this as it retails for £4.50 which is a lot of money but when I was given the opportunity to try one for free, I jumped at the chance and I can confirm that I will definitely be purchasing this myself again.

If you don’t like thicker base pizzas, you probably won’t like this as the base is quite thick and doughy as it is a sourdough pizza but I personally liked this as the base was super soft and had good flavour.

They only do the pizza in a simple margarita but there’s plenty of cheese on top and I think this works as a nice blank canvas for you to add your own toppings if you want to!

Made Without Wheat Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli 

I love these fresh filled pastas and used to LIVE off them when I could eat gluten, so when I got diagnosed Coeliac, I was pretty disappointed about the selection available – like there was none when I first got diagnosed.

Schar brought out their variety a while back but in more recent months, all the supermarkets seemed to have jumped on this idea and brought out their own free from fresh pastas, including M&S.

I have tried to proscuitto fresh pasta from M&S’ free from range before, so am super excited to give this one a go – they make for a perfect super quick dinner!

Made Without Wheat Spaghetti Carbonara 

I’ve spoken about the Marks & Spencer Made Without Wheat ready meals before both on the blog and on my Instagram because I really like them! I don’t have ready meals very often because as gluten free food goes, ready meals are some of the worst but these are actually good and taste pretty homemade!

My favourites are the carbonara and the macaroni cheese, so if you’re looking for a quick dinner, these are good options!

Made Without Wheat Mixed Berry Crumbles

Finding gluten free desserts that aren’t chocolate is actually harder than you’d think, so it’s quite refreshing to see these berry crumbles available in the free from fridges!

I haven’t tried them yet but they look packed with fruit, so hopefully they’ll be good with some custard or ice cream!

Made Without Dairy Chocolate and Caramel Sticks (Gluten Free Too)

M&S do also have a selection of dairy free products too including ice creams which are delicious! These chocolate and caramel magnum style dairy free ice creams are a long-term favourite of mine.

You can’t tell that they’re dairy free by the taste and they’ve got the gluten free logo on the front of the box too for extra reassurance when shopping as a Coeliac.

Made Without Dairy Chocolate and Vanilla Cones 

Another gluten and dairy free ice cream option at M&S is these chocolate and vanilla ice cream cones – very like a cornetto!

I love ice creams like this, especially when the weather is hot and as it is nearly impossible to get gluten free ice cream cones at ice cream vans or in those little ice cream freezers in shops, I like to have things like these in the freezer so I don’t have to miss out!

You get 4 in the box and they’re actually a really good size, these also taste just like normal ice cream!

So, they’re some of my favourite free from products at M&S but what do you love? Let me know in the comments!

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Gluten Free Store Cupboard Essentials

Since moving into my own house, I’ve had to do way more cooking than I ever did when I lived with my parents and have also had to think about the food I’ve got in my house way more.

I’ve only been living here for two weeks but I’ve already picked up on a few gluten free store cupboard essentials that I reach for a lot and can always rely on to help me make a meal, so I thought I’d share those with you.

Pasta

This is quite an obvious one but I can’t be without a pack of gluten free pasta in the cupboards. Me and James always say that if you’ve got pasta, you’ve got a meal and that really is true,

Me and J really love pasta and it was our go to when we lived with our parents, so we’ve tried not to rely on it too much in the new house and be a bit more experimental but we love pasta bakes, pasta with a sausages or pancetta and it’s just an easy meal.

Rice

Similarly to pasta, it’s always good to have rice in. It’s cheap, naturally gluten free and has the longest use by date, so if you don’t have to worry about eating it super quick.

I like to eat plenty of rice as it’s relatively healthy and it’s also naturally gluten free, so good if you’re avoiding too many processed free from foods.

We normally have one or two meals with rice a week and we personally have brown rice but I do love whiter rice too. We like doing chicken with a sweet and sour sauce and serve with vegetables and rice or chilli with rice and tacos.

Baked Beans

I used to eat SO many baked beans like I’d probably have a small tin or snap pot everyday but I haven’t eaten as many since we moved out as I’m trying to push myself with cooking but I do still always keep them in and LOVE them!

I prefer Heinz beans and know they’re gluten free, so personally always go for those ones and if you go to places like Poundland or Home Bargains, you can get them for really reasonable prices.

Baked beans are great for quick and easy meals when you still want to get a decent amount of protein. We love beans on toast or crumpets, jacket potatoes with beans and cheese or having full English breakfasts for dinner!

Promise Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Brioche

When we moved house, my eating went out the window. I was so stressed and busy, I just wasn’t making enough time to eat but I did manage to have breakfast everyday thanks to the gluten free chocolate chip brioche rolls from Promise.

I talk about these all the time but I am generally addicted. They’re currently on offer in Sainsbury’s for £1 a pack which I great value and I warm two up for my breakfast in the microwave for 20-30 seconds to melt the chocolate and it is the quickest, easiest and tastiest breakfast.

Bread

Another obvious one but I really do rely on bread for lunches. I’m pretty fussy and tend to stick for sandwiches for lunch, so having bread in is an essential.

Not only is it good for everyday lunches, having gluten free bread in makes for quick and easy dinners too likes bacon sandwiches, beans on toast or part of a full English as a treat!

My current favourite bread is the Tesco own brand gluten, wheat, milk and egg free sliced seeded bread!

Meridian Peanut Bars

If I’m not in the mood to eat a lot or need a quick snack, I’ll always go for one of the Meridian peanut bars.

These are packed with proteins and are gluten and dairy free, so as sweet snacks go, they’re not too bad for you and keep you really full, so are good as a small breakfast if you’re busy or struggle to eat in a morning.

I hope you’ve found this useful if you’re looking to stock up your cupboards with some free from essentials!

I have a whole list of fridge and freezer essentials too, so if you’d me to share those with you, let me know!

What are you store cupboard essentials for gluten free cooking? Share in the comments!

Making Mini Egg Cookies with Whole Creations Cookie Dough

Gluten free biscuits are hugely hit and miss, so as with a lot of gluten free treats, the best idea is always to make your own.

I like to think I’m pretty good at baking but one thing I’ve never been able to master is biscuits, so when I saw everyone raving about the new gluten free cookie dough from Whole Creations, I knew I needed to get my hands on it.

I purchased mine from Morrison’s and got the last pack of the ‘simply butter’ flavour. It is quite expensive but I can confirm, it is so easy to bake with and very tasty.

As it’s just gone Easter, we had so much chocolate in the house, so I decided to ‘easter-fy’ these cookies with some mini eggs and Easter egg chocolate and here’s how I did it:

Ingredients

1 x pack of Whole Creations Cookie Dough (simply butter flavour)

– 90-100g of Mini Eggs

– 1 x Dairy Milk Easter Egg

Method

  1. Pre heat the over to 170 degrees or follow the instructions from the packet that match your oven
  2. Line 2 trays with baking paper to make 12 cookies
  3. Crush all your mini eggs and break up the Easter egg and place in separate bowls
  4. Take the cookie dough out of the pack and cut into 12 equal sized pieces (or 6 for larger cookies)
  5. Take one piece of cookie dough and soften in your hand before getting some crushed mini eggs and rolling into the piece of dough
  6. Flatten your piece of dough back into a cookie shape and place onto your lined baking tray
  7. Do this for all cookies and keep them well spaced out on the trays

8. Bake for 10-15 minutes (we did 15 minutes)

9. Bring out the oven when the cooking time is up and leave on the trays to cool and harden for 5 minutes

10. While they cool, melt your chocolate over a pan of boiling water and then drizzle all over the cookies while still on the trays

11. Either leave your cookies on the tray to finish cooking or transfer to a cooling rack, we left on the trays as the trays had holes in so the air could flow properly

… and then it’s time to eat!

These are so so delicious and just ridiculously easy to make, a perfect way to make use of any left over Easter chocolate!

The idea for these was inspired by the Gluten Free Blogger’s recipe for mini egg cookies, so if you can bake biscuits and fancy trying, check out her recipe!

If you add an Easter twist to the Whole Creations Cookie Dough, share your pictures with me on Instagram!

Battle of the Gluten Free Pizza

If there was one thing I thought I’d have to miss out on going gluten free it was pizza!

I wasn’t obsessed with pizza before diagnosis but I was a fan and definitely enjoyed it when I had it and it’s fair to say I’ve tried a fair few since going GF to try and find the best.

I thought I’d share with you my thoughts on all the ones I have tried to help you pick the best one!

Pizza Express – Restaurant

I have to say, the Pizza Express gluten and dairy free pizza available in restaurant or for delivery is one of the best I’ve had!

The gluten free base is really thin and crispy and they have the option of vegan mozzarella which is obviously dairy free which makes it a great option if you have multiple food allergies.

I like to add pepperoni but there’s so many different topping options and the majority of them are gluten and dairy free too.

Pizza Express – Shop Bought

We’ve always enjoyed the Pizza Express pizzas that you can buy in the shops at home as a family, so I was a bit disappointed when I had to go GF that they weren’t an option anymore.

Pizza Express have recently released a gluten free pizza in their shop range and I’m pleased to say, it’s very tasty!

It isn’t dairy free as it has normal cheese on it and they’re currently only available as plain cheese and tomato flavour but you can add your own toppings to mix it up.

These are as tasty as the ones in the restaurants and one of my favourite shop bought ones.

Domino’s

I recently tried my first ever gluten free Domino’s pizza after avoiding it for so long but eventually temptation won and I gave it a go.

I just didn’t trust their preparation to be free from cross contamination but I’m pleased to say after trying one that I had no problems.

The base was thicker and crispier than what I remember the Domino’s bases being like but tasty nevertheless and they don’t have a dairy free cheese option but that isn’t too much of a problem for me.

These pizzas are only available in the small size which for me was enough and it was very tasty.

Pizza Hut Takeaway

You might be thinking, ‘so far, so good’ but unfortunately, all the positive Pizza stories are about to take a turn when we get to takeaway pizza from Pizza Hut.

The first ever takeaway pizza I tried was from Pizza Hut and I’ve had a few from there and I’ve not been right afterwards every time but it’s only recently that it clocked with me that it was the pizza upsetting my tummy.

One thing to be sure of when ordering a takeaway gluten free pizza is that it arrives uncut as if they’ve cut it up, it could be contaminated and I only learnt this recently which made me realise that every Pizza Hut Pizza I have had has arrived cut up!

They pizza bases are quite thick and cakey but they’re fine, I just don’t find my local takeaway are careful enough.

Goodfella’s Shop Bought

One of the first ever Shop Bought pizzas I tried when going GF was the Goodfella’s one and although I’ve heard mixed reviews, I really like it!

They do a plain cheese and tomato flavour and one topped with pepperoni, ham and mushrooms. I always go for the plain one and add my own toppings if I want to change things up!

The bases go nice and crispy if you cook them properly and they taste completely normal to me. They’re a little lacking on toppings but aren’t all shop bought pizzas?

Schär Pizza Base

If you’re after free from pizza, the option to make your own is a really good one.

Gluten free pizza bases are really easy to come by and often come in a lot of tester boxes if you choose to order those.

I tried the Schär bases and added all my own toppings and I really enjoyed it.

These bases have a very normal taste, good thickness and stay crispy when you cook them.

Center Parcs Takeaway

I know this one won’t be relevant to many people but if you’re heading to Center Parcs for a break soon, ordering a GF pizza from the on-site takeaway is a great idea.

We visited Woburn Forest recently and we ordered a GF pizza for me from their takeaway called ‘Dining In’ and they were very away of allergens and the pizza was delicious.

It was far bigger than many others and super crispy and tasty and worth trying if you’re there!

Pizza is a favourite for many, so if you think you have to miss out because you’re gluten free, you certainly don’t!

I hope you’ve found this useful and if you’d like me to do a similar post for other kinds of foods like pastas, ready meals, breads, etc, do let me know!

What’s your favourite gluten free pizza? Share in the comments!

Top Tips for Avoid Cross Contamination at Home

Anyone with coeliac disease or another kind of food allergy will be very familiar with the words ‘cross contamination’ and that’s because it truly is such a problem.

Avoiding the foods that contain ingredients you can’t eat is one of the easier parts of having a food allergy, avoiding cross contamination problems however is far harder.

Cross contamination occurs in the preparation, cooking and serving of your food and is when although you food doesn’t contain the ingredients you can’t eat, it ends up getting mixed or crossed with those ingredients and therefore contains traces of these ingredients and is no longer free from or safe to consume but you’re unlikely to know this as the contamination is rarely visible.

Cross contamination causes people with food allergies so many reactions and although it’s kind of out of our control when we eat out, there’s some measures you can put in place at home to avoid causing yourself any problems!

Separate Butter to Gluten Eaters

 

If you live in a house with people who eat gluten, you need to have a separate butter/spread for your food.

If you look in the butter or spread in your fridge, it’ll be covered in crumbs and if these are gluten crumbs, that’s a huge cross contamination problem but it’s so easy to avoid.

Having a designated gluten free butter/spread that is just used for GF toast/crumpets/pancakes or whatever else ensures any crumbs in it are safe for you and it’s best to use this spread if making anything containing butter/spread for the whole family!

This could apply for anything you put a spoon or knife in and then directly apply to bread such as mayonnaise.

 

Designated Chopping Board

 

You may think this sounds a little over the top but if you don’t want to spend your life wiping the kitchen sides and disinfecting chopping boards, just get yourself a chopping/bread board that is just for gluten free products.

By doing this you know it hasn’t been in contact with anything that could have gluten in it and it just gives you peace of mind.

Separate Toaster/Side of the Toaster

 

One important thing to do to avoid cross contamination if you live in a house where people eat gluten is to either have your own Toaster for GF products, have a designated side/slot of the Toaster that is just for GF or use the paper toaster bags.

Toasters are filled with crumbs and if these are regular gluten crumbs, that could cause a real cross contamination problem, so you need to ensure you’re always toasting your GF products in an area or a way that ensure it can’t come into contact with gluten.

Separate Cooking Space for Pasta

You don’t need a separate pan and colander for gluten free pasta as long as everything is washed and clean before use but if you’re cooking gluten free and regular pasta at the same time, it’s essential you keep them very separate.

It’s obvious to cook the two different pastas in separate pans but when it comes to draining the water away in a colander, you either need to drain the GF pasta first so the colander is clean or thoroughly wash the colander after draining the regular pasta to ensure it is free of any contamination before coming into contact with your gluten free pasta!

 

Store Regular Flour Away From Gluten Free Products

 

Flour is a real nightmare, it literally goes everywhere, no matter how sealed the packet is, so storing it well away from any gluten free products is just a good way to avoid any potential cross contamination issues.

This is an easy one to do, just simply store all your gluten free products in a different cupboard/area to your regular flour and the problem has been resolved!

Cover the Grill Tray Before Using

 

Although it’s unlikely you’ll pick up crumbs or contamination from normal bread when using your grill tray, covering it with some foil just helps avoid any unnecessary problems.

Crumbs can get everywhere and sometimes you won’t even be able to see them, so they could still be on the grill tray from a previous use, so covering up is the easiest way to keep yourself safe!

It may sound a little over the top but all these small and easy things can save you a lot of pain and trouble, especially if you really struggle when coming into contact with gluten.

I hope you’ve found this useful if you’re just starting out or if you’re trying to become even stricter with avoiding gluten.

Do you have any tips for avoiding cross contamination at home? Let me know in the comments or on my Instagram, @glutenfreewithellie

Disordered Eating and Missed Diagnosis – My Gluten Free Journey

Since starting my gluten free Instagram account, I’ve had a few messages about my diagnosis with coeliac disease and about how/when I knew I needed to go to the doctors and I’ve wanted to share my full story but it’s long and still very raw but after reading a few similar stories from other bloggers, I’ve decided I want to share mine.

This may not be helpful or relevant to anyone but it might be therapeutic for me to write it all down and that makes it worthwhile if nothing else.

Disordered Eating

I call it disordered eating opposed to an eating disorder as I don’t fit into a particular eating disorder.

I was never a ‘true’ anorexic or bulimic or any other kind of eating disorder but I have been treated for what was just called disordered eating, an unhealthy and distorted relationship with food.

My problem with food and eating was a combination of two main things: emetophobia (a severe fear of being sick) and body dysmorphia and horrendously low self confidence.

The combination of me not wanting to be sick and not wanting to gain weight resulted in me just not really eating and when I did eat, I had a group of safe foods that were small, plain and wouldn’t make me ill.

I became obsessed with portion size, use by/best before dates and most of all, the number on the scales.

Where Gluten Came in to Things

While struggling with my warped relationship with food, I was feeling sick all the time.

Because I was so scared of being sick, many people told me it was the fear of being sick that was making me feel sick but I knew this feeling wasn’t in my head.

I started to think that maybe it was gluten because I’d heard lots of people say gluten made them bloated and feel sick, so (stupidly) I decided to try and stop eating without medical guidance to see if it made a difference.

I wasn’t very good at cutting it out and at first thought eating thin crust pizza opposed to deep pan was a step in the right direction… that one still amazes me!

I went to my doctors so many times to tell them about the connection between feeling sick and gluten but because of my mental health past, I was told it was in my head and that I needed to try counselling again.

Fast forward many months and multiple counselling sessions, I finally found a doctor who sent me for some blood tests, including coeliacs.

The results came back obviously positive (and that was with minimal gluten in my system) and after an additional blood test a few months later (while totally GF) it was still visibly positive and conclusive enough for my consultant and dietician to be happy that I had Coeliac disease and could start living accordingly.

After Diagnosis

Although being diagnosed coeliac was a revelation for me after genuinely believing I was crazy for so long after so many bad experiences with various GPs, it wasn’t a miracle cure.

I still struggle with disordered eating every single day. I still battle the negative body image thoughts and the fear of being sick but knowing what I can and can’t eat has massively helped me rationalise my fear of being sick.

Being gluten free has forced me to either become more aware of my food, be more experimental with trying new foods and cooking and basically care more about food or simply not eat, so I chose to make food a focus but for once, in a positive way.

I set up my Instagram account to ensure I stayed passionate about food and motivated to try new things and eat well because that’s what followers want to see, not me eating plain gluten free pasta or a yogurt which is what I used to live off.

My teenage years have been full of so many hurdles but I feel like at nearly 19, I’m on my way back to normality (or my version anyway) and that’s a refreshing feeling.

I’m adapting more and more to my new diet and the way it affects my life everyday and battling the hardships of disordered eating one little step at a time.

I hope this has helped anyone struggling in a similar way or feeling isolated because of a health condition that is no fault of their own.

I always welcome comments, emails and Instagram messages and reply to every single one where I can, so if you simply want a chat, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Top Gluten and Dairy Free Food Picks

I’ve shared my favourite gluten free products before but I know many coeliacs and gluten free eaters who also have to avoid dairy and I myself am supposed to limit my intake.

I thought I’d share with you my top food picks that are gluten and dairy free. Some of these may be duplicates from other posts but these will all be gluten AND dairy free.

Warburtons Gluten Free Bread

One of my favourite gluten free bread brands is Warburtons Gluten Free.

I’ve tried their tiger loaf, mighty mini loaf and sandwich thins and really liked all of them.

All their breads are gluten, wheat and milk free but do contain eggs.

They’re bread is soft and tastes just like normal bread, it also freezes and defrosts well which makes it easier to store.

Warburtons Gluten Free Crumpets

Continuing with products I love from Warburtons Gluten Free that are also dairy free, I ADORE THEIR CRUMPETS!!

I’ve raved about these on my Instagram before but they are so so good and taste just like normal crumpets!

These also freeze and defrost well so I like to stock up and keep them in the freezer until I want them!

 

Genius Pancakes

Genius’ products are also all gluten, wheat and milk and there’s so many I could recommend but their pancakes are so so good!

I also like the M&S ones but these are my favourite and they contain no gluten or dairy.

They’re soft and fluffy and taste just like normal scotch pancakes.

I also love the cakes from Genius, the best are chocolate muffins and lemon cupcakes, both of which are also gluten and dairy free.

 

Marks & Spencer’s Dairy Free Caramel Ice Cream Sticks

When I was told to avoid dairy, one of the main things my dietician told me to cut out was ice cream and I love ice cream so that was a problem for me…

I’ve tried a few different dairy free ice creams but the nicest I’ve tried is the M&S dairy free caramel ice cream sticks.

They’re gluten and dairy free magnums basically, they’ve got a thick coating of tasty chocolate and really nice caramel ice cream and I LOVE THEM!

 

Vitalite Dairy Free Spread

Another thing I stopped using straight away was dairy containing spreads/butter and swapped for dairy free spread which has been one of the easiest swaps to make.

I’ve tried a few but I really like the Vitalite one and have repurchased this one the most. I find it tastes like my regular spreads and goes nicely with toast, crumpets, jacket potatoes, etc.

I also find this one is the most affordable, usually about £1.20!

Tesco Free From Chocolate Sponge Pudding

I’ve mentioned how good these are before but they’re gluten, wheat and milk free so they needed mentioning again in this post.

The Tesco Free From Chocolate sponge puddings are so amazing and a real treat. They’re so chocolatey, a really soft sponge and easy to cook, so they’re just a perfect pudding!

I’ve just picked a few of my favourite gluten and dairy free picks but there’s so many more, the Nestle Go Free Rice Pops, Tesco Chipz crisps and Tesco Free From Pasta are also great picks.

I hope you’ve found this useful if you’re looking for good gluten and dairy free foods to try!

What are your top GF and DF purchases? Share them in the comments!

Eating Gluten Free at Center Parcs

Since being tested positive for coeliac disease via blood tests and deciding to go entirely gluten free, I’ve avoided eating out for fear.

Last time we went on holiday, it was a bad first experience of travelling while being gluten free. We went to Tenerife and I ate chips and sweetcorn the whole week which was less than ideal.

I’ve been super nervous about travelling again because of food but when we decided to go to Centre Parcs as a family, I was pretty confident I’d be ok because the choice is so much better.

I took my own breakfast foods such as cereal and bread and plenty of sweet snacks but we ate out for every lunch and dinner.

I thought I’d share with you what and where I ate during a long weekend at Centre Parcs!

Gluten Free Pizza from Dining In

We went swimming late afternoon/early evening on the day we arrived and decided to pick up a takeaway on the way back to the lodge.

We went to the on-site takeaway called ‘Dining In’ and I opted for a cheese and tomato pizza on a gluten free base with extra sweetcorn.

The staff at this eatery were really helpful and aware of allergens and the food was really tasty but could have been slightly more generous on the toppings!

Sports Cafe

The football was on in the Sports Cafe on the Saturday so we headed there for lunch.

The gluten free menu here is one of the best at the Woburn Forest Centre Parcs but because we had a restaurant booked for dinner, I just got a portion of chips.

The waitress was again really helpful and aware of allergens which is always good.

Although I just had chips, there were so many GF options here including sandwiches, breakfasts, burgers and more!

 

Huck’s Diner

For our second evening meal, we had a table booked at an American diner style restaurant called Huck’s.

We chose this one because it had a ‘gluten sensitive’ menu which meant I’d have plenty to choose from.

I went for a ‘double double’ steak burger but without the gluten free bun it comes with as I’ve never had bread with burgers.

It was two super tasty steak burgers with cheese and bacon, served with fries. It was delicious and came with a little flag that said ‘allergen’ which made me feel really confident eating it.

 

Strada Italian Restaurant

I’ve always loved Italian food and I often find Italian restaurants are great for gluten free as they’re usually happy to make pasta dishes and pizzas gluten free if possible.

I’d never tried Strada before as there isn’t one close to where I live but I was excited when I saw they had the availability to make most of their pasta dishes GF.

I went for the ‘spaghetti pomadoro’ but GF which came with the funniest looking pasta shape which made it super obvious it was GF when compared to their regular pasta.

It was really tasty and the staff were so helpful, so tasty in fact, it wasn’t until I’d eaten as much as I could that I remembered to take a picture…

I also had the Panna Cotta with honeycomb for dessert which was naturally gluten free and so so tasty and once again, I was so excited, forgot to take a picture!

Here’s the empty plate to prove how good it was!

Overall, all the food I had in the restaurants at the Woburn Forest Center Parcs was great and all the staff were very helpful.

I had no adverse reactions to any of the food which was amazing as I seem to always struggle with eating out.

We also picked up some bits for a cooked breakfast from the on-site supermarket, one item of which was some fresh GF sausages which were incredible and I’d highly recommend trying if you’re staying at this Center Parcs!

I hope you’ve found this useful if you’re heading to a Center Parcs and given you some confidence that being gluten free while staying here is relatively easy!

I did bring plenty of snacks and ‘back up foods’ but generally didn’t need them as the options were good!

What’s your top tips for travelling when gluten free? Share them in the comments!

Gluten Free Lunch On The Go: Things to Remember

Any gluten free foodie will be able to tell of a time when they got caught short needing lunch when they were out and about with no food to hand and it can feel like a real nightmare.

Most people living on a GF diet will be well trained as to what they can and can’t eat, where the best places to get food are and will more often than not come prepared to avoid these situations altogether, but in the early days when you’re still getting used to things, it’s easy to get caught out.

I’ve been gluten free for nearly a year now and still end up miles away from home at lunchtime with nothing to eat, so I’ve picked up a few top tips along the way to make sure I can eat food that is safe for me and most of the time, not too unhealthy without having to turn around and head home.

I’m going to be sharing with you everything I think you need to know and remember about picking up lunch when you’re on the move.

Pre-Packed GF Sandwiches Do Exist Now

Although the selection is still limited compared to the regular selection of pre-made sandwiches, gluten free ones do exist now and many supermarkets sell their own range.

Marks & Spencers, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Morrisons all have a selection on sale in most stores, so it is always worth checking where the regular sandwiches are before starting to worry you’ll have nothing to eat.

Because GF sandwiches are a relatively new addition, it can sometimes be easy to forget that they’re a thing now and although they’re not always super readily available, it’s always worth a check.

Make Your Own Sandwich

It probably won’t be the best sandwich you’ve ever experienced, nor the prettiest but when needs must, making your own sandwich will do.

Most stores will sell sandwich fillers and GF bread, so if you can get those two things, then you’ve got a sandwich. You might be thinking a sandwich without any sort of butter or spread may be a bit dry but if you pop in plenty of filling, it will be fine for an emergency lunch.

If you’re near a Sainsbury’s with a bakery, their GF mini rolls are super tasty, easy to tear open and fill with meat or cheese and makes a quick and easy sandwich on the go.

It Doesn’t Have to be a Sandwich

I’m guilty of getting fixed on the idea that a sandwich is the only lunchtime option and I think its because that’s what everyone else is having but there are plenty more options available.

Whether you pick up a pre-made salad or just grab something like a packet of cooked meat or vegetable sticks with houmous, there’s always GF options that will fill you up for lunch that aren’t a sandwich.

Snacks Are Your Friend

As much as we all want to be able to pick up a healthy and balanced lunch on the go, it isn’t always possible when you’re gluten free and in those situations, snacks are your friend.

Even the most limited of service stations will have some kind of snack you can have that will tide you over until you’re either home to all your usual foods or somewhere with a better selection.

My go-to snacks include Kettle Chips or Pombears, a chocolate bar such as a Twirl or if you’re trying to stay healthy, it’s normally easy enough to pick up some fruit.

It’s Always Worth Asking

I often find myself suffering silently when I can’t find any food that seems suitable, whether that be in a shop, cafe or restaurant but sometimes asking a member of staff can see you finding something you can eat that you’d missed.

If you’ve scoured the shelves and feel as though you’re having no luck, ask someone who works there if they know of any GF food they have in, or if you’re in a cafe that seems to have no suitable options for you, ask a member of staff if they do have anything or if there’s any way that they can make something for you.

More often than not, people who work in the food industry are more than happy to help and will accommodate where they can and even if that brings you no luck, it was better to ask than potentially miss out on something.

These may be ‘stating the obvious’ tips but for people who are just adjusting to this lifestyle, they may be able to help when you’re struggling with food on the go.

I’d love to know what you’re go-to foods and tips are when you need to find lunch out and about, so share them in the comments.

Current Gluten Free Favourites

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to try more new foods and expand the range of foods I was trying and choosing.

Me and my family never use ready meals and cook all my main meals ourselves but I do buy snacks and breakfast foods from the free from aisles.

I’ve shared some of my favourite products before, so I thought I’d do an updated version because I’ve tried some new things that I think you guys need to know about!

Warbutons Gluten Free Crumpets

I wasn’t actually a regular eater of crumpets before I went GF but since Warbutons did their rebrand, I’ve been eating their crumpets all the time and I love them!

They’re gluten, wheat and milk free so suitable for so many people!

They’re so soft and tasty and go well with so many different toppings!

They’re about £2 for a pack of 4 and they’re available in most UK supermarkets!

Tesco Free From Chocolate Chip Cookies

Missing Maryland Cookies? These Tesco chocolate chip cookies are free from gluten, wheat and milk and taste exactly like the Maryland ones!

These have got a good crunch and are full of chocolate chips, they’ve got a great flavour!

They are made with oat flour, so if you’re not allowed oats yet, these wouldn’t be suitable!

You get 12 for £1.30!

Tesco Free From Chicken Goujons

Tesco have recently expanded their fresh free from range and added lots of ‘breaded’ chicken and fish products.

I tried the chicken goujons which are free from gluten and wheat and also have no milk containing ingredients.

Their made with great quality chicken breast and they’ve got a great taste and texture!

Tesco Ready Salted Chipz

I know, another Tesco product but they’re honestly my number one supermarket for free from!

The Tesco’s own version of Pringles, called Chipz, are gluten free and have no milk containing ingredients either!

They taste just like the original Pringles and they’re just so tasty!

They’re also really affordable because they’re a supermarket own brand and not a specialist free from product!

Genius Lemon Cupcakes

I have a sweet tooth, there’s no denying that and one of my all time favourites is lemon cake!

I’ve tried a few different lemon cakes but the Genius lemon cupcakes are the best! They’re quite small but they’re also quite filling!

Although they’re gluten, wheat and milk free, they’re so light and lemony and the icing is also so tasty!

They’re available in Sainsbury’s and you get 2 for £2.25

Tesco Chocolate Sponge Pudding

I promise this is the last Tesco product… but you need to know about these!

I’ve always loved hot chocolate sponge puddings and was so pleased when I tried these ones from Tesco because they’re AMAZING!

They’re gluten, wheat and milk free but still have a really soft texture and strong chocolate taste!

They cook in just 35 seconds in the microwave and go perfectly with vanilla ice cream (I use the Alpro vanilla ice cream).

They also do a syrup sponge pudding if chocolate isn’t your thing!

They’re £1.25 each but worth every penny!

Sainsbury’s Freshly Baked Gluten Free Rolls

Yes you read that right, FRESHLY BAKED gluten free bread!

Finding food GF bread can be hard but the selection of freshly baked GF bread at Sainsbury’s is the softest and tastiest I’ve tried!

It’s gluten and wheat free and has no milk containing ingredients yet still has an authentic bread taste!

They do small baguettes, loaves, seeded mini rolls and the white mini rolls which are my favourite. You get two mini rolls for around £1.50 which isn’t bad for gluten free.

They’re baked in their bags in store to avoid cross contamination and displayed on the top shelf of the bakery!

I hope you’ve found this useful if you’re on the hunt for some new gluten and dairy free treats!

What are your go to GF products, share them in the comments!

For more gluten free food inspiration, go and follow my new gluten free account, @glutenfreewithellie