While back-to-school shopping may be at the forefront of your mind right now, don’t forget to enjoy the last few weeks of summer! Maybe your kids have recently returned from allergy-friendly summer camp or perhaps you’re still making your way through that never-ending summer bucket list. Either way, take advantage of all the fun, allergy-safe activities you still have time to accomplish before September rolls around. Here’s a list of some of our favorite things to do to make the most of summer’s last hurrah:
Whether you set up tent in your own backyard (this is a great idea if you have children!) or you venture into the wilderness for some peace, quiet, and some really good stargazing, camping is a fantastic allergy-friendly activity. Because you can pack and cook all your own food and cookware, you don’t need to worry about the possibility of cross-contamination. Make your own fire and bring gluten-free graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate to end your night on a sweet note!
Make Homemade Ice Cream
It can be surprisingly difficult to find creative ice cream flavors that are gluten- and/or peanut-free, especially at local, seasonal creameries. Instead of feeling frustrated with your limited choices and high risk of cross-contamination, try your hand at making your own clever concoctions. Whether you have an ice cream machine or not, there are plenty of options for how to make this sweet treat, all of which are super fun for kids to try, too. Start with a simple base flavor, like vanilla, and mix in your favorite gluten-free brownies, pretzels, or whatever else you’re craving. Don’t forget a gluten-free cone!
Visit Your Local Farmer’s Market
The end of summer always yields a delicious bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables. There’s no better place to check out the latest harvest of cantaloupe, peaches, corn, or tomatoes (and maybe meet the farmer who grew them!) than your local farmer’s market. Make an outing of visiting each stall, talking to the sellers, and taking inspiration for your next culinary masterpiece from what’s in season. Be sure to wash your produce before you eat it, in case of any potential trace allergens.
Take a Last Minute Road Trip
Even as summer dwindles, it’s not too late to take a spontaneous trip! Look for a sweet hike that’s driving-distance away or perhaps a city you’ve always wanted to explore that you could visit by car. Pack a cooler with plenty of ice and allergen-friendly foods and beverages to keep you and your fellow travelers happy on the road. Check out some of Nima community members’ favorite gluten-free road trip snacks before you start your journey!
Picnic at Your Local Park
Take advantage of the remaining long-lit evenings and pack a basket of allergy-friendly ‘noms for a fun date night out. Being in charge of your food spread gives you complete control over what food to eat and how it’s been prepared, so you won’t have to worry about allergen traces as you dine. Many parks organize free programming in the summer, so look for outdoor concerts happening near you to add some entertainment to your al fresco meal.
Go to a Baseball Game
Have you rooted for your home team yet this summer? Now’s the perfect time to snag tickets to the ballpark and enjoy this summer staple activity. While it may seem that ballparks are ridden with allergens, such as peanut shells and other dangerous foods, there are also plenty of stadiums with dedicated peanut-free sections for peanut-free fans. These sections are not only free from peanuts but are deep-cleaned prior to games and typically host extra medical personnel in case of emergency. These tickets require advance purchasing and waivers, so be sure to plan ahead.
Host a Barbecue
Grill up some of that sweet corn from the farmer’s market with burgers and hot dogs for one last barbecue of the summer. Consider making it a neighborhood potluck! As the host, you’ll not only be able to ensure the grill is properly sanitized but can also provide gluten-free alternatives to staples like buns and pasta salad, so that everyone is satisfied. Don’t forget to make sure that any dish containing potential allergens is clearly labeled and potentially presented separately from the rest of the spread.
Go to the Movies
Stay cool in air conditioning while you check out the most recent releases at your local movie theater. While popcorn is technically gluten-free, don’t assume every kernel (or buttery topping) holds true. Large cinema chains AMC and Regal Cinemas state their popcorn is gluten-free, but it’s still always a good idea to talk to a manager before you start munching. In addition to popcorn, most concession stands sell mainly packaged goods like giant candy bars with easy-to-read nutrition labels. Just read those labels carefully and bring your Nima sensor so you can verify that all your cinema snacks are gluten- and/or peanut-free.
Be a Tourist for the Day
Take cheesy photos in front of your city’s landmarks and treat yourself to some allergy-friendly eats as you pretend to be a tourist for the day. It can be refreshing to look at where you live from a different perspective and remind yourself of the fun museums, parks, and landmarks unique to your home. To avoid the real tourists, aim to do this activity during the week instead of on a weekend. And don’t forget to check out our Nima Tested Map, which features thousands of Nima-checked restaurants or peruse our #nimatested dining guides to see if your city’s gluten-free eats have been featured.
What allergy-friendly activities do you enjoy most in the summer? Let us know in the comments section below!