Whether you are gluten-free by choice or necessity eating out can be a challenge. I am gluten intolerant and my daughter Lauren has celiac disease. Together we have been living a gluten-free lifestyle for 9 years. We have learned a few tricks over the years, usually from an accidental contamination of gluten to eating out and staying gluten-free.
Tips for Gluten-Free Dining
- If at all possible, plan your restaurant outing in advance. If you know you will be eating out with friends or family, choose a restaurant that is GF friendly. You can find restaurants online and look at their menu, or you can call to inquire if they have a gluten-free menu. Surprisingly, many restaurants have gluten-free menus.
- When calling the restaurants remember to ask if the GF food is prepared separately from the gluten food. In the past, we have experienced cross-contamination while eating out, even though we ordered from a GF menu.
- Don’t forget to also check any sauces or seasonings that are being added to the food. Recently, we discovered one of our favorite BBQ-flavored potato chips has barley in the BBQ seasoning for the chips. Mind you, this was not a certified GF potato chip. We had purchased them in the past when because the label showed no gluten ingredients. Ingredients change on products, and just because it was once GF, doesn’t mean it will always be GF. The same goes for food purchased at a restaurant. It is always good to recheck, even if you have been to the restaurant before.
- Non-GF people do not understand the effects gluten has on someone who has celiac or GF intolerance. Therefore, they may not take your allergy serious. If it appears that the server doesn’t understand your allergy, do not be hesitant to speak to someone who will.
- If you are out running errands or on a trip and you cannot plan a GF meal ahead of time, remember the advice above when you enter the restaurant. Before being seated ask the hostess if there are gluten-free choices.
- Play it safe! If you are going to be out and about or traveling, pack your own food in case you do not have the option to eat at a GF restaurant.
- Remember to always be polite because, as I mentioned above, many people do not understand gluten allergies. Rudeness or irritation at their lack of knowledge is just not the mature way to handle any situation.
I hope these tips help you to enjoy a gluten-free restaurant outing with your friends or family. Remember, it is always best to be kind and to enlighten.