When you first become gluten free, the thought of eating out seems simple. Simple that is until you get glutened the first time and have no idea what you ate that could have poisoned you.
Here are some tips for how to be successful eating in restaurants without the painful after effects.
Be your own advocate. This is hard when you are in a group setting, but if there is literally nothing you can eat at a restaurant tell your friends or family. My kids are my biggest advocate, they stop the server in their tracks to ask about things being gluten free. If you don’t ask questions, you will be the one with an upset tummy. Don’t be embarrassed, your friends and loved ones will understand.
What questions should you ask?
Is there a dedicated gluten free cook area?
Do you have a separate gluten free fryer?
One of my favorites to ask is “What does “gluten friendly” mean to this restaurant?” It often means they will put your sandwich on GF bread but prepare it in the same area as other food.
Go to a dedicated gluten free restaurant. Specifically we are looking for separate cook areas such as separate fryers, grills, etc. In Massachusetts we have a few of them that are great for gluten free dining.
These restaurants are gluten free because the owners have family that needed to eat gluten free. Those are the best types of places to go when eating gluten free because you know that they care.
Gluten Free Pasta – Ask if it is cooked in the same water as the standard pasta. Nothing worse than having your gluten free chicken marsala with penne show up only to find a piece of angel hair pasta in there. Learned that one the hard way, it is best to ask up front so you know to go with the potatoes.
Marinades are iffy. Marinades often are made with soy sauce which is made with wheat. Ask what the marinade is made of, and or ask for your grilled chicken without the marinade to be safe.
Ask if the salad has croutons. Lots of places toss those crunchy delicious poisonous bread cubes into the salad. Ask upfront so you don’t have to send it back.
These tips cover most of my dining out interactions. The most important thing is to ask questions and don’t be embarrassed. I’m not shy about my diabetes, or my celiacs. The more people that know what your needs are, the more people you have looking out for you. You are your own best advocate, and there is nothing wrong with that!