Gluten free eating is easy with the right know-how. But what about those times when you can’t rely on the food in your own fridge? Eating out doesn’t have to be a tricky situation, in fact with these tips you can happily eat gluten free no matter how often you go out for dinner.
1. Choosing where to eat: good and bad gluten free options
If possible, try to be the person who chooses where to eat. Whilst this isn’t always realistic (birthdays and special occasions could be out of your hands), it will give you some leeway as to how many options on the menu you can eat. Pizza restaurants, and bakery type cafes, aren’t a wise option as there will be gluten-laden flour already in the air and on most foods. On the other hand, Asian cuisine with its plentiful supply of rice dishes is often a favourite with those who eat gluten free. It’s also a good idea when booking a table to do so at a time when you know the restaurant won’t be full; waiting staff maybe too busy to answer your queries if there are dozens of other tables waiting to order.
2. Planning ahead: looking at gluten free menus
When you know you’re going to be eating out, and the restaurant has been booked in advance, do a quick bit of research. Many restaurants and bars publish their menus online and this means you can browse the options in advance, taking all the time you need to decipher the gluten free options. Make a note of anything you’d like to ask the waiting staff such as ingredients of soups, batters and dressings. If you’re stuck for gluten free options, a quick phone call to the restaurant (outside of peak times) will tell you whether there is a gluten free menu, or what your best options are. Speaking to the chef is sometimes a better option as they are more likely to know the exact ingredients of each dish.
3. Getting gluten free: What to say to staff
Speaking to waiting staff about a dietary requirement can be daunting, but don’t be embarrassed! If eating something with gluten is going to result in you feeling ill, it’s important that you avoid it at all costs. If you aren’t sure whether the staff know what gluten is, be sure to say you’re intolerant to wheat, rye and barley. Some simple questions can also help you figure out what the safest choice on the menu might be. Look out for the following:
- Salads which contain croutons and dressings
- Gravy or soups made using wheat flour
- Food that is fried in the same oil as gluten containing foods, such as batter covered onion rings