Gluten free eating is easy with the right know-how. But what about those times where you want to treat yourself to eating out at a restaurant? 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.
Check out our gluten free eating out guide below featuring 3 easy steps.
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 control in selecting a restaurant which accommodates gluten free eating better.
Pizza restaurants and bakery-based cafes aren’t a wise option as there will be gluten-laden flour already present 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 foods. 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 may be too busy to answer your queries if there are dozens of other tables waiting to order.
2. Planning ahead: looking at gluten free menus
If you know where you’re going to be eating out, you can always do a little research online to assess their gluten free situation. 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! They’re there to serve you! 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’re not sure whether the staff is aware of what gluten is, be sure to flag that 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
Another thing to keep your eye out for is GF (Gluten Free) symbol which you’ll find accredited to certain restaurants and restaurant groups. This symbol is accredited by Coeliac UK. Find a list of restaurant groups of GF here.