Dining out can be very relaxing and enjoyable for most, but that’s not the case for those that eat gluten-free. It’s important to make sure there isn’t any cross contamination and that’s where it’s hard to dine out. It’s also important to make sure your server knows exactly what gluten-free is and if she doesn’t understand you’ll need to kindly educate her so she can help you this time and maybe someone else down the road.
The first thing that will make your dining out experience better is to check websites ahead of time. Most chain type restaurants have their menu online for people to see. This will give you the ability to see what your options are before you leave your home. This will prevent you from going to a restaurant and either leaving without eating or sitting there while the other people in your party eat in front of you.
As you become more familiar with what you can eat and restaurants that offer foods that are gluten-free it’s a good idea to keep them in your mind; although it’s still a good idea to check their menu regularly as they may change without notice. You’ll know certain restaurants will never offer you anything to eat and that’s ok, but it’s good to know so you never find yourself going to that type of place to eat.
Once you get to the restaurant it’s important to ask questions. If you don’t feel your server will have the correct answers, it’s a good idea to ask for a manager or the lead cook. It’s best to be safe so if you don’t feel comfortable with the answers you’re getting, continue up the chain with your questions. At some point you will find someone that either knows the ingredients or will have the ability to look at the packaging for the foods you want to eat.
Explaining your allergies to your server will help you to have a better chance of being able to eat there. One thing you can do is ask the cook to either wash his hands and only touch your food or ask him to put on or change his gloves and only prepare your food. A lot of restaurants want your business, so they’re willing to go the extra mile to make sure you can come back again.
It’s never a good idea to assume. Restaurants do certain things to foods to give them more flavor and assuming they won’t marinade, sauté, or add flour to a dish to give it more flavor will only cause you problems. It’s best to ask ahead of time if they do those types of things so you can ask them not to do it with your dish. While some places have dishes put together already and can’t remove things from it, it doesn’t mean all of them do it, so it’s best to ask your server.
Eating gluten-free doesn’t mean you can’t dine out. You’ll need to do some research and ask questions, but you’ll find there are places out there you can go to and enjoy yourself without the fear of eating something that’s going to make you sick