Tips for Ordering at a Restaurant While Avoiding Gluten
Last updated: April 2022
Gluten-free has become such a buzzword in the food industry. Thankfully, if you have a gluten allergy, you are well-taken care of these days when it comes to the products available. It may be slightly frustrating to navigate at times, but for the most part, eating out with a gluten allergy can be very doable with some preparation and awareness.
6 tips for ordering gluten-free
There are several ways to be prepared to enjoy a meal at a restaurant when you have a gluten allergy. Here are 6 tips for dining out when you must be gluten-free!
1. Review the restaurant menu beforehand
Because everything is online now, especially with the pandemic, I highly recommend looking at the menu before sitting down to order. Familiarize yourself with the options and, most importantly, look first to see what gluten-free alternatives they have. Most restaurants now have a "GF" marking you can look for which makes ordering very simple. If your restaurant of choice doesn't have the "GF" label, don't worry, there are always options.
2. Great gluten-free appetizers
I love a good appetizer. Some gluten-free appetizer options I like to order are potato skins, stuffed olives, a charcuterie board, certain soups, and some types of salad. If your soup or salad comes with croutons, ask if there is a gluten-free option. There can also be wheat in certain soups.
3. Have a plan in place
My biggest tip would be to have a plan so you can reduce stress and anxiety. Things can get stressful and complicated when you don't have a plan. Look at the menu beforehand, get situated with meal options, and plan.
Sometimes, I will call the restaurant in advance to ask questions rather than ask at the table. It's a great way to make things more seamless when you do sit down to order. It will also help with any awkward feelings with a group.
4. Suggest the restaurant
Lastly, if you are in a group and have to eat gluten-free, it is always helpful to suggest a restaurant that works for you. This way, everyone can enjoy it, and you don't have to worry about food options. Over time I have built up a personal list of "safe" restaurants that work for me so that whenever a friend wants to grab a bite, I can suggest a spot and it's easier.
5. Be mindful of options at chain restaurants
Overall, I've found that if I go to a privately owned restaurant and not a chain, they are willing to work with me and make things specifically towards my needs. At a chain restaurant, it can be hard because, sadly, many of the menu items tend to be pre-made, making gluten-free substitutions nearly impossible.
6. When in doubt, go for chicken and salad
What restaurant doesn't have a grilled chicken and a salad option when you think about it? You have to go to a very select spot not to be able to order some grilled chicken with a salad, right? Fish and vegetables are also an excellent option. Make sure that if you order protein, it isn't breaded.
So when all else fails, I try to remember that there will usually be some gluten-free option, even if it's not the most delicious.
What tips do you have for ordering gluten-free at a restaurant? Comment below; we love to hear from you.
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