If you are diagnosed with Celiac Disease or non-celiac gluten intolerance, eating food that hasn’t been prepared by you can be terrifying because of cross-contamination. Follow the below tips on how to find a restaurant with gluten-free options and have a safe dining experience.
1.) Research Restaurants Near You
When I am trying to find a restaurant to eat at, the first thing I do is use the Find Me Gluten Free app on my phone. I like how I can search by location, restaurant type, and that there are reviews to how gluten friendly the restaurant was.
After checking Find Me Gluten Free, I will do a Google Search like ‘Gluten Free Town’ or ‘Gluten Free Near Me’. Yelp typically has a Gluten-Free restaurant list for popular cities and towns.
Once I pick a restaurant, I will do another Google Search of ‘Restaurant Gluten-Free’ so I can see if any blogs have reviewed it and what their gluten-free experience was.
2). Speak with Restaurant Staff
Either call ahead and ask to speak to a manager and/or once you sit down let your server know you cannot have gluten and special precautions will need to be made to prevent cross-contamination.
3). Ask for a Gluten-Free Menu
Even if the restaurant doesn’t list a gluten-free menu online, they may still have one.
4.) Ask Questions!
Depending on the type of restaurant you are at and if they have a gluten-free menu, use your judgement to ask the below questions:
- What items can be made gluten-free?
- Do you have gluten-free bread that can come out when the rest of the table gets their bread?
- Do you know what gluten is? If yes, what is it?
- Has your restaurant or staff completed a gluten-free training program?
- Do you have a dedicated fryer for gluten-free items only?
- Are there croutons, wontons or crispy noodles on the salad?
- Does the salad dressing or soup contain wheat or flour?
- Has the food been marinated in any sauce? Does the sauce have flour, soy or teriyaki sauce?
- Has the food been dusted with flour before being sautéed or fried?
- Will bread come with my dish?
- Is there a separate prep space for gluten-free food?
- Do you use clean or separate cookware and utensils for gluten-free food?
- Do you clean the grill before preparing gluten-free food?
5). Pick a Safe Meal From the Menu
I typically only eat at restaurants with a separate gluten-free menu or a menu with dishes labeled gluten-free. If a restaurant has gluten-free on their menu, it is likely the staff are trained in what gluten is and how to get you a safe meal.