When it comes to dining out, anyone gluten-free knows that things can get tricky fast. And while it’s always easier to just pick a gluten-free restaurant, they’re not always available, or the people you’re going with might not be up for that. So then it falls to you to make sure that whatever you order doesn’t bring you down later. Here are the 6 biggest things to do to when ordering gluten-free food at restaurants to make sure you’ll enjoy your night out as much as everyone else.
1. Call Ahead
The first line of defense when eating out gluten-free is to make sure they know you’re coming. Calling ahead and asking about gluten-free options avoids that disappointment later when you get there and realize that everyone can order something delicious except you. And it can also give you an idea of how accommodating they can be.
2. When You Get There, Don’t Be Afraid To Ask…
Even if you’ve been assured that the restaurant has gluten-free options, there’s no harm in asking questions about the food when you get there. Who knows – the server might be new and need to double-check whether something has gluten. So go ahead and ask.
3. …And Ask Again
If your waiter isn’t reassuring the first time you ask, ask again! You might be nervous about sounding rude. That’s natural. But think about it: Would sounding rude for a few minutes worse than getting glutened later? Easy decision. If you’re not clear on any part of the dish you want to order, ask enough questions until you feel like it’s safe.
4. Tell Them About Your Condition
As Celiacs well know, it requires a lot more attention and vigilance than simply eating gluten-free by choice. If you accidentally ingest something with gluten and you’re gluten-free by choice, it’s not necessarily a health problem. If you’re Celiac, well…
So tell the employees that you’re actually Celiac or have a gluten allergy – even if they assure that there are gluten-free options. They’re not going to want the reputation of glutening people with food that they claimed was safe, so they’re more likely to let you know if something you’re planning to order has gluten snuck in.
5. Watch For Gluten-Free Food That “Seems” Gluten-Free
Soups, sauces, dressings, and other toppings can have gluten hiding in them and the servers might not even realize it. This goes back to the idea of asking again and again – even the smallest part of the dish could be dangerous. Worst case? You have them leave off the croutons or the dressing.
6. Beware Of Buffets
You might think that buffets are easier, right? You get to actually pick and choose every food you eat to make sure it’s safe. But you also run the huge risk of cross-contamination, especially when it comes to utensils. Unless you can make absolutely sure that nothing that ever came in contact with gluten has touched the food you’re going to eat, just stay away.
What other rules do you follow when ordering gluten-free food at restaurants? Tell us in the comments below!