Eating out on a gluten free diet doesn’t have to be difficult or scary. Most restaurants now have gluten free options available and the choice is getting better all the time.
Below are a few suggestions to help you when dining out:
- Utilise our online restaurant finder. These restaurants are either professional members or have been recommended by members as offering a good selection of gluten free options.
- If you know which restaurant you will be going to, try to research ahead of time. Many have their menus listed online on their website. If there are no gluten free options marked on the menu, it may be worthwhile giving the restaurant a call to see if they have a separate gluten free menu or whether they can alter some of their menu options to make them gluten free.
- When phoning ahead, try to call at a time when you know it won’t be as busy (perhaps between lunch and dinner). You may even be able to speak to the chef directly and explain your requirements.
- On arrival at the restaurant, politely explain to the waiter that you require a gluten free diet and ask if they will be able to cater for you. If they don’t understand what gluten free is then you may need to try a different restaurant.
- Be realistic with your expectations - it is highly unlikely that everything on the menu will be gluten free, particularly items that contain bread and pasta or are crumbed or battered, although some restaurants now offer gluten free versions so you may be pleasantly surprised.
- Be prepared to pay more, as often it does cost more for restaurants to provide gluten free alternatives. This may be owing to purchasing separate equipment for gluten free food preparation or increased costs of the gluten free ingredients from their supplier.
- If something doesn’t seem right, don’t just assume it is gluten free, question it. For example, if you have ordered soup as a meal and it comes served with crusty bread on the side, double check that the bread is gluten free. Or if you have ordered a cake at a cafe and it is sprinkled with icing sugar, check that the icing sugar is gluten free.
- Be mindful of unexpected sources of gluten:
- Stocks and sauces
- Soy milk
- Icing sugar/ dusting chocolate
- Salad dressings
- Chicken salt
- Dusting/coating flour
- Oil that is used for other purposes
The most important things are to exercise common sense and patience.