Living with coeliac disease does not mean an end to eating out! Most restaurants now have gluten free options available.
Coeliac Australia has developed a Gluten Free Standard for food service providers that outlines the best practice for gluten free food preparation. A Gluten Free Accreditation Program for food service providers will be launched soon. At this stage, Coeliac Australia does not endorse or certify any restaurants.
Below are a few suggestions to help you when dining out:
Choosing a restaurant
- Choose restaurants that are Accredited by Coeliac Australia – program coming soon.
- If you know which restaurant you will be going to, try to research ahead of time. Many have their menus listed 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.
- Some restaurants appreciate you stating your gluten free requirement when making a booking.
- Politely explain to the waiter that you require a gluten free diet as you have coeliac disease and ask if they can explain the gluten free options to you.
- 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 marinated. Although some restaurants now offer gluten free versions, so you may be pleasantly surprised.
- Be the last person to place your order to ensure your request is remembered.
Some cuisines offer a large selection of naturally gluten free dishes. Take the opportunity to explore different cultures! As always, the ingredients and processes differ from restaurant to restaurant, so always ask if the dishes are gluten free.
- If you don’t feel confident in the responses you are receiving, try another restaurant.
- 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 the 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. Alternatively, if you have ordered a cake at a café and it is sprinkled with icing sugar, check that the icing sugar is gluten free.
- If you had a great gluten free experience, take the time to thank the staff.