Tips on How to Avoid Gluten when Dining Out

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Eating out at restaurants is always a fun activity, especially when joined by family and friends. However, for those who are diagnosed with Celiac disease, it is almost impossible for them to savor the goodness of restaurant food without having to worry about symptoms.

A healthy gluten-free life is well within your reach by following these tried and tested tips. Do not let the challenges of your health condition stop you from enjoying the activity of dining out with your friends and family.

One misconception that Celiac Disease patients have is that they cannot eat out altogether. More and more restaurants are becoming aware of diet restrictions for those diagnosed not only with Celiac Disease, but with other health conditions as well. Here are some of the tips you can apply the next time you plan to eat out alone, or with someone.

Food Sensitivity Issues in the United States

According to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network or FAAN, 1 in 25 Americans suffer from food allergies. There are about 3 million Americans suffering from Celiac Disease- individuals who are required to follow a strict gluten-free diet. There are also a few million health-conscious individuals who are not Celiac Disease patients, but follow this type of diet. It was reported that the gluten-free diet actually makes its followers feel better altogether.

  • Learn about the gluten-free diet In order for you to avoid the attack of symptoms, you must fist understand what type of grains you need to avoid altogether. In order to dine out safely, you need to identify the grains that absolute NO NOs for your condition as well as other hidden food sources of gluten. It is also advised to avoid the cross-contact of gluten to be absolutely sure that you do not suffer from the unwanted symptoms later on.
  • Pick a restaurant that offers gluten-free alternatives on their menu This is not a hard thing to do. Just pick a restaurant before heading out to eat dinner that serves all-natural gluten-free food items like chicken, meat, and fish that are not breaded or are covered in flour sauce. There are also restaurants that advertise themselves as food establishments with gluten free options.

You can simply call the restaurant you fancy for the day and ask them before hand about their menu. You can discuss your food preferences or restrictions so that they can prepare right ahead of time. Here are some questions that you need to ask when you call a restaurant:

– Do you have a gluten-free menu?

– What food items in your menu can be prepared without the addition of gluten?

– Are you aware of what food items you have that contain gluten? If yes, what are they?

– Have your restaurant staff and serving crew undergone gluten-free training program?

  • Inform the staff It is always best to inform the restaurant staff that you are suffering from Celiac disease or you have sensitivity issues with gluten-containing food items. If the staff does not understand your condition, it is recommended that you explain to them what it means. By simply stating that you cannot have anything that contains bread crumbs, soy sauce, and floor for possible exacerbation of symptoms, they will know what meal options to suggest to you.
  • Always ask questions politely Look at the menu and pick the dishes that you know does not contain gluten. Most restaurants provide a simple and short description of their dishes, thus making it easy for you to weed out the meals that you cannot consume. Never assume tha everything on the menu is gluten free even if the waiting staff told you they offer gluten-free options. For instance, green tea may contain barley, whilst the omelet may contain pancake batter making them fluffier.

Here are more questions that you can ask yourself or the waiting staff:

-Do they add croutons to wonton, noodles, or salads?

– Does the soup contain flour or barley?

– Does the salad dressing they top salads with contain flour or wheat?

– Were the meat products marinated in soy sauce, flour, or teriyaki sauce?

– Were the food dusted, sautéed, and fried with flour?

– Do their mashed potato made from real potatoes or prepackaged?

– Do they use fake crabmeat or real crab meat?

Cross-Contamination concerns:

– Is there a dedicated prep space for gluten-free meals?

– Do you use separate or clean utensils as well as cookware for gluten-free preparations?

– Are the pots, pans, and grill cleaned before gluten-free meals are prepared on them?

– Is there a dedicated frying pan or fryer for gluten-free food?

  • Do not be pickyBe always prepared to be served with something that isn’t your first choice to eat. This happens quiet a lot as majority of restaurants still fall short when it comes to preparing a naturally gluten-free menu. In order to avoid dissatisfaction and hunger, pre-eat so you won’t be feeling that famished once you dine out. You may also bring gluten-free food with you and explain to the restaurant staff that one of their dishes meet the criteria for a gluten-free diet.
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