The Gut Nurse, Amanda Milisits Meri (RN and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach) shares three helpful tips to safely dining out for individuals with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.
1. Read restaurant menus in advance. You will want to make sure the restaurant offers a gluten free menu. Although it is common to find a restaurant with a gluten free menu, many restaurants still do not offer gluten free menus.
2. Call the restaurant ahead of time. It can be uncomfortable asking waitstaff several questions on food handling so calling in advance can take the pressure off. Notify them that you cannot eat gluten or you will become ill and politely let them know you have a series of food handling questions to ask for your safety.
Some questions to ask:
Do you have a gluten free menu?
Do you know what gluten is? If so, what is it? (If they don’t have a solid answer, this is a red flag that the restaurant may not be adequately trained to safely handle gluten free food and that cross-contamination may occur. Ask to speak with a manager or chef instead.)
How do you verify that your ingredients are gluten free?
How do you avoid cross contact with gluten containing ingredients?
Is there a separate prepping place for gluten free items?
Do you use clean or separate cookware and utensils for gluten free food?
Do you clean the grill before preparing gluten free food?
Has your restaurant completed a gluten-free training program?
3. Double check
Once you received your meal, ask the waiter if he can guarantee your dish is gluten free and that it has not come in contact with gluten containing foods. Remind him that you cannot tolerate even a single bite of gluten containing food or you will become ill. Assess your plate for any signs of gluten like fried onions, croutons, or any breading. If you notice any signs of gluten, point them out and ask again “are you sure this is gluten free?”
The Find Me Gluten Free app is a gluten free restaurant finder that comes in handy when eating out. Use this app to find and review gluten free restaurants. More ratings and reviews helps gluten free community find safe restaurants for us more quickly.
These tips are not a guarantee that you will have a safe gluten free meal. If you do not feel comfortable about the food at any establishment, speak to the management team before eating. Do not put your health in jeopardy.