5 useful tips for Gluten Free Dining at restaurants

Ok, eating out with an allergy can be a terrifying experience! You have to read every inch of the menu to find something you can eat, then you have to make sure there isn’t any cross-contamination, then you feel guilty for being “THAT” person, and lastly you have to deal with all the peer pressure and temptation of your friends eating your favorite foods that you can’t have… No Wonder You Are Here!!

So here’s a little fun fact about my family. We eat out almost every day! I know I know… you are probably cringing at the thought, I know I am, but it’s true! My parents hate cooking, which therefore results in us going to restaurants all of the time. Now I used to never mind this, in fact I loved it! I was always super adventurous with food and loved to try new things, so going out was great! I would never get the same thing twice on a menu without trying every other dish first!

That was before I was diagnosed with Celiac. Now it wasn’t fun. I used to hate going out to restaurants, because it was always a stressful experience! I was just beginning my gluten free journey and had no clue what was safe for me to eat and what wasn’t. I had to ask a million questions, and I felt like everyone was annoyed at me. So therefore what used to be an enjoyable outing became an anxiety filled one.

Over time though I became familiar with what was generally safe to eat on menus and what I should avoid. I developed a sense of confidence when ordering and became aware of some tips and tricks that I’m about to share with you. Now when I go out to eat I’m not stressed or scared, I simply enjoy!

Down below are just a few of the many tips and tricks I use when eating out with Celiac Disease and avoiding gluten. Every time we go to a restaurant or fast food place, I use these, and they have saved me from getting glutened more times than I can count.

1. Research the Menu Before You Go

I cannot stress to you enough how much this tip has helped me! If you research the restaurant’s menu beforehand, you can avoid the stress of not knowing what to get. Even better, now a days is that most restaurants have an allergen menu with gluten free options! If you familiarize yourself with the menu, you won’t be as overwhelmed when ordering!

2. Eat With Supportive Friends or Family

It is inevitable when you go out to eat with an allergy or intolerance, that you will need more attention. You may need to ask questions, speak to managers, or wait longer for your food, so go with a supportive group of people! It’s already stressful and intimidating trying to order, so don’t make it worse by sitting with a group of unsupportive friends!

If you are the supportive friend then please be patient! It’s hard enough without you being irritable! Thank you!

3. Let Your Waiter/Waitress Know

Listen, I know it can be intimidating to speak up, especially when you are new to the whole thing, but you NEED to do it. I cannot tell you how many times I have been too scared to speak up, only to find out after I had ordered that the restaurant had a specialized gluten free menu! Celiac Disease and gluten allergies are becoming more common everyday, and you would be pleasantly surprised by how much the chef and staff actually know about gluten, so let them know!!

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

Most people with allergies, intolerances, or Celiac Disease are hesitant to ask questions. They don’t want to be a bother, or they simply don’t want to be singled out among their friends! But if you are unsure that something is completely GF, then ask! Answering questions is what the staff is there for!

Also if you followed Tip #2 (cough cough) then your friends won’t care! Trust me, they would rather you be healthy and annoying, than quiet and sick!

5. Keep Calm and Enjoy!!

Eating out is always stressful with Celiac Disease, but you just have to remember to stay calm and enjoy yourself. Going out to eat is supposed to be a fun! Don’t let having Celiac stop you from going out with your friends and having a great time!!

For my favorite gluten free fast food, check out my other blog post!


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