Gluten Free Options at Fast Food Chains

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Lets be honest… We all love fast food! The mouth-watering burgers, the warm salty fries, or the extra large milkshake is enough to make you crave it over and over again. But eating fast food can be really hard if you’re trying to stick to a gluten free diet. Most people get really overwhelmed when looking at the menu for safe options, but I’m here to make this process a little easier! Down below are 5 of the most popular fast food chains and all of their gluten free options!

Now before you get too excited… Please be aware of one very important thing called cross contamination. Cross contamination is where an item that contains wheat touches or cooks into an item otherwise considered “gluten free.” For example, fries are naturally GF, but when they are cooked in the same frying oil as fried chicken they are no longer considered “safe” for those with an intolerance or allergy. Since fast food is all about efficiency and speed, the cross contamination on surfaces and cooking appliances are almost guaranteed. So, just remember to be thoughtful about this next time you go through a drive-thru!

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Mcdonalds

  1. Yogurt Parfait (no granola)
  2. Grilled Chicken Salad (only at certain stores)
  3. A La Carte order of Eggs, Sausage, Ham, Beef patty, or Grilled Chicken
  4. Apple slices
  5. Ice Cream with Fudge, Caramel, or Strawberry Sauce
  6. Shakes and frappes ( not oreo)

Chick-Fil-A

(Chick-Fil-A is the only fast food chain that I personally feel safe eating from. They cook their fries in separate oil, have a wide selection, and are very accommodating towards allergies!)

Breakfast

  1. A La Carte order of Grilled Chicken, Eggs, Bacon, or Sausage
  2. Fruit Cup
  3. Hashbrowns
  4. Yogurt Parfait (no granola)

Lunch/Dinner

  1. Grilled Nuggets
  2. Fries
  3. Salads w/ Grilled Chicken ( ask for no Croutons or Nuts)
  4. Milkshakes ( not oreo)
  5. Ask your local chain about Gluten Free Buns

Subway

Make sure to have the workers change their gloves before handling to prevent cross contamination

  1. All Meats except (Teriyaki Chicken and Meatballs)
  2. Broccoli and Cheddar soup
  3. Vegetable soup
  4. All Veggies

Wendys

  1. Salads w/ Grilled Chicken ( No croutons or Nuts)
  2. Chili
  3. Baked Potatoes
  4. A la carte order of Hamburger patty or Grilled Chicken
  5. Frostys

Taco Bell

  1. Power Menu Bowl
  2. Tacos (corn or dorritos shell)
  3. A la carte order of beans, rice, or beef
  4. Chips w/ Guacamole or Pico de Gallo
  5. Spicy Tostada

* Taco Bell does not claim gluten free on any of their menu items

10 foods you didn’t know contained gluten

Over 3 million Americans claim to follow a gluten free diet. While only 25% have a medical reason to avoid gluten, like having celiac disease or IBS, the majority choose to avoid it for personal reasons. With the increase on low-carb diets like Atkins, Keto, and Paleo, and the recent health studies shaming it, avoiding gluten is becoming an increasingly popular idea.

While everyone knows that gluten is primarily in breads and pastries, there are a few hidden sources found in products you would otherwise think to be safe. Please watch out for the following…

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1. Malt Milkshakes

I’m sure everyone has had a malted milkshake before, but did you know that malt powder is directly derived from barely, which is a common gluten containing grain. So next time be careful when you see the word “Malt.”

2. Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is one that most people don’t realize it contains gluten until you fully read the label. All soy sauces (and sauces made with soy sauce) contain wheat. They use wheat during the brewing process, therefore taking away the GF label.

3. Canned soup

Canned soup is another widely unknown source of gluten. They add wheat flour to make the soup thicker and creamier, so read the ingredient label carefully. (Cream of ___, Tomato, Chicken and Noodle, ETC.) all contain gluten, so just make sure to pick up a gluten free version next time at the store.

4 – 5. Meatballs and Meatloaf

Most packaged, store-bought, and restaurant made Meatballs/Meatloaf contain gluten. The standard recipe for creating meatballs usually call for taking bread crumbs, or something similar, and combining it with the meat. The same goes for meatloaf, most people add crackers to it. So, just remember to look at the label or ask the chef if there are any sort of special add in ingredients!

6. Gravy

Gravy is literally made by whisking milk into flour! So unless you use a GF flour, there is no getting around this one!

7. Salad Dressings

Again, flour is commonly used to thicken sauces, soups, and other recipes, so just be sure to read the salad dressing labels or ask the chefs before. My general rule for dressings is (Creamy, thick = Not safe) (vinagrettes, clear = usually OK)

8 – 9. Gummy Bears and Licorice

Believe it or not, most candy companies add wheat to their gummies or licorice. The gelatin they use is usually derived from wheat, and the candy companies add it to hold their licorice together! (Twizzlers and Haribo are usually not GF)

10. Fries

First note: fries are naturally gluten free, but they are almost always cross- contaminated (fried in the same oil as wheat containing foods). Therefore fries you can bake at home are always gluten free, but fries at a restaurant are normally not. Just be sure to ask where they are fried! ( Chick-Fil-A frys it separately, so it is GF ), but ( McDonalds put gluten containing flavoring on their fries, so they are NOT GF )