If you suffer from Celiac disease or if you just want to become healthier, you may be living on a gluten-free diet. Living this way requires a complete change of diet, which involves eliminating any foods that contain gluten. When you eat at home you can select the foods you want to use to make meals, but eating at a restaurant provides entirely new challenges. Here are some tips you can use to help you develop the ability to eat out while sticking with your gluten-free way of living.
Complete Research Before Visiting a Restaurant
If you want to reduce the amount of time it will take for you to select and order a meal at a restaurant, there are several ways you can research restaurants to find out if there will be options for you to order from the menu. Here are a few of the ways you can do this:
- Find out if the restaurant is registered with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness – restaurants can receive training from this organization to learn how to offer safe and delicious gluten-free meals.
- Find out if the restaurant has the Celiac Support Organization seal – this is another type of training restaurant owners can receive to help them offer gluten-free meal options.
- Look up the menu – many restaurants post their menus online, and this is a great way for you to research an establishment before you go.
You may want to visit a restaurant’s website first to see if you can find the information you are looking for. If this does not offer the necessary information, you may want to call the restaurant and ask to talk to a manager or a chef.
Ask for a Gluten-Free Menu or Nutritional List of the Meals
If you cannot get the answers you need, you can still go to the restaurant that you have selected. When you arrive, you should ask the server if they offer a gluten-free menu.
Many restaurants today are beginning to offer menus that are entirely devoted to people living the gluten-free lifestyle, and you may be surprised to find out that they have a menu that contains a lot of different options.
If they do not have a gluten-free menu, you could always ask if they have a list of nutritional facts for the meals offered on the menu. A list like this will tell you what ingredients are used in each of the meals, and this will help you make the right choice. In order to do this, you must thoroughly understand what ingredients you cannot consume.
Try starting your search by looking for wheat, rye, and barley on the ingredient list. If you see any of these things, you should not order that meal. You can find more information about ingredients to avoid by visiting the website of the Celiac Disease Foundation.
Talk to Your Server
Finally, to stay safe, you should talk to your server about your needs. If you mention Celiacs to your server, there are two likely outcomes:
- The server will be unfamiliar with this – some servers and restaurants still do not know about Celiac disease and gluten-free eating. If your server appears to not understand what you are talking about, ask to talk to a manager to ensure your safety.
- The server will offer suggestions and information – if this is something the server knows about, he or she is likely to give you a lot of information about the restaurant’s policies about this. The server may also be able to recommend various entrees for you to choose from, and this may help you feel more confident with your decision.
It is always better to be safe than sorry. If you do not feel comfortable ordering something, or if you even have a small amount of doubt, it might be wiser to choose a different meal to order.
Living without consuming gluten can be difficult, especially when dining out, but it is not impossible. If you look for restaurants that understand the gluten-free living, you will have an easier time ordering something that will not cause medical problems or discomfort to you.