No matter what city they’re in, gluten-free diners have their work cut out for them.
Restaurants with false “gluten-free” claims have caused years of trust issues, and have rendered one of the most ubiqutous forms of social gatherings into an anxiety-ridden affair.
If you find yourself out on the town for your next meal, here are some top tips for safely eating at restaurants without a gluten-free menu.
- Speak to the Manager & Chef Beforehand – . Before placing your reservation, call the restaurant candidate and ask to speak with the manager and/or chef. The manager and chef will have a better understanding of what are some feasible gluten-free options, and you can figure out your own gluten-free menu without ever leaving the front door.
- Create a Gluten-Free Eater Card – . Sometimes, even if you have spoken with the manager or the chef, someone on the cook line might have missed the memo. Avoid the problem by creating the memo—literally. If you eat out a lot, consider making simple gluten-free cards that list the severity of your diet, and what you can and cannot consume. By having the card stay with your order, everyone in the kitchen will understand what can safely go on your plate.
- Eat Before Heading Out – If the restaurant in question has been finalized, and their gluten-free options are limited, eat something at home beforehand. This way you aren’t too hungry, and can get away with eating something from the gluten-free menu, which could be limited to the appetizers or sides and no entrees. This trick will save you money and protect your wellbeing while still enjoying a meal with friends.
- Mexican & Vietnamese Restaurants – Stumped for restaurant ideas? Although they may not have a dedicated gluten-free menu, many Mexican and Vietnamese dishes can be easily adjusted to be gluten-free, which can vastly expand your eating options. Note: If you are concerned about possible cross-contamination, alert the restaurant staff!
- Stick with Old Favorites – . If you are a regular customer at a restaurant, over time they will become better at understanding and meeting your gluten-free needs. So if you have the chance to decide your choice of eatery, always remember you can go back to an old favorite. Even if they don’t have a set gluten-free menu, a restaurant will be able to make the correct adjustments if they have made them for you in the past.
Try these tips out on your next meal outing. Do you think there are some great tips we left out? Let us know in the comments!