Eating out with Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance can be tricky business! Here are a few tips I've learned that will help to make your dining experience a happier one....
1. Call ahead to the restaurant to make sure they can accommodate a gluten free customer. If the staff seems unsure or can't tell you for certain...choose another restaurant.
2. Many restaurants have a separate gluten free menu. Ask for it. Even if you've been to the restaurant before, menu items could change, so it's important to check.
3. Make sure to tell the staff that you have Celiac Disease, or even better that you are allergic to gluten, so they will know to be extra careful! If the server is unsure of what's safe for you, request a manager. Sometimes they are more knowledgeable and can help you have a good experience.
4. If ordering something that will be cooked on a shared grill, request that it be cooked on foil so it won't touch the grill. Even if they clean the grill for special orders, for me this is an added protection against cross contamination!
5. Find out if the dish you are ordering comes with bread on the side. If it does, request that it be left off. And if by chance they bring the dish out with the bread, don't be afraid to send the plate back for a new order!
6. Double check salad dressings. Many salad dressings contain gluten. And the Ranch dressing at one restaurant might be safe, while at another it's not, so be sure to check the GF menu or ask the server.
7. Never be afraid to ask questions, to take your time ordering, or to send things back! This is your health we're talking about. :) Speak up for yourself, you are your best advocate!! Just be kind to the restaurant staff when you do. :)