Tips For Safe Gluten Free Eating Out
August 17th, 2011
Just because you have coeliac disease doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy eating out. Yes, it can be a bit of a challenge but with a little research and preparation you should be able to relax and enjoy yourself. And the other great bonus is of course . . . no washing up.
We’ve put together a few tips to help ensure you can eat out with peace of mind and enjoy your meal.
If you’re heading out to a restaurant, give them a ring. Ask to speak to the chef or if not, a waiter. Ask them what dishes they serve that are gluten free and you can advise them if they aren’t sure.
They may or may not realise that things like breadcrumbs, croutons and even the wheat flour used in sauces, can cause problems. To be on the safe side ask them to check the ingredients in any bought-in foods and products like stock cubes. Don’t forget they are covered by the same EU-wide labelling laws as foods in the supermarket are.
Most restaurants will understand but if they don’t, simply explain to them why it’s important that you avoid gluten. Even if they don’t have anything on the menu that is gluten free, you could ask if they’d be prepared to cook you something safe.
Many chefs will be more than happy to help you once they know the reason for your request. Maybe you could mention that you are looking for a regular place to eat out and it may swing them into helping out.
Also you should talk to the waiter when you get to the restaurant and explain a little about coeliac disease if they are not already aware.
Make sure to ask what they have on the menu that will be suitable for you and tell them it’s not like an allergy to peanuts where you could collapse, but it is extremely important.
Maybe you fancy a takeaway?
For starters if you’re going for the classic fish and chips, make sure you avoid chips that are cooked in the same oil as battered fish. Removing the batter from fish doesn’t make it safe to eat because it will already have been contaminated with the gluten.
If you are going for Chinese takeaway, you obviously need to avoid wheat noodles and soy sauce. Check that dishes containing gluten are not cooked in the same pan as your food.
A fan of Indian foods? Avoid the breads. Although most dishes are thickened with chickpea flour which is actually gluten-free, remember to check.
Delicious Pizza? Well the usual pizza bases aren’t suitable if you have coeliac disease. There are a few pizza chain outlets who will cook your gluten-free pizza bases if you supply them with one, but kitchen contamination could be an issue.
Don’t forget to see if you have a local gluten free group, as they can recommend perfect places to eat and cut out your own trial and error.
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