Yes! It's much easier than ever to eat out when following a gluten free diet. The foodservice and hospitality industry’s awareness and knowledge about gluten diets is growing and many restaurant chains offer gluten free menus. Even some fast food restaurants now offer gluten free options.
It is still possible to run into issues at a restaurant, in most cases, the problem isn't gluten containing ingredients in the food itself—it's cross contamination or lack of understanding from the restaurant staff.
Therefore, we have put together these top tips to help avoid any problems:
It’s fun to go out on a whim, but that’s not always possible when following a gluten-free diet.
Have a look at the restaurants websites before you go. Look for dedicated gluten-free menus and markers that items are or can be made gluten-free.
It’s also a good idea to call the restaurant before you go and talk to the manager or chef. This is your best way of getting your concerns answered clearly and directly and you will get a feel if the restaurant fully understands the importance of your diet.
Here are some questions you might try:
Do you have a gluten-free menu?
What are the specific ingredients? For example:
What do you do to avoid cross-contamination?
Remember, if you don’t feel confident from the responses you receive, or it seems like you’re having to educate the staff, you might want to reconsider.
When your meal arrives, always double-check that it is yours and confirm it is gluten-free. That way you will avoid accidentally biting into a regular burger while your friend enjoys your gluten-free version!
What to do if you do have a bad experience
As much as you may want to leave immediately, let the management know as soon as possible. They’ll usually do whatever they can to make it right and you’ll pave the way forward for your fellow coeliacs by helping the restaurant improve and educating them.
Look out for Coeliac UK's GF symbol on menus and in the windows of accredited venues. The GF symbol on a menu tells you that the dish is gluten-free according to the law and that the caterer meets all requirements of the Gluten-free standard which covers all aspects of gluten-free preparation and ensures training is in place.