Eating Out, Gluten-Free.
We generally don't eat out as a family because of the challenges involved in maintaining a gluten-free diet. So if you choose to eat out, here are a few points to bear in mind to help you take action in navigating your decisions:
Many restaurants use flour as a thickening agent in their sauces.
When you eat out, you take on more risks.
When you eat out, you're placing your well-being in others' hands. Granted, many restaurants and grocery stores are becoming more savvy about the issues many face; however, some merely pay lip service to "going gluten free," while others unintentionally cross-contaminate their food. Just remember that when you eat out, you run increased risks of unintentionally ingesting gluten, other potential food allergens, and genetically modified food.
Don't be afraid to ask questions.
It's your health, so don't be afraid to talk with your server or, better yet, the chef. It's important to ask not only about the ingredients they're using, but also how the food is prepared. Are there dedicated areas for preparing gluten-free food or are they tossing your salad in a bowl that just had croutons in it? Is your gluten-free pasta being boiled in a pot that just had someone's glutenous pasta? Don't be afraid to ask!
Beware of sauces and dressings.
Sure, there are the obvious items to avoid: pastas, breaded items, etc. But sauces and dressings are the items that often cause stumbling blocks for servers and where gluten is unintentionally passed on to you as a diner. Many servers don't know that flour is a common thickening agent used in sauces or sometimes white rice. So it's important to have your server go straight to the chef to have your questions answered—or to go straight to the chef yourself. Our dining card identifies many of these ingredients so that servers and/or chefs can provide you with accurate information.
Read restaurant reviews on gluten-free sites.
If those with gluten issues have had bad experiences with certain restaurants—whether from ingesting gluten or simply being responded to rudely when asking about gluten-free items—they'll let people know. On the other hand, if they've had positive experiences, they'll let everyone know that as well. Sift through your options online before you ever arrive in person. A little research can go a long way to maintaining your health.
If you do choose to eat out, here are some resources to help you navigate the array of choices before you:
Stay up to date with the current science and recipes that can help make your family healthy.