Here is Part Three of my three part series on the gluten-free lifestyle. Part One (Where to Start) is here and Part Two (How Meals Will Change) is here. I know I said I’d have more on gluten-free oatmeal in this part, but as an afterthought, I didn’t think it belonged in this series. It will be in a separate recipe post, but it will be here soon regardless!
Making food at home will prove to be easier than eating out, once you’ve given up gluten. At least you know how the food was prepared at home! Gluten hides in everything at a restaurant. Cream sauces, soups, fillers in meats, dustings on baked potatoes, vegetables, and meat that wasn’t described as breaded on the menu… the list goes on.
As I mentioned before, Olivia and I were not terribly sensitive. We eliminated the obvious in hopes that the margin of error we left would be wide enough to envelope sneaky chefs. So, at restaurants, we ordered burgers and chicken sandwiches without the bread. We ordered baked potatoes instead of mashed and left the skins. We picked the croutons off the salads and painfully forwent the dinner rolls. No soups or cream sauces or gravies.
For those with severe sensitivities, it is best to talk to your server, or look at the restaurant’s website before even leaving the house. Many restaurants list their nutritional information on their sites, or at the very least you can call and ask to talk with a manager or chef and they will tell you what you need to know.
Some questions to ask might be:
- Are there fillers in your meat? (Fillers often have wheat in them.)
- Are your French fries fried in the same oil as breaded food?
- Do your hamburgers touch surfaces contaminated with flour?
- Can I bring my own noodles?
- Do your gravies and sauces use flour or corn starch? Could you use corn starch for mine?
- Are your mashed potatoes made from scratch or from a mix?
Eating out wasn’t terrible for us. It did get boring, as it eliminated all good pasta dishes, but it was doable. But for those who are so sensitive that they need to check the labels on the ketchup bottles to see which kind of vinegar is used, it will take research and forethought, and might not be worth the effort!
Here is a website that lists gluten-free restaurants in your area, and here is an app you can buy ($1.99) for your iPhone (if you have one) that will give you a registry of gluten-free groceries and restaurants. Those should help a little, at least!
What tips have you picked up that have helped you eat gluten-free at restaurants?