Every family or couple enjoys going out to a restaurant once in a while. It is a great experience and a great vacation from cooking every night. Having food allergies, whether it be celiac disease or gluten intolerance, can really put a damper on your plans and make dining out seem near impossible. It truly isn’t impossible and by following these tips you can have an enjoyable dining out experience:
Find a Restaurant with A Gluten Free Menu
There are a lot more restaurants popping up with gluten free options on their menu, or an entirely separate gluten free menu. These places are typically the safest places to eat because the head chef and kitchen staff would be aware of the limitations of the diet and understand the allergy protocols that are in place. Not only are the kitchen staff usually quite informed about what gluten is and how to avoid cross contamination, but the wait staff will know what you are talking about and not be caught off guard.
It is a good idea if you have plans in the works to eat at a certain restaurant on a specific day to call and speak to the head chef a head of time. While on the phone you can ask if they have any allergy protocols in place and if they are familiar with celiac disease, gluten intolerance and cross contamination issues. You can usually tell within the first 5 minutes of the conversation if this is going to be a safe place to eat. If they have never heard of celiac disease – probably safer to find a different establishment.
Go With an Allergy Card
An allergy card is becoming more popular for individuals with food allergies. It is a card – about the size of an index card – that you can make or purchase that would outline exactly what to know about your allergy. For gluten allergies and celiac disease it would likely contain basic information about what gluten is found in (wheat, barley, oats and rye) and some of the typical foods these are included in. It also would contain information about how important it is to avoid cross contamination and the need for separate utensils and plates.
When you visit a restaurant you would ask to speak to the chef or kitchen manager and hand them this card and talk over your needs with them.This card offers a quick reference for the other staff in the kitchen as well as for the chef who may not be familiar with your food allergy.
Make sure if you eat at a new restaurant or establishment you are an advocate for yourself. Your food safety is important and you don’t want to risk ingesting something that would be harmful to your body. It is possible to enjoy your evening out – just make sure you are cautious about where you eat.