Friday, 20 September 2013

Eating out Gluten Free style

We all like to hang up the apron and get a break from the washing up from time and treat ourselves to a lovely meal out with friends or family.

There has been a huge development for us gluten freeers when dining out in recent years- from Pizza Express having a huge gluten-free friendly variety to Carluccios having a tailor made gluten-free menu. However, there are still times when dining out can be a real hassle with either waiters not understanding what 'gluten' even means or even worse, when you have been misguided and have been left 'glutened'.

So here are Gluten Free Foods top tips for relieving the stress when dining out:

1) Ring the restaurant beforehand. We have been to many restaurants that just need a little bit of prep time in order to ensure that we can enjoy gluten free bread on arrival. Also ringing before you arrive will mean that you can spend more time socialising and enjoying your evening rather than tediously having to explain what 'Coeliac' means to your waiter.

2) Choose somewhere that you know is 'gluten free' friendly. Either a well-known chain or if you are wanting to find somewhere a little bit more unusual or 'special' than have a research online. There are so many gluten free bloggers out there who are constantly updating and reviewing new restaurants etc. Check out the Gluten Free Tart, the Gluten Free Foodie or Gluten Free B and see what their top picks are.

3) Never feel embarrassed to ask, ask and ask again. We know that sometimes it feels awkward to check that the waiter is aware what 'gluten free' means but we have witnessed responses including 'it means you cannot eat cheese', 'it means you can only eat spelt flour' and 'it means you are a fussy eater'! Even if it takes longer to order, make sure you are certain that you know what you are eating is gluten free as it is not worth suffering for the week after.

4) Sometimes it is easiest to just go for the safest option such as grilled meats, fish and veg. Although you may be pining after a bowl of gluten free pasta, naturally gluten free foods are readily available at many restaurants and remember you will be saving yourself the calories too!

5) Be careful with sushi- although it is a great choice for coeliacs, make sure you check the mayonnaise is gluten free and remind the waiter not to use soya sauce. Also, the soba noodles that are often included on the menu, are supposedly pure Buckwheat, however we have been 'glutened' many times because the noodles were thickened with wheat flour- so don't forget to check!

Finally, enjoy your evening out- remember you won't be left with a pile of dirty dishes!

Have a great weekend!

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