For those of you that are conscious of the impact gluten can have on your health and for those that are 100% gluten intolerant, staying gluten-free when dining out can be a huge source of anxiety. Over the last few years, with more gluten awareness, many restaurants do cater to the needs of gluten-free individuals & have added gluten-free options to their existing menus. But, for those of us who are not just merely watching our gluten intake due to self-diagnosis, but instead have a severe gluten intolerance, Celiacs, or Crohn’s disease, cross-contamination in restaurants does happen.
Due to the constant concern of those who fear cross-contamination of gluten in restaurants and to help limit any liability, restaurants have decided to become certified by The GFFS Certification program. GFFS works with different experts in food prep to help not only educate & train restaurants on gluten-free standards but to also develop a structured program that requires them to adhere to these high standards in order to become GFFS certified.
The Gluten-Free Dining Experience
Where You Eat:
Your choice of restaurant selection greatly determines the quality and level of gluten-free options. Fast food restaurants for example may have less time to assess all the ingredients in their food products. Cross-contamination in fast food restaurants is pretty much inevitable. Not to mention are the employees being monitored at all to make sure they follow any of the gluten-free guidelines?
Calling the restaurant you will be dining at before going there can make it a lot easier to ensure gluten-free dining. Look at the menu as well and make a list of gluten-free ingredients and options. Having a little advance notice from both parties makes it easier for you to really enjoy great gluten-free options as well as makes it easier for the restaurant to be prepared before their busy times.
Timing Is Everything:
Timing your dining experience can make or break your meal entirely. Eating during peak busy hours at a restaurant can make it harder to access the right people and get through answers to your questions. By planning your meals during the slower hours or also by calling the restaurants of choice ahead of time is key!
By utilizing a GIG question card that can be taken back to the chef or asking detailed questions to the chef, servers or manager can help you determine if you are making the best gluten-free options for yourself and can help to ensure that your meal will be safe to eat.
While gluten-free dining can be somewhat o a lot of work when eating out, once you have key factors and habits set in place it is a lot easier to manage your gluten intolerance or sensitivity when enjoying a meal in a restaurant.