Eating out on a Gluten-Free diet!

I know, I know, you are soo sick of explaining your food sensitivities to servers and you always feel like such a high-maintenance pain when trying to order your meal BUT THERE IS HOPE! This post will give you a few simple rules to follow in order to avoid cross-contamination disaster when eating out. Honestly, if you have any food sensitivities you will find that this list severely de-stresses your dining experience!

Below are a list of rules that I follow myself and I have found to be very effective:

1. CALL AHEAD
– It’s better to not be disappointed when you arrive at the restaurant and realize that there is nothing on the menu you can eat, or that they don’t truly understand what gluten-free eating entails.
-If they have a menu online, even better! You can assess the situation before you call in and ask about specific menu items that you are interested in.

2. INFORM
-Politely inform your server before you place your order of your allergies and sensitivities.

3. RE-CONFIRM
-If your server seems AT ALL unsure about the dish you are ordering, very politely ask them to check with the chef on all the ingredients in said dish. If they try to convince that checking with the chef is not necessary and do not oblige the request, I would honestly tell them thanks, but no thanks. Find another place to eat, and your body will thank you. *You can avoid this issue by calling ahead.
-Also, in general I find it good practice to always politely request that they inform the chef of your allergies when placing the order with the kitchen. No chef wants to get you sick! As long as you give them the proper information you can avoid a nasty aftermath.

4. GRATITUDE
-ALWAYS sincerely thank the server for being considerate of your allergies. I can empathize with you on the fact that you are sick and tired of explaining to servers what you can and can’t eat BUT just set your entitlement aside and don’t forget that it is extra work for your server. A little thank you will go a long way! Also, they are more likely to be hyper-vigilant on your allergies if you are not a total jerk.

Very soon I will be starting a special series of posts that will involve collaboration with Pittsburgh’s best chefs on the gluten-free friendliness of their restaurants. So follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get in on this series!

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