Gluten-free is a term you may hear thrown around frequently and it’s quite often associated with “fad diets” and ultra-health conscious eating. While gluten-free can be a part of simply eating well, it’s a necessary way of life for many people who are sensitive or downright allergic to wheat products. Since gluten is used in so many different things, it can be difficult to eat in a restaurant when living a gluten-free lifestyle. Here are some insider tips on how to order gluten-free in just about any restaurant you go to.
Before you go to a specific restaurant, call ahead and ask about their gluten-free options. Many restaurants realize the great need for gluten-free menu items in today’s society and have taken steps to offer them. You may be able to order gluten-free options that aren’t on the menu, however, by calling ahead of time and finding out what is available, you can avoid awkwardness with your server or asking during a busy time.
Know What Menu Items Are Usually Gluten Free
When you eat gluten-free, it’s important to know what foods inherently don’t have wheat products in them. For example, a “safe foods” list that likely holds true for any restaurant is rice, salad, plain chicken or beef, potatoes, and seasonal vegetables. If you don’t see an option on the menu that includes everything you’d like, don’t be afraid to order a la carte. Ask your server for a side of chicken, a side of vegetables, and a salad. You aren’t necessarily bound by menu “combinations.”
Know What Restaurants It’s Easy to Sub in Gluten Free Items
It’s far easier to order gluten-free at some restaurants than it is others simply because of the type of food they serve. For example, Chinese restaurants offer a great number of gluten free options, since most of what they serve is rice and vegetables. Thai restaurants often use rice noodles instead of wheat based noodles, and you can always ask that rice noodles be subbed out for traditional noodles in almost any dish. Mexican restaurants are also easier to order gluten-free at, since corn tortillas can usually be subbed out for flour tortillas.
Support Businesses Who Make Gluten-Free Options Available
You’re going to run into numerous restaurants, especially in Massachusetts, that offer clear gluten-free options. At Woodman’s of Essex, all of our menu options are free of wheat and wheat derived ingredients, other than clam cakes, sandwiches, and onion rings. When you dine at restaurants that go out of their way to give gluten sensitive individuals a wide variety of options, you “vote with your dollars” and put pressure on other competing restaurants to also offer gluten-free options.
Eating gluten-free can be challenging, especially when ordering at a restaurant, but it’s possible to have a delicious, satisfying gluten-free meal by knowing what foods are naturally gluten free, calling ahead and asking restaurants about gluten-free menu items, and supporting restaurants who have many options for gluten sensitive customers. At Woodman’s, you can always enjoy fresh food and the best seafood on the North Shore with the safety of knowing almost anything you order is gluten-free.