Did you know the average American eats out 4.2 meals per week? 1

KEY POINTS:

EATING AWAY FROM HOME IS EASIER ONCE YOU LEARN THE BASICS OF THE GLUTEN-FREE DIET.
Family Dinner
  • A good understanding of safe and unsafe ingredients will help you choose food more safely at restaurants, catered events, picnics, friends' houses, and parties, etc.
  • Plan ahead and review a restaurant's menu for the safest choices.
  • ALWAYS identify yourself as someone who needs a special diet. Do not try to guess if the menu item is safe.
  • Ask your server, the manager or the chef clear questions about ingredients and the chance of cross-contamination. Cross-contamination can occur any place where food is served. Learn more about this important topic in the next two levels and in the section on cross-contamination.Table with food
  • Send back any food that is not gluten-free (such as croutons on your salad). Clearly explain the problem to the waitstaff so that it can be corrected and you can enjoy a safe meal. You deserve it!
  • Bring along your own favorite gluten-free sauces or dressings to flavor your meal, if needed.
  • There are many resources for dining out gluten-free, including Restaurant Guides and Dining Cards. Show them to waiters to help them understand your gluten-free diet. Visit Level 2 and 3 to see them.
  • Always travel with food so that you never go hungry!
  • Click here to download the gluten-free snacking list.
GLUTEN-FREE FOOD TO GO (GF= GLUTEN-FREE)
Dried fruit/trail mix labeled GF GF Muffins (in a container to avoid crumbling)
Fresh fruit, veggies GF Cookies
Plain nuts and seeds GF rice/corn cakes
Dried GF cereal in bags GF Dried soups
Tuna in a pouch (check ingredients) Packaged GF entrees
Freeze-dried GF food Peanut butter
GF Energy bars GF Chips
Pre-toasted GF bread GF soy sauce, condiments
GF Pretzels GF Protein powder (to mix with juice or milk)
POSSIBLE MENU OPTIONS TO START YOU OFF 2 :
  1. Simply cooked foods without added sauces
  2. Salad with added grilled chicken or salmon. Choose oil and vinegar dressing (not malt vinegar). Ask your server to avoid serving you croutons, crackers, or bread. You can ask for more vegetables instead.
  3. Simply cooked seafood dishes, such as grilled scallops or shrimp with lemon, garlic and butter. Broiled or baked fish cannot be marinated or topped with bread or cracker crumbs, or sauce. Poached fish cannot be held in a gluten-containing broth. Lobster cannot be cooked in beer.
  4. Poultry or meat dishes cooked simply without marinades. Meat cannot be marinated prior to cooking, held in broth, or served with a sauce that contains gluten.

TAKE HOME MESSAGES:

Waitress

References: 

  1. Cureton P. Gluten-free dining out: is it safe? Pract Gastroenterol 2006;XXX(11):61-67.
  2. Dennis M, Kupper C, Lee AR, Sharrett MK, Thompson T. Celiac Disease Toolkit. American Dietetic Association, 2011.

Revision Date: 10-31-12 
Author: Melinda Dennis, MS, RD, LDN 
Editors: Pam Cureton, RD, LDN and Daniel Leffler, MD, MS

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