By Annalies Corse
Eating Out Gluten Free
Australians love eating out, and we are indeed very spoilt for choice when it comes to the vast array of cuisines available to us, seven days a week.
For those of us with coeliac disease or gluten sensitivity, the simple pleasure of heading out for a meal or coffee and cake can actually become a major social burden. Many people who cannot eat gluten have admitted to declining dinner invitations, going without food at a fancy restaurant, or ordering the most bland and boring item on the menu, fearing the undoing of all their hard work at maintaining their gluten-free diet.
Eating out should remain pleasurable, and food is not something we should associate with fear, or sickness! Eating out gluten-free is not only delicious, it is entirely attainable.
Here are Seven tips to follow, so you can continue to eat out with confidence entirely gluten free.
- Phone ahead
If you know where you are headed, check out the menu online, or phone the restaurant and discuss which meals are gluten free. Most restaurants are familiar with answering questions regarding food allergies, and gluten sensitivity is no different.
- There’s an app for that!
There are many apps now available listing eateries, shops and manufacturers that are all gluten free. Some even list online takeaway services that cater for gluten-free customers. Many of these apps are free, including the Gluten Free Eating Directory.
- Location, location
If you live in a capital city or a town with a health-conscious reputation, you will know that gluten-free menu options are the norm in certain areas. Focusing your social outings in these areas can make Friday night dinner and drinks much easier when eating gluten free.
- Mind your condiments
As many chefs and keen home cooks know, many sauces are based on wheat flour. Ask wait staff or chefs about the condiments and seasonings in the meal you are interested in, and be mindful that gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye and oats. Soy and teriyaki sauces often contain gluten as well. Safe seasoning options include lemon or lime juice, salts, peppers, vinegar’s mayonnaise, and hollandaise/ and béarnaise sauces.
- The safety of veggies
Not only are all vegetables gluten free, they are also incredibly healthy. Veggies are the safest choice when you are unsure of the validity of supposedly gluten-free meals. Vegetables served with a steak, fish or other protein source, cooked with gluten-free condiments and sauces is an incredibly nutritious meal, whether you require a gluten-free meal or not.
- Indulgent desserts
While wheat and oats feature heavily in the dessert world, the gluten-free options are endless and delicious. Many gluten-free desserts are already on the menu. Polenta and almond meal-based cakes are gluten free, as is pavlova, panna cotta, crème brulee, gelato and more! Again, simply double-check with wait staff for any toppings you are unsure of.
- Avoiding pasta, pizzas and patisseries
While many Italian restaurants and pizzerias offer gluten-free options, some still do not, nor can they guarantee that cross-contamination with gluten-based flours will never occur. If this bothers you, it’s best to avoid cuisine with a heavy focus on wheat-based flour, including the local patisserie. There are so many delicious gluten-free meals based around vegetables, seafoods, fruits, cheeses and other dairy, nuts, and red and white meats. Try to shift your focus to the wide variety of foods that are gluten free, as opposed to those foods you may need to say goodbye to. It also helps to ask your family to be considerate and possibly not eat these foods around you while you adjust.
If you have coeliac disease, the general advice is not to assume that a meal is gluten free. Always check first. Many chefs are trained to understand the needs of their diners with coeliac disease, and the current wave of gluten-free eating means gluten-free menu options are more plentiful than ever.
- Eating Out Gluten Free, Coeliac Australia (2015): coeliac.org.au
- Gluten-free ‘lifestylers’ make eating out difficult for coeliacs (2015): goodfood.com.au/good-food/food-news/glutenfree-lifestylers-make-eating-out-difficult-for-coeliacs-20151005-gjwopg.html#ixzz3td8zIgil