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Date added: 02/27/2017 Guide to Gluten Free Dining

Gluten Free Dining

Who doesn’t love dining out with friends and family at your favorite restaurant? While it may be fun socializing over a meal, dining out isn’t always easy for someone with celiac disease. According to Cynthia Kupper, CEO of Gluten Intolerance Group, most restaurants will see a 14% increase in revenue from offering a gluten-free menu. The downside is that many restaurants are jumping on the bandwagon, but not everyone has a good understanding of the proper way to handle food allergies.It’s easy to cook at home in your gluten free kitchen, but how are you going to protect yourself when you choose to dine out? It is essential to take the following precautions to enjoy a safe dining out experience.

1. Research Gluten Free Dining Options

Before choosing a place to eat, research online for a gluten free menu and call the restaurant ahead of time making sure they offer a gluten free option. Ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable with their knowledge of gluten free and how they handle the risk of cross-contamination. According to Gluten Free Living, the most trustworthy restaurants have certifications or training through one of the celiac disease support groups. A list of restaurants that follow these kinds of certifications can be found by going to:

Gluten Free Certification Organization

National Foundation for Celiac Awareness

Celiac Support Association

The following search tools provide online information on gluten free restaurant options when you search by name, address, city, state, or postal code:

Find Me Gluten Free

Gluten Free Travel Site

Allergy Eats

2. Tell your server & Ask Questions

Even after you have researched the restaurant, it is wise to notify your server of your dietary restrictions. The server should be able to confirm their gluten free options and make a note to the chef of your dietary restrictions. According to Whole Life Nutrition, it's important to ask not only about the ingredients they're using, but also how the food is prepared. Are there dedicated areas for preparing gluten-free food or are they mixing your pasta in a bowl that just had someone’s glutenous pasta? Was your gluten free brownie baked on a tray that just was covered in flour? Don't be afraid to ask!  

3. Enjoy yourself

Lastly, dining out with family and friends should be a fun experience, not something you dread because of having celiac disease. Remember you are not alone! Public awareness of celiac disease and food allergies has come a long way. According to Hexa Research the gluten free market is estimated to grow at an approximate compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.4% between 2016 and 2024. This growth will ultimately increase the amount of gluten free products available, as well as their variety especially in restaurants. If you take the proper precautions, plan ahead, and alert your server you can enjoy a fun filled dining experience.