Eating gluten free and traveling can be tough. Don’t let eating gluten free get in the way of discovering new food.
Follow these steps while ordering and feel more confident while dining out.
1. Check to see if there is a gluten free menu or labeled gluten free options. If YES - still follow the questions below to ensure that everything is gluten free. If NO - don’t worry - you can (most likely) still find something to eat. Follow the list below.
2. Check out the menu and select a few options to ask the server about. I usually pick three things that I would like to eat on the menu. This avoids the back and forth with the server of "tell me what you want… tell me what’s gluten free" that can go on for what seems like FOREVER.
3. Let the server know that you will REALLY get sick if you eat gluten. I sometimes even go so far as to say that I’m allergic to gluten, because restaurants tend to take food allergies quite seriously. Then ask them again about the three items on the menu that you just picked out. Be sure to ask about the ingredients in the seasoning or any sauce included in the dish, since sometimes servers don't immediately take those into account.
**If you are in a different country where you don’t speak the language, use a Celiac food intolerance card - you can get them in all different languages. Check out these free ones from celiactravel.com in 54 languages. The concierge at a hotel can also call ahead for you to make sure the restaurant has a gluten free option and can write something down for you to show the server, manager or chef.
Traveler Tip: If the server doesn’t seem confident or like they know what they are talking about - ask to talk to the chef or the manager. They should be more knowledgeable about the subject and should be able to help you.
4. When you get your food, double check with the server that it’s actually the gluten free food that you ordered. You don’t want regular pizza when you ordered gluten free pizza (yes, this has happened to me). Always double check and say something like - I ordered the gluten free pepperoni pizza, is this gluten free? It’s always best to double check!
5. Menus and recipes change, always ask about a dish's ingredients if you’ve had it before. Always ask and ALWAYS let the server know that you will get really sick if you eat gluten.
I hope that these tips will help you be more confident to explore new gluten free places with ease. It’s okay to be the person who asks a million questions - it’s better to ask than to be shy and get sick! Don’t let gluten hold you back. The best part about traveling is experiencing the culture (and, let’s be serious, culture means food). So go, travel, explore, eat gluten free and don’t forget to tag @theglutenfreetravelers and #gftraveler in your pictures so we can explore (virtually) with you!