A few people realise how onerous hosting a person with celiac disease may be if your event is food related.
People with celiac disease often withdraw from parties or meetings that focus on eating. The reason of this is such people are usually treated with a grain of salt, their food allergies are neglected by the menu and they do not want to be in the spotlight. However, as soon as they appear at the table, comments, disbelief, lack of understanding and questioning their health status occur.
5 tips on how to eat gluten-free at the restaurant:
1. Gluten free restaurants.
Find a restaurant that offers gluten free meals. Then ask questions to be sure if the meals really are gluten free.
2. Check the menu online.
It will be much easier to talk with the cook if you know what kind of meals the restuarant has on its menu. While reserving a table tell them you need a gluten free meal due to Celiac Disease. This is not only an information it makes your request serious. By telling them about your disease you underline it’s a health issue and not your lifestyle choice.
3. Call the restaurant before you come.
Before going to the restaurant call them and ask for the menu. Less busy hours suit the best fot this purpose. Informing them about your needs always helps especially if you are coming with a bigger group of people.
4. Talk with the waiter or the cook.
Tell the waiter you have Celiac Disease. Describe it and talk about what gluten does to your health. If a waiter don’t show understanding you can just list products you can not eat but this is risky and a waiter may forget your list.
Attention! From my experience – it is much better to tell the waiter or the chef what you can eat instead of listing products that are not allowed in your diet. If the waiter does not understand it ask for the chef or head manager. The best meals are those with no dressing, sauces etc. Always ask the waiter to inform the chef that you can not eat gluten because you will get sick. Do not assume that everything you think is gluten free actually is. Omelettes may contain fluor to be more fluffy as well as baked potatoes may have some to be more crispy. Green tea may contain barley.
Get real – it is unlikely that everything in the menu is gluten free. To make your request better remembered be the last person who orders a meal.
5. Ask questions.
If you’re in doubt if your meal is gluten free, do not hesitate asking questions until you are sure your order is prepared properly.
To be sure the waiter got your point ask about the preparation process. Ask if the waiter understands that in your case gluten poses a serious health risk. You can not blame a waiter for something he or she is not aware of. Explain everything carefully and if you have any doubts, ask questions.
If you visit a restaurant often do not assume the waiters and the chef remember you and are aware of your health status – explain them everything every time.
Gluten free meals you can ask for:
Breakfast: boiled eggs (ask for eggs in shells), cheese, cottage cheese, mozarella with tomatoes, white cheese, mozzarella with tomatoes, smoked salmon (ask for a new packaging to be opened), scrambled eggs only if prepared on a separate pan used especially for you, etc.
Lunch: fish roasted in the oven in aluminum foil, lettuce, sliced tomato or cucumber, no spices, poultry baked in oven in aluminum foil served with cooked potato and fresh vegetables. Explain everything step by step every time.
If you are unsure about whether something really is gluten free or if the staff can not answer your questions in a satisfactory way, simply do not eat anything, give up. If the waiter tells you they can not provide you with completely gluten-free meals, do not take chances.
Going out with friends.
If you are going out with someone you d’not want to tell about your health issues and you don’t want to explain it to a waiter at the table I have some tips for you:
- Wait until everybody has ordered and say you need more time. Find the waiter and explain him everything.
- Right after coming to the restaurant, approach the waiter, say that you are on a gluten-free diet and determine what is safe for you, eg salmon baked in a foil with tomato without spices. Also ask for discretion.
- Before going out, eat at home and in the restaurant order only a drink 😉
- Call the restaurant earlier and set details. After coming, talk to the waiter a moment be sure he or she understands your point.
- If this choice of a restaurant is yours, choose the one with gluten-free meals available.
- However, if you decide to eat out someone in your company should know about your health issues and how to help you if you eat gluten.