As you begin your gluten-free journey, there are many steps to take. One of the biggest is dining out gluten-free without accidentally eating gluten. Don’t worry, I’ve got your back! As a gluten-free nutrition coach and fellow busy mom, I understand the struggles all too well. In this blog post, I’ll share with you some tried-and-true dining out gluten-free tips to help you navigate the world of dining out gluten-free like a pro.

Preparing for Dining Out

Picture this: you’re out with your kids at a sporting event, the hunger hits, and you quickly realize you have no idea where to find gluten-free food. Insert panic mode. With a little bit of planning, you can avoid the mental battle that comes with trying to find safe, gluten-free food while out with the kids.

Whether you’re in your own town or traveling, spend some time finding gluten-free-friendly restaurants in your area. Check out their menus online, and don’t be afraid to call them to ask about their gluten-free offerings. If you cannot get a straight answer on the safety of the restaurant, avoid it for the time being. Come back to it when you have a solid answer on the safety of eating there.

Trust me, a little preparation goes a long way!

Navigating Menus and Making Informed Choices

Once you’ve made it to the restaurant and have a menu in hand, the fun begins—figuring out which dishes are gluten-free and which ones are filled with gluten.

Here’s a tip: look for dishes that you know are naturally gluten-free, like grilled meats, salads, and veggies. No matter what, it is always safest to ask your server to ensure you won’t accidentally get glutened. Their job is to serve you and it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Asking The Right Questions

When dining out gluten-free, it’s crucial to be your own advocate. Don’t be afraid to grill your server (pun intended) about their gluten-free options, how they prepare their food, and whether they take precautions to prevent cross-contamination. This could be the difference between you getting a glutened gluten-free dish and a safely prepared gluten-free dish.

If they give you a blank stare in response, don’t hesitate to speak to the manager. Remember, you are the one that has to deal with the outcome.

Learn more about what questions to ask in our course, Going Gluten-Free.

Common Things to Avoid

Gluten is sneaky and hides in places you would least expect.

Soy sauce? Yep, there’s gluten in it.

French fries? Absolutely—they’re often fried in the same oil as breaded goodies.

Even seemingly innocent dishes like soups and sauces can be filled with gluten, depending on how they are made. Always err on the side of caution and double-check ingredients before taking a bite.

Get Creative

Here’s the honest truth: dining out gluten-free isn’t always going to be easy. There will be times when you’re faced with limited options or unexpected curveballs.

Instead of throwing in the towel and avoiding it altogether, why not get creative? Next time you feel stuck, try some of these ideas:

  • Mixing and matching menu items
  • Ask for substitutions even if they’re not called out on the menu
  • Create your own makeshift meal with sides and appetizers.

Remember, eating out should be fun and easy, not over complicated because of your gluten-free lifestyle.

Keeping a Positive Mindset

I’ll be honest with you—it’s easy to feel frustrated and defeated when dining out gluten-free, especially when you’re met additional questions from restaurant staff. Don’t let those negative mindset bring you down!

Stay positive, stay resilient, and remember that every step you take in your gluten-free journey is a small victory worth celebrating. Trust me, you’ve got this!

Celebrating Success and Progress

And speaking of celebrating, whether it’s successfully navigating a new restaurant or discovering a delicious gluten-free dish, every step forward should be looked at as a win.

Now armed with my top dining-out gluten-free tips and tricks, you’ll be rocking the gluten-free game in no time. Remember, it’s all about preparation, asking lots of questions, and staying positive, even if you don’t want to. Make a plan with friends or family this weekend and enjoy eating out at a new restaurant.


Kristin Longacre

Hey There, I’m Kristin, a gluten-free nutrition coach helping gluten-free families adjust to their new lifestyle.