Treatment Guide

Can You Answer? How Do You Avoid Gluten When You Eat Out?

Eating out can seem like navigating a minefield, with gluten lurking in the least expected places.

How do you protect yourself and avoid gluten when you eat out?

Do you talk to the manager? Do you bring your own food? Do you call ahead? Do you use any Apps?

What mistakes have you made in the past that you want other people to know about so they can avoid doing the same thing?

Answer in the comments below! Thank you!

About John Libonati

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Author Information: John Libonati, SW Florida Publisher, & The Gluten Free Works Treatment Guide.


  1. I call ahead and find out the busy times so I can avoid the rush, or talk to the manager so he or she knows I am coming and can make sure my meals are safe.

  2. I always listen to my gut… also I finds the term “ medically restricted” gets better response. My go to when traveling and need something hot was always Starbucks GF sandwich….safely wrapped and warm!

  3. Well, I do lots of things. I love both the allergy eats (site or app) as well as the findmeglutenfree (site or app). Depending on my situation, etc., I also: call ahead, explain things carefully and ask plenty of questions of the waitstaff, carefully choose from the menu, keep it simple (a piece of grilled fish and a baked potato is a stand-by for me when I find myself in a possibly non-safe environment), bring my own food, use multi-lingual dining cards explaining my restricted diet, (Triumph Dining Cards are great), and finally leave the restaurant if I’ve decided I can’t eat there. A question, for example, is: Do you have a designated fryer that’s only used to fry GF items? Chinese restaurants are particularly difficult to eat in, but not impossible. If they’re a cheaper, quick-fix joint, then all food is made/marinated ahead of time, and there’s literally nothing they can serve you except maybe rice. (Newly diagnosed: ‘regular’ soy and tamari sauces have wheat in them. There are several brands of GF (no wheat used) soy sauces. Find them.) But the better chinese restaurants make food fresh to order, and so can make something fresh for me.

  4. I like to frequent the same restaurants that know me by name. I explain to the wait staff I am very fussy. I ask for their kitchen procedure to be sure they are familiar with safe serving. I require the meal to be served only by the waiter that took the order(since they know my gf status) or by a manager.
    After watching my grandchildren eat french fries I ask for a brand new ketchup (or take out packages) container as table ones have definantly touched gluten rolls. Once a waiter has gotten a good tip for their service, they remember you

    • Yes Syb! And you reminded me of another of my things: if they’ve cooked and served me safely, I leave a generous top and sometimes even a little thank you note. And as you say, if it’s a neighborhood place, they come to remember me when they see me.

  5. I will only eat out at a Celiac safe restaurant that has a long list of rave reviews from fellow celiacs who’ve not gotten sick there. I identify myself as having celiac when I speak to the host/hostess and ask to be seated with the best trained. My waiter/waitress points out the options and I’m assured that there is no cross contamination, then i order.
    I’ve not been disappointed.

  6. Labels on food service ingredients boxes, etc. have not always been required to meet the grocery store labeling laws standards. So, always a good idea to ‘shop the perimeter aisles’ i.e. the fresh fruits, vegetables. I agree, I miss having french fries and it would be great to be able to get the newer sweet potato fries, too, but it would just not be worth it to get sick. And most frozen fries, even in stores, are ‘dusted’ with flour to give them that browned-edges-look at home. Cutting fresh sweet potatoes or others at home and fried in some coconut oil / or tossed with olive oil and browned in the oven are really good and a treat.

  7. I rarely eat out anymore. If I do, I try to explain – carefully – about having Celiac Disease, and exactly what I want/need. Inevitably, they still get it wrong. I gave up.

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