Asking for gluten free is a good start. Most places will at least know what you mean and will make necessary adjustments for that even if they don't have a special gluten free menu.
Have you looked online for menus and nutritional info? Some of the major chains have a lot of information online, including, in some cases, all of the ingredients of all of the menu items. Another possibility is to call the restaurant at an un-busy time and ask for suggestions then. I've had good luck with calling around 10:30 or so, after breakfast and before lunch. Tell them what you need (gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, etc.) and see what they have. Or ask them what's in the dishes you particularly like, or for suggestions on what you can tell the server when you're there. They should appreciate having those discussions when they aren't busy instead of during the lunch or dinner rush hour.
Well, since I also have Celiac disease and the restrictions are the same pretty much, start off by asking for a gluten free menu. Many places have them now. In any situation, obviously hold whatever bread or pasta comes with an item. Stick with basic meals, steak and veggies, burger and side salad, chicken sandwich no bun and side of veg/salad. Big salad with meat.
Ruby Tuesday: Has GF menu, and has SPAGHETTI SQUASH!! Yahoo!! Also salad bar! A Paleo dream! Pizza: Not much there. Gluten free I believe is better than regular but still will sabotage diet efforts and is still grain. Macaroni Grill: Avoid it if possible. Has some of the worst rated dishes for healthy eating. Diners: Great places to go! They have REAL food and REAL cooks that will usually do special orders. Hold all breads and pastas, but see how you can make what you normally like fit the lifestyle. I indulge in some good homemade homefries whenever available, with a meat or fish of choice, and some salad, coleslaw or veg... Panera: IDK, maybe a salad? Ask to hold croutons. I don't think any soups they would have will be GF either. Frozen Yogurt: See if they have sorbet. Mexican: Fajitas! Homemade soups if they are clear broth, anything without the tortillas. Real Mexican makes fish dishes too, a good choice! Japanese: Ask for GF menu, then no noodles, no soy sauce if they don't have one. Ask for Tamari instead. Thai: same as above. Chinese: same as above. Plus a lot of places do steamed dishes. Grocery Store: Salad topped with meat from the deli (look for organic or nitrate free when possible), tuna on celery or lettuce wraps, jerky, some soups that are all veggies and meat. It really depends how goodyour store is. I am spoiled, mine has a cafe with a lot of healthy options fresh made (salads, chicken breast, veggie sides, chinese bar, sushi...). Applebees: has a GF menu now, ask for that. Ihop: I steer clear. WHO wants to eat in a place that puts pancake batter in the eggs?? I don't trust it at all! God knows what they put in anything else! Chili's: Has GF menu.
I, unfortunately, have a lifestyle where I eat out a LOT- especially with friends. I've cut back on how much I eat out, but I haven't been able to cut it out completely- and it's not likely to happen.
So, I'm trying to put together a rough guide of what to order when I go out- including some ideas for picking up a quick lunch at the grocery store that I can prepare at work. I'm just at a loss as to what to do.
So, any suggestions for:
Chili's Ihop Applebees Grocery store (grab and go- must have nut-free options due to my work). Chinese food Thai food Japanese food Mexican food Frozen yogurt Panera Diner (I live in Jersey) Macaroni Grill California Pizza Kitchen Ruby Tuesdays
Some options for going to a pizza place would be nice too... or any other favorite dining out options. Even simply suggesting "order an omelet at ihop with no cheese and no pancake batter" is a huge help.
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