5 Tips for Eating Out When You're Gluten Free

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Tomorrow marks the day that I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Blah blah blah, auto immune disease, blah blah blah. But really, if you don't know about it you should look it up. Anyway, for the last year, eating gluten free has not been a choice... so I've had to get really good at it. And, I mean, not to brag, but if there's anything I'm good at, it's eating. So here are the top five things I've learned for killing it as a gluten free eater.

1. Always tell your waiter off the bat that you cannot have gluten. I can't tell you how many times I've forgotten to do this and had things come out with bread crumbs that weren't listed on the menu.

2. If you can, do a little pre-visit research. I already did this before I was eating gluten free. I like to scout out a menu before I step foot in a restaurant. It takes gluten free diners longer to scan a menu if the restaurant doesn't have a special gluten free one - this will help you cut down on that time.

3. Pregame. And I'm not talking alcohol here, people. Hanger is a real and dangerous thing. Sitting at a table with a bunch of people housing down warm, aromatic bread while your stomach is gurgling like a hungry hot tub is no bueno. Have a few crackers before you get there.

4. Keep a list of places where you feel safe eating. You know those moments when suddenly everyone realizes they are hungry and they scramble to find place to eat? The restaurant usually ends up not being good AND the odds are the group forgot to take the gluten free detail into consideration. And honestly, I don't blame them (re: hanger is real and dangerous). But you can be prepared to help steer your group in those moments so that everyone wins. The Yelp app has a great feature where you can keep a list of bookmarked restaurants. SO HELPFUL.

5. Be gracious, but don't apologize. When I first went gluten free, I found myself apologizing to every waiter. After a while, I realized that this was just awkward, unnecessary, and actually drew more attention to me rather than my need for caution in the kitchen, which is the opposite of what I wanted. Instead, I now focus on making sure the server knows that I'm thankful for their extra help in accommodating my needs. You can acknowledge that you need a little extra help without making it a big ordeal.

Going out to eat when you have dietary restrictions is rarely a perfect experience, but when I live by these rules, I find it to be a much easier and more enjoyable experience. Let me know if you have any tips you've picked up in your gluten free eating adventures!