GLUTEN FREE

What to eat out as a Celiac

Sarah, mammahealth.com co-editor

Everyone craves a juicy fast-food meal sometimes. Especially when you are on the road, in a hurry or simply in a  self-indulgent mood. As a celiac, your choices are severely limited. But that does not mean that you cannot go out to a fast-food chain with your friends or family. You just need to be more cautious about your choice of meal.

What is Gluten?

When people ask me “So what has gluten?” I usually immediately spit out the word “Everything.” It feels that way a lot of the times at least.

To keep it simple: gluten is found in many grains (such as wheat, rye or barley). Yes, I said barley… that means no beer for me (I get that look of horror a lot). So think of any fried foods, baked yummy goodness, or bread. Those are just to name a very few.

Celiac.com has a good long list of unsafe ingredients to watch out for.

The Diet

The gluten free diet, originally just to treat the Celiac disease, has now become somewhat of a fad. I feel like there is a lot of misconception of it being the new healthy way to live. From what I understand, going gluten free will not benefit you unless you have been diagnosed with Celiac, or are gluten intolerant. On the other side.. if you do need to be on the diet, it will only help you if you are on it 100% of the time (It’s all or nothing).

The diet (which I think a term “lifestyle” would be better ) is definitely not an easy change for those having to adjust to it. I think my best advice is to just stick with it, be 100% gluten free, and not just mostly gluten free. A little bit of gluten can still do a whole lot of harm for those who are intolerant. Thankfully there is a whole lot of good gluten free products available these days.

1. Chipotle gluten free menu

When I am on the go I usually head to Chipotle. It is the hands-down winner in the gluten-free category. I have loved Chipotle for years. I enjoy how it tastes and the healthier options they have on offer.

They have a couple of really good options there. You can get either bowls or meals with a corn tortilla (definitely don’t eat their flour tortillas). You can even order online and pick up your food later. In your pajamas, for example 🙂

Tip: If you are really concerned about cross-contamination, ask your server to change the gloves before the start of your order. I love how accommodating the staff is. They even get fresh ingredients for your order from the back, all in very efficient manner. Thanks, guys!

They also have their nutrition/allergens menu online so you can prepare yourself before you go there.

  • Chipotle gluten free option #1: Carnitas Salad

This is my all-time favorite meal out there. A carnitas salad topped with the tomatillo salsa and plenty of guacamole.  I love every single bite of this salad, and it just what I needed to refuel me with energy when on the go.

Gluten free Chipotle carnitas salad  – My No.1 choice when eating out.

The full list of ingredients: Romaine lettuce, carnitas, white rice, black beans, fajita vegetables, roasted chili-corn, salsa and sour cream.

Just in case you wondered, the 22oz serving size contains 765 calories, 25g fat, 86g carbs and 40 grams proteins.

Chipotle is the hands-down winner in the gluten free fast-food category.  I enjoy how it tastes and the healthy options they have on offer.

  • Chipotle gluten free option #2: Barbacoa Bowl

Chipotle’s Barbacoa Bowl with meat, vegetables, pico de gallo, hot tomato salsa, lettuce, and guacamole is also pretty high on my list.

Chipotle gluten free Barbacoa Bowl

It tastes almost homemade, probably thanks to the locally sourced ingredients. When I feel like it, I get extra cilantro with the rice and both beans for color. Also their corn salsa with a dash of the spicy one.

The ingredients list: Barbacoa, brown rice, fajita vegetables, fresh tomato salsa, cheese, guacamole, romaine lettuce.

The typical 19oz serving size contains 755 calories, 42g fat, 53g carbs and 37g proteins.

2. Red Robin gluten free menu

As a life-long burger lover, I really appreciate the choice Red Robin offers us celiacs. They offer any of their burgers on a gluten-free bun. I found it to be a great substitute, I am always starving for a juicy burger wrapped in a bun. They use the Udi buns. It is required by the supplier that the restaurant goes through training on how to handle the product.

Also, they have totally gluten-free french fries! They use a dedicated fryer for gluten free fries in their restaurants. I can’t begin to tell how much I enjoy that. The kitchen staff and servers are educated very thoroughly on the gluten-free meals.

In my opinion, it is always safe to double check on the dedicated fryer Also, ask about the seasoning for the fries to be sure it is safe.

  • Red Robin gluten free option: Gourmet Burger

You are spoilt for choice in Red Robin’s. They offer a fully customized gluten-free burger menu. Celiacs have the option of no bun, a lettuce wrap, or a gluten free bun. If you are counting calories, you can ask the staff to skip grilling the bun. And make sure you go for the gluten free fries as well!

Red Robin gluten-free gourmet burger with gluten-free fries.

Red Robin Tip: If you are counting calories, you can ask the staff to skip grilling the bun. And make sure you go for the gluten free fries as well!

3. Pizza Hut gluten free

Gluten free pizza that is as tasty as the traditional one can be hard to come by. When I heard that Pizza Hut partnered with Udi’s gluten-free, I somewhat knew that it will be good!

Pizza Hut gluten-free Pepperoni

The thin, crispy crust is provided by Udi’s to Pizza Hut stores nationwide. It is made in a dedicated gluten-free certified facility. If you are concerned about the cross-contamination of gluten, I recommend speaking to the staff. It varies location to location in the attention to make sure meals are truly being prepared according to recommendations.

The crust and toppings are tasty and reminiscent of classic pizza I used to enjoy before I was celiac diagnosed. I like that there is the option to modify tour pizza with different toppings. I also like that the pizza box is clearly labeled as gluten free. Also receipts are also noted Gluten-free. All these little things give me that confidence that preparation of my pizza was taken very seriously.

It is just awesome that good gluten-free pizza is now readily available!