Gluten-Free – remind everyone!

Eating out gluten-free … This is possible, though not easy to do spontaneously. It may be best to discuss the possibilities with the restaurant first (choosing a quiet time to do this, so that the chef isn’t run off their feet!). Many items can be presented to you without a sauce, or perhaps with rice instead of cous-cous, for instance. Do remember to remind the staff … we have been caught out by unexpected croutons in a salad, and ice-cream wafers in sundaes.

Taking a gluten-free child to a restaurant can be done too, though there is usually more choice for that child on the adult menu rather than a child menu. (In our experience, our non-coeliac children often do better choosing from the adult menu too). It may be possible to request a half-portion of an adult dish for a child, or an adult starter as a main course.

Things to be wary of … as well as croutons and wafers, be aware that ready-grated cheese may have flour in, to stop the bits of cheese sticking together, as may wafer-thin ham, and that pizza ovens may be full of semolina to keep the pizzas from sticking. Some potato products (e.g. curly chips) may be coated with flour to make them more crispy. Sauces may have been thickened with wheat flour – though cornflour will be fine for you to eat.

We have successfully taken our coeliac child to France, to Greece and to America. In all cases, we have chosen to go self-catering, in order to have more control over the menu, but we have also eaten out, and found suitable products in the supermarkets. Go for it!

The Gluten Free Message Board has a section on the Supplementary Board covering hotels and restaurants in the UK. If you know of somewhere that should be added – please add it.

Coeliac UK have a set of translations of certain crucial phrases into a range of languages to help you when abroad.