18 things that happen when you eat out on a gluten free diet

blogging tips sarah howells the gluten free blogger

Finding gluten free restaurants when you have coeliac disease can be tricky. 

A lot of people with coeliac disease are frightened of eating out due to bad past experiences – or lack of gluten free choice.

But just remember, we’re all in it together! Here are 18 things that happen when you eat on a gluten free diet – how many can you relate to?


You browse the menu online days before to choose what you’ll eat

Sometimes you’ll email to double check it’s gluten free, to avoid disappointment.

The ‘gluten free option’ is just the normal menu, minus the fun stuff

I’ll take a burger with no bun and a side salad please. Thanks so much, I can’t wait…

You dread eating another jacket potato…

Like please, give me anything but more starchy, potatoey stodge.

…and who wants steak without chips!?


You ask the waiter what is gluten free and they look SO confused…

This is going to be a long, looooong evening.

…and you spend the whole night quizzing them every time they bring food out

Are you sure this is gluten free? Did you definitely check it was fried separately? Did you spit in my food because I’m being ‘fussy’?

If you’re lucky, they bring out a whole gluten free menu…

Literally the best feeling in the world.

…which even includes gluten free pizza

Excuse me while I just get up on the table and do a happy dance.

You glare at everyone eating their ‘normal’ food…

If I can’t eat the calamari or garlic bread, nobody should.

…while you eat salad. Again.

Please God turn this lettuce into a big, doughy, gluten free pizza.

The only gluten free dessert option is fruit salad…

If you haven’t joined the #FruitIsNotAPudding movement yet, where have you been?

…or gluten free chocolate brownie

I’m not even sure I have to justify this by saying anything else.

So you just settle for coffee…

I love coffee at the best of times, but over a big chocolate fudge cake slice? No ta.

…or nothing

I know I couldn’t finish my jacket potato but it doesn’t mean I don’t want pudding.

You get home and sit there waiting for the stomach pains

Was that a gurgle I heard? Am I bloated or did I eat too much? Pass the peppermint tea.

You wake up the next morning feeling fine and thank God for not glutening you…

Puts restaurant on list of places to go back to over and over again

…or you’re unlucky, and get straight onto TripAdvisor, Twitter, and any other public forum you can to rant

The world should know that I have been poisoned. 

But when you find somewhere amazing to eat that’s gluten free, it’s the best feeling

Some places really do know how to cater for coeliacs, and that is AWESOME.

Have I missed any?

Let me know in the comments below if I have missed any! Need more humour? You might also enjoy these:



  1. Chris
    August 2, 2018 / 08:32

    That is so accurate I laughed…. but tinged with sadness!

  2. Benjamin Keith Richardson
    August 2, 2018 / 10:53

    Hehe, you pretty much got it spot on Sarah! Living in London as I do means there are a heck of lot more safe and great places than most other locations but gosh, my cookies would reveal a shocking amount of time spent browsing menus online.

    Let me leave a big shout out for the newly launched Eat Safe app, Again, caveat is London only so far, but my gosh it makes finding new places and browsing menus so much easier. The app literally has menus *within* it, and you can set the filter to be gluten free and any other allergen free. Give it a go? https://www.eatsafeapp.co.uk/

  3. January 20, 2019 / 23:12

    Don’t forget having to argue with the waitstaff about what gluten-free actually means, and that shared oil is NOT in fact safe, no matter wht their cousin’s friend’s sister the nurse told them!

  4. Sally
    February 24, 2019 / 20:34

    I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve asked for gluten free bread, only to be told “we ran out yesterday!” 😆 is it so difficult to keep a GF loaf in the freezer??

  5. Sharon
    October 7, 2019 / 10:33

    When you’ve placed your order and feel like you have really been understood and look through to the kitchen and there is a chef slicing normal bread with crumbs scattered everywhere on all the counters and he doesn’t wash his hands after.

  6. Sharon
    October 7, 2019 / 10:40

    When you eat grilled chicken again while all around you people are eating calamari, breaded prawns, beef Wellington, chicken nuggets and the bread basket always gets put right next to you. You excitedly read the desserts and realise that even desserts that could have been gluten free aren’t. You ask especially for the bread to be left out of a starter/tapas and then the waiter ‘forgets’ and serves the same as everyone else and looks at you as if to say, gosh you’re sooo fussy.

  7. Michelle
    December 10, 2019 / 20:50

    Very funny, and very accurate 😂 Best is when they serve you “gluten free” bread but you can instantly tell its normal bread as it looks really nice!! 🍞

  8. Laura
    February 21, 2020 / 18:54

    When I get a gluten free bun that looks too normal so I try and catch a glimpse of a “normal” bun a server is bringing to someone at a another table. Or I get paranoid and want to verify with my server that mine is definitely gluten free because someone else has delivered my food to the table and hasn’t declared it gluten free like: “the chicken burger with the gluten free bun”

  9. March 2, 2020 / 18:03

    Spot on but I feel more places are getting better, well I hope they are. The problem is sometimes the looks you get as if you have a choice about not eating Gluten.

  10. Lu na
    March 4, 2020 / 20:52

    Couple of things. One you misspelled Celiac. And two which is the most important. If a restaurant has both gluten and non gluten free pizza there’s still a big possibility of the gluten free pizza, which then you should not eat there unless they have a complete separate kitchen to cook all gluten free stuff. Specially if they are handling a lot of flower in the kitchen. And/or they have a separate oven to cook the pizza. Specially if they are using the exact same spatula to take in and out the two different type of pizzas. That’s massive contamination right there. Is one thing if you choose to eat gluten free items out of personal choice, but if you do have Celiac you definitely do NOT want to eat at that restaurant for pizza. I mean most places regardless you will get somewhat a certain amount of contamination. Since they are using the same utensils they are using for other items and pans. I think it might be safe if is stainless steel cookware and non poures utensils like wooden cutting boards and wooden utensils. Since they will hide some of the gluten in there. But for stainless it will be hard for gluten to hide and easy to clean but they will definitely would need to clean preciously to lower as much possible cross contamination. So we usually try to go to places that don’t deal much with flour items. That was there’s a less chance of contamination. Overall is always hard to eat out since we don’t know their procedures in kitchen when dealing with gluten free items. A lot of restaurants and people aren’t educated enough of which procedures to take in order to make an absolute safe gluten free items. That’s the reality as of now. Just hoping in the future there will be more restaurant options that are gluten free safe.

    • Sarah Howells
      March 5, 2020 / 20:00

      Thank you for taking the time to comment! Though celiac is the American spelling, I am from the UK where we spell it coeliac 🙂

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