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Vigilance necessary when dining out gluten-free

Gluten Free Fast Food Choices

Ever get tired of relying on McDonald's for your gluten-free fast food needs? Us too! Don't get me wrong...the "Golden Arches" have saved our family on many road trips. At least we know we'll be able to get our son something "safe" that he -- like any American 6-year-old -- enjoys: a plain burger, fries, apple dippers (and the occasional hot fudge sundae or M&M McFlurry). But oh how I love having other OPTIONS.

If you're in the mood for chicken (none of McDonald's chicken is gluten-free), Chick Fil-A is a good bet.They have a downloadable menu on their website listing menu items that "may fit a gluten-free diet." And they've obtained information from the supplier's of each of the items on their menu. Options include the chargrilled chicken filet -- with no bun or atop the garden salad -- other salads and coleslaw, and even their addictive waffle fries, which ARE cooked in a separate fryer from the fried chicken. Breakfast options are plentiful, too, with the eggs, bacon, sausage, and hashbrowns all "on the list." 

And Hardee's also has (recently, I think) addressed the needs of the growing gluten-free population by posting some safe options on their website. OK...maybe "safe" was a poor choice of words. One particular choice they showcase may be gluten-free but it certainly isn't FAT-free! Good Lord...their "low-carb" Breakfast Bowl (neat concept) is described as "egg, sausage, and Swiss cheese piled with a loaded omelet, finished with cheddar and bacon bits." Ouch! Maybe your arteries would thank you if you shared it with a friend! Lunch/dinner options include a 1/3 lb. "low-carb" Thickburger, a charbroiled 100% Black Angus beef patty with cheese and all the fixings "wrapped in lettuce." You can also get a side salad (ALL their salad dressings are safe). The nice thing is that these three items showcased on their website's gluten-free page can all be ordered as-is "straight off the menu," although I'd probably articulate your needs to a manager in order to assure there's no cross-contamination from worker's who've handled bread with their gloves, etc. After all, there is a difference between desiring something that's low-carb and needing something that's gluten-free, even if it is the same menu item. Visit Hardees g-f page for downloadable coupons for gluten-free menu items. 

One final -- and disappointing note: I just went on to McDonald's website and was dismayed to see that they no longer have "gluten" broken out as an allergen on their allergy information page. They just list "wheat," which, as we all know, is not the same as gluten! Perhaps I've missed it...if anyone has seen where they might specifically address GLUTEN on their website, please respond.