Whenever eating out at a restaurant on a gluten free diet, there are so many hazards and pesky little nuances that occur. Your server has no idea what “gluten free” means, the kitchen is a cross contamination nightmare, or worse the restaurant you’re at has 1 gluten free option on their menu – water without ice. Then to top it off there are a few foods that you absolutely know that you have to avoid when eating out, despite how much you used to love devouring them.
But sometimes, this devilish gluten can be found in foods and drinks that may surprise you.
You see, gluten isn’t just found in bread and other things that you’d expect to contain wheat or barley. Gluten is a tricky little pest that can be found in places that you’d absolutely least expect.
To help keep you from getting “glutened” (if you’re allergic or Celiac) or to just keep that stealthy little protein out of your body if you’re on a gluten free or wheat free diet, I created a brief yet very informative guide to help alert you which foods contain gluten or not.
So with that being said, here are the most popular foods that have gluten in them that you’ll find in most restaurants these days, no matter the cuisine or restaurant type.
This list includes typical food/drink items that typically have gluten in them, not special gluten free versions, just to be clear. Here we go!
13 Poluar Foods that Have Gluten
Remember to watch out for these foods the next time you eat out!
Yes, shocker right? (sarcasm). The first thing you probably learn when you went gluten free is that you absolutely need to avoid bread.
From a restaurant standpoint, most sandwich breads, paninis, flour tortillas, wraps, submarine rolls, dinner rolls, and hamburger/hot dog buns all contain gluten.
So expect to eat your sandwich protein style, wrapped in lettuce. Thankfully, so restaurants do offer gluten free bread and sandwich options.
Most beer contain gluten unless you you drinking a specialty brew like grapefruit beer (at EPCOT) or butterbeer. But other than that be sure to always avoid beer (sorry, no Bud Light) unless you opt for a gluten free beer such as Red Bridge or Bards, just to name a few. Unfortunately, it’s not always common to find these beers at mainstream restaurants. But always ask because you might be in for a nice little surprise if they do.
3. Salad (Croutons and Dressings)
You probably think I’m nuts for including salad in this list, right? But let me be clear, plain salads with just raw vegetables and no dressing are OKAY. The tricky, glutenous part occurs when you start adding croutons and the salad dressing. Since 99.9% of all croutons contain gluten, you will always need to order your salad without croutons. Now in terms of dressing, some of them contain gluten, even the ones you’d least expect. A word of advice, watch out for any cream based dressings only because they can be very inconsistent. For example, some ranch dressings are gluten free, other’s are not, depending on the restaurants. So if you’re allergic to gluten, I recommend that you stick with a vinaigrette because they are almost always gluten free.
When eating out, be sure to ask if you’re salad can be made in a separate new bowl if possible to avoid any risk of cross contamination. Also be sure to avoid bleu cheese dressing whenever you can. Some restaurants claims theres to be gluten free, while others do not. So basically it’s always a 50/50 shot.
Most chips usually contain gluten unless it’s corn tortilla chips. So if you’re ever at a Mexican restaurant that offers chips and salsa, there’s a very good chance that you can enjoy them. But always double check with your server, or even better, this guide, first.
5. Baked Goods
Yes, it’s so sad to have to include these precious little sweets in this list, but sometimes hard things must be done. Anyways, pastries, cakes, cookies, brownies, cannoli’s, you name it, all contain gluten in them. However, if you’re ever at a restaurant that offers a flourless cake or brownie, like the one that can be found at Bonefish Grill, you’re in the clear so dig in!
Whenever you order a soup (like clam chowder or lobster bisque) at a restaurant, your bowl will usually come with a pack of glutenous crackers. So to avoid this from happening, be sure to request your soup without crackers (or croutons if eating French Onion soup). But don’t worry, you can always BYOC (Bring Your Own Crackers).
Twizzlers, Red Vines, and other delicious licorice treats all contain wheat aka gluten. Gummy bears and most gummy candies are safe though! Always check the ingredient just to be 200% sure.
And although you normally won’t find licorice at a restaurant, you will however find them at frozen yogurt bars.
Another common food that’s first to be crossed off your list once you go gluten free is pasta. Most wheat based pastas contain gluten, however, there is a pretty good alternative that’s found it’s home at many gluten free Italian restaurants and even some noodle shops – rice noodles.
Pizza is possibly the second most popular food (behind bread) that people just can’t give up when they go gluten free. Because I mean seriously, what better way to pig out than ordering a large meat lovers pizza from Pizza Hut? (no gluten free menu…sorry for getting any of your hopes up)
Pizza from many of the big/popular pizza joints including Pizza Hut and Papa Johns contain gluten. And even when some places like Dominos offers a gluten free pizza, it’s not recommended for Celiacs or anyone with a gluten or wheat allergy. However, if you’re on a non-medical gluten free/wheat free diet, eat up!
But all hope is not all lost for my allergenic friends! Some smaller and not-so small pizza chains offer a gluten free pizza on their menu as well as dedicated kitchen spaces and equipment for these pizzas.
Don’t get suckered into a crab stuffed soft pretzel or pretzel bites. Pretzels contain gluten (hard or soft).
11. Hamburger Meat
This can be pretty tricky. You see, some restaurants like to add bread crumbs to their hamburger patties, thus automatically making them non-gluten friendly. So be sure to ask your server about this before you order. Thankfully, many chained burger joints don’t add bread crumbs.
Don’t let the name fool you. You’d typically expect meatballs to be what their name says – meat rolled into balls – but it’s false. Most meatballs contain wheat. So always stay clear, or at least ask your server first before you make that decision to commit.
13. Soy Sauce
Is your mind blown yet? Yes, soy sauce contains gluten. I know, it sounds crazy but it’s true. So be sure to watch out the next time you go out to eat at any Asian restaurant because chances are there’s soy sauce in your meal, especially fried rice. But thankfully, some Asian restaurant offer gluten free soy sauce and other sauces to help keep your meal as gluten free and authentic as possible.
But There’s Still Hope
I hope you’re not too sad just yet about this depressing list. Thankfully, there are delicious gluten free alternatives to almost all these foods mentioned above. Unfortunately, a majority of these won’t be found at a restaurant.
But hey, as more people become gluten free (whether by choice or medically) it’ll only increase a restaurants willingness to implement more gluten free and wheat free foods into their menus
So I still have faith in humanity!
Before I let you go I have a quick question for you.
Are there any other popular foods that contain gluten that you know of?
Let us know in the comment section below.