ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Food and Cooking»
  • Food Safety»
  • Food Allergies

Gluten Free on the Go: Wendy's

Updated on March 4, 2013
Found easily by going to "Food" and "Nutritional Facts."
Found easily by going to "Food" and "Nutritional Facts."

GF Fast Food Utopia?

The reason fast food and gluten free diets don't often go well together is because:

A.) Fast food = thing wrapped up so that it can be eaten easily on the go = sandwich or wrap

B.) Fryers full of oil with bits of bread floating on top

C.) Workers in a hurry to prepare things will share utensils and preparation space, mess up orders, etc.


It's hard to change B and C. Fast food will almost always be hectic at certain times of day, and unless a restaurant has a dedicated fryer for french fries, you will always have the potential for cross-contamination in the fry zone. But A is something that the restaurants can do something about. By expanding the definition of "fast food," a fast food restaurant can add gluten-friendly options to their menu and give the gluten intolerant more options when they have to grab a bite out.

So if there's a Wendy's in your area (there isn't in mine and I am sad), what kind of options do you have for mostly-safe eating?

Overly specific, but still a good idea.
Overly specific, but still a good idea.

More Than Drinks and Sauces

In other reviews I complain about the lack of real options for someone trying to avoid gluten. Much of the time the gluten free list on a fast food website is a lot of dipping sauce, sandwich condiments, and a beef patty. And a list of sodas. (Soda is GF?? I would have never guessed!) Recently more and more fast food chains have made their grilled chicken safe for consumption as well, which gives many diners a salad option. But we don't all want to eat salads all the time, and people who also suffer from digestive issues on top of their gluten intolerance may not be eager to eat a bowl of leafy greens.

But fear not! Wendy's has a whole PDF dedicated to gluten. It will tell you all the safe items on the menu, give some suggestions, and will even give you a helpful overview of what gluten is (just in case?). It's a pretty good list, but let's break it down by menu items.


The Sandwiches

Wendy's is another one of those burger joints where a beef patty and grilled chicken patty is safe to consume. If a bun-less sandwich is your thing, you can get a burger or grilled chicken sandwich with just about any condiment. (NOTE: the ketchup and mayo may come into contact with other items that contain gluten. See if you can get an individual packet, or if your location has a squirt bottle in the dining area, use that instead) For special/seasonal sandwiches, you might want to consult the master list and double check. But your bacon, cheese and veggies are all safe for consumption.


The Salads

As I already said before, salads are one of the major GF options at a fast food restaurant. Wendy's is known for their big, unique salads, and they have a few to offer you. The Apple Chicken Pecan Salad (without the pecans) is safe, as is the Baja Salad and the Chicken BLT Cobb Salad. Also, the Caesar Side Salad (without croutons) or Garden Side Salad (no croutons) is another option if you don't want a big, meaty salad. For dressings you can choose from Avocado Ranch, Classic Ranch, Creamy Red Jalapeno, Fat Free French, Italian Vinaigrette, Lemon Garlic Caesar, Light Classic Ranch, Pomegranate Vinaigrette, and Thousand Island.


The Other stuff

Wendy's isn't just known as a place where you get hamburgers. It's known as a place where you get things that just aren't available at your typical fast food chain. By which, of course, I mean that they have chili and baked potatoes. Well, you can have chili and baked potatoes! All of the chili and baked potatoes are gluten-friendly options! And like many fast food places in recent years, Wendy's also offers apple slices for those who want something a little "healthier."

The apples are available in the kids meal, meaning if you get a bun-less sandwich with apple wedges, you can more or less make a gluten free kids meal, albeit a slightly sad one.


Dessert

If Wendy's is known for anything else, it's their Frosty dessert. Even though I would say it tastes a little malty, the Frosty is gluten-free. All of them are. So are the shakes. The only thing you have to worry about is if you get the parfait. These may contain granola, cookies, etc. And since we know that soft drinks are always GF, you can also opt for the frosty float to top off your meal.

Because it appears that the parfaits sprinkle the cookies, granola, etc. on the top rather than blend them in, I would assume that whatever implement the shakes use for blending is not coming into contact with these ingredients, and that there is no concern for cross contamination.


A Note About the Fries

As with just about every fast food place that serves anything else fried in oil, Wendy's natural cut French fries carry a contamination risk. Check to see if your local Wendy's fries everything in the same oil. If they don't, you would have the extra option of not just fries, but chili cheese fries, which is 3x better than regular fries on account of chili + cheese.

It would be lovely if they would get with the picture and just have normal fries at every fast food place (that don't contain beef or wheat) that aren't cooked with other things. But until that day you must be very vigilant and ask lots of questions.

Your Worst Enemy
Your Worst Enemy

The Verdict

The addition of baked potatoes and chili give gluten free diners extra options in their quest for a satisfying meal. It would be nice if the fries could be counted on to be GF, but even without them, Wendy's is still a safer bet than just about any other large burger chain.

Somewhat recently Wendy's had also introduced sweet potatoes and sweet potato fries, which seem to have disappeared from the menu. I hope that they will continue to experiment and think outside the box with regards to what "fast food" means, and offer choices that are safer and a little healthier for everyone.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I'm not gluten free but I have nut allergies so I know what it's like trying to find a restaurant that caters to specific dietary needs. And while I've always regarded Wendy's as a forward thinking fast food chain, your hub verifies it. This is great information for those with gluten issues looking to eat healthy on the go. Great job!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)