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Uncovering a Gluten Free Meal In A Fast Food Restaurant Made From Gluten Free Recipes

Updated on June 9, 2016
Cynthia Haltom profile image

Cynthia Haltom, Ph.D. is an accomplished educator and author of over 100 books. Many of her books are about cooking.

Fast Food Restaurant are you up for the challenge?

Uncovering a gluten free meal in a fast food restaurant. We all know that eating at a fast food restaurant is not the healthiest choice. Sometimes time and circumstances give you no other choice. The question then arises which food are the best choice. Many fast food restaurants have food choices which are good for any diet.

Each restaurant usually has a brochure that they either have posted in the restaurant or is made available to their customer. In it there is information about calorie content, the nutrients of each item on the menu, and contents of the products served. Keep this in mind the next time you are faced with a decision.

Many of us have our favorite fast food restaurants and probably have a list of favorite items from them. The newly diagnosed intolerant person may become overwhelm the first time she eats out. It would be a good idea to keep a small notebook or list on hand for those occasions when fast food is the restaurant of choice.

Local Restaurants - Fast Food for a Quick Meal

The key to successful eating in fast food restaurants is knowing the food. Each fast food restaurant is usually owned as a franchise and the cooking rules for food vary dramatically from one establishment to the other. You need to do you due diligence and check to make sure that the food is not cross-contaminated in the preparation or cooking process. If you are unsure you should ask if designated cookers and fryers are reserved for cooking certain types of food. You may unwilling consume food which has been cooked in a fryer that was used to cook breaded chicken or fish and then used to fry potatoes, but gets cross-contaminated.

You have the right as a customer and consumer to know how and where you food in prepared. In fast food restaurants employing teenagers, the basic rule is that the customer will have a visible view of the food preparation area. Since most fast food restaurants employ teen the law requires you to have a clear view of the food prep area.

Here are a few example of fast food restaurant menus which can easily provide you with a fast meal. Perhaps not the tastiest but at least meeting diet restrictions, allowing you to dine with friends and family for a quick meal.


The meats and cheeses are all gluten free with the exception of the crispy chicken fillets and patties. The breading contains gluten. The roast turkey with a side salad when you choose the light Italian, Digon honey mustard, buttermilk or balsamic vinaigrette.

As far as breakfast the scrambled egg patty with bacon or sausage are perfect. Strawberry yogurt dip and apples, or Jamocha shakes all make good choices. The potatoes cakes and fries are gluten free but check to make sure there is a designated fryer.


There is no celiac diet menu at McDonald's and the fryer is used to wheat containing foods, and the oil itself contains wheat derivatives. There are some healthy foods like the apple dippers with low fat caramel are withing the restriction of the diet. The walnuts in the fruit and walnut snack are coated with a wheat containing mixture. The only recipe used for chicken is the grilled fillet but it does have soy lecithin which may cause reactions in people problems. The ice cream and all of the Newman Salad dressing meet restrictions except the sesame ginger flavor.

Taco Bell

There is the choice of beans and rice, rice and cheesy nachos, steak nachos, chips and salsa, the Cantina bowl (Marinate chicken in citrus-herb, black beans, guacamole, pico de gallo with cilantro dressing all over rice). It is available in a veggie version and well as steak version.

A word of caution, the nacho chips state that they are made on common equipment.


Wendy's selections includes all of their baked potato selections, chili, the smoked bacon hamburger patty, the ultimate chicken grill fillet, salad (no croutons), frosty shakes and apple slices. Local restaurants may have separate fryers for French fries and some of their food may come in contact with wheat-containing foods.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetable Are Always a Great Choice

Fresh Fruits and Vegetable Are Always a Great Choice
Fresh Fruits and Vegetable Are Always a Great Choice

Eggs, Sausage and Potatoes are Great. Watch out for the Pancakes and Toast

Eggs, Sausage and Potatoes are Great.  Watch out for the Pancakes and Toast
Eggs, Sausage and Potatoes are Great. Watch out for the Pancakes and Toast

Dining Out

A List of Friendly Restaurants

Nation Wide Restaurants - The Alternatives

Always check with each restaurant to make sure the server knows that you need a wheat free diet. Explain the situation and how cross-contamination to your food will effect your health. Most restaurant chain have alternative choices of foods for special diets, it is your responsibility to make sure the food you order is the food you actually are getting. Double check with you server before eating the food and have them double check with the cook to make sure it was prepared in an environment where cross-contamination will not occur.

Some restaurant have designated deep fryers for batterless cooking. If this is the case potatoes and other foods can be easily prepared while avoiding cross-contamination. You can rest assured your food had been made the way your body needs it.

A LIst of Friendly Restaurant Chains


Bob Evan's

Bonefish Grill

Boston Market

Buffalo Wild Wings

Burger King


Chick fil a

Chilis Grill and Bar

Chipotle Mexican Grill

Chuck E. Cheese

Einstein Bros. Bagel

Hardee's/Carl Junior's

Jack In The Box

Little Caesar's

Lone Star Steakhouse

Long Horn Steakhouse

Mac Donald's

Noodle's and Company


On The Border Mexican Grill

Olive Garden

Outback Steakhouse

P.F. Chang's China Bistro

Pizza Hut

Red Robin

Romanos Macaroni Grill



Taco Bell

TGI Friday


Always check for yourself to be safe before consuming food in one of these restaurants. Not all restaurants prepare their food to the same standards and you always run the risk of a server or cook that does not understand how gluten intolerance affects you. A free downloadable ebook is available from Free Guide as a guide safe eating in restaurants.

Salad is a Good Choice, Be Sure to Ask About the Dressing

Salad is Gluten Free  Be Sure to Ask About the Dressing
Salad is Gluten Free Be Sure to Ask About the Dressing

Olive Garden and Wheatless Pasta Choices

Olive Garden and Gluten Free Pasta Choices
Olive Garden and Gluten Free Pasta Choices

Ask For Fresh Veggies Sauted Just For You

Ask For Fresh Veggies Sauted Just For You
Ask For Fresh Veggies Sauted Just For You

5 Gluten Free Chains

Salad Dressing

Individual Salad Dressing

Always be ready for a gluten free salad with individual packet that can be easily carried with you for those emergencies when gluten free food is not available.

Take a Moment for a Comment

What are your comments on gluten free fast food?

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    • amosvee profile image


      8 years ago

      Great idea. I would not have suspected walnuts, glad I saw your lens!

    • Kim Milai profile image

      Kim Milai 

      8 years ago

      This is a great overview. Fast food is a real challenge. I need to avoid gluten , but I'm lactose intolerant too! Lol.

    • Loretta L profile image

      Loretta Livingstone 

      8 years ago from Chilterns, UK.

      It is really difficult to find much gluten free food in chain restaurants in the UK. When you do it rarely has a nice sauce to go with it. However there are a few which are getting their act together, such as Zizi's and Bella Pasta.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image


      8 years ago

      I don't go to fast food restaurants too often, but this is very helpful when I do. Thanks for the tips.

    • blessedmomto7 profile image


      8 years ago

      I think the best bet is to stay out of fast food restaurants :)

    • jastreb profile image


      8 years ago

      great lens and nice recipes.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      It is very useful to know all these alternatives.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 

      8 years ago from Ljubljana

      It's great to know things are changing for better in fast food chains too!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Very nice post.A big thanks for sharing this post.

    • amosvee profile image


      8 years ago

      I'm grateful for this lens, as my gluten-free journey is in its infancy. Thank you!

    • choosehappy profile image


      8 years ago from US

      Great tips for those looking for gluten free fast food! Very helpful.

    • Dusty2 LM profile image

      Dusty2 LM 

      8 years ago

      What an interesting and enlightening lens. I learned some new things about eating out at fast food places and gluten-free choices now. Appreciate you writing and sharing this Purple Star lens. Very well done! Thank You for visiting my Unique Peacock Theme Wedding Favors, Gifts & Accessories lens and giving it a "thumbs up" as I really appreciate it. Hope you enjoyed your visit. Have a Great Day!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      great post, so many are going gluten free out of necessity

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Still not enough gluten free choices for sure :) But, they seem to be working on it.

    • Raymond Eagar profile image

      Raymond Eagar 

      8 years ago

      Eet healthy

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 

      8 years ago from Topeka, KS

      Great article! My husband recently decided to go gluten free due to some health concerns. As he has to travel quite a bit each day, he was up against what gluten free meals could he find at fast food places. There are lots more options now than there used to be so it is definitely doable. :)


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