Trying to eat gluten-free at most fast-food restaurants is like trying to buy shoes at a drug store, it may be possible, but your options will be extremely limited. Fast-food restaurants mostly serve foods that have wheat as a primary ingredient, and many of the foods are fried, highly processed, and preserved. You can’t expect them to offer gluten-free bread for your hamburger, a gluten-free tortilla for your burrito, or gluten-free breading for your fried chicken. A collection of sides or a salad may be all you can expect. You may be able to order certain items without the bun. French fries are likely to be cross-contaminated because of being fried in the same oil as foods with wheat, plus they may contain wheat starch.
Remember that fast-food restaurants will present numerous challenges in finding foods you can eat in addition to presenting a variety of cross-contact issues. But if you choose to make the fast-food gluten-free eating attempt, keep the following pointers in mind:
• The gluten-free ratio will be considerably smaller than the full service restaurants you have found to be gluten-free friendly.
• Before visiting a fast-food restaurant, visit their Web site to see if they have a gluten-free menu and read the nutritional information they have posted. Of the many large fast-food chains, Wendy’s has a rather extensive gluten-free menu.
• If you choose to ask questions, do so inside instead of using the drive thru speaker phone.
• It’s unrealistic to ask a fast-food restaurant to conform to your gluten-free diet needs until corporate headquarters or the owner has implemented a process to do so.