Tricia Thompson, MS, RD is a nutrition consultant, author and speaker specializing in celiac disease and the gluten-free diet. She is the author of The Gluten-Free Nutrition Guide and has a MS degree in nutrition from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts and a BA degree in English Literature from Middlebury College in Vermont.

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Living Gluten-Free

by Tricia Thompson, MS, RD, The Gluten-Free Dietitian

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When you are gluten free, there is something incredibly fabulous about being handed a menu that caters to your dietary needs.

I recently ordered off a gluten-free menu at Legal Sea Foods in downtown Boston and it was so liberating! If you ever have a chance to eat at this chain, I highly recommend it. Not only is the gluten-free menu great but the food is good as well.

Legal Sea Foods has locations in Washington DC, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia. Their website has an online restaurant locator service that includes location specific menu options.

Legal Sea Foods isn't the only chain with a gluten-free menu.

Others include Bonefish Grill, Carrabba's Italian Grill, and Outback Steakhouse. The gluten-free menus available in these three chains have been developed in cooperation with the Gluten Intolerance Group and their Gluten-Free Restaurant Awareness Program.

According to Cynthia Kupper, RD, executive director of the Gluten Intolerance Group, the Gluten-Free Restaurant Awareness Program was developed to "support restaurants to identify their menu items that are gluten free, and to provide education and training materials. The program has expanded to include some swab testing in restaurants to reinforce issues of contamination control."

Bonefish Grill has a menu with bold GF next to the gluten-free options. This menu is available on line. Go to www.bonefishgrill.com and click on "our menu." Under "other menus" click on "gluten-free." Bonefish Grill is currently located in 32 states. An online restaurant locator service is available.

Carrabba's Italian Grill has a separate gluten-free menu that is available online. Go to www.carrabbas.com and click on "menu." Scroll down until you see "gluten-free menu." Carrabba's is presently located in 33 states. An online restaurant locator service is available.

Outback Steakhouse also has a separate gluten-free menu that is available online. Go to www.outback.com and click on "food and menu" and then "gluten-free menu." Outback also has an online restaurant locator service.

On those (hopefully rare) occasions when fast food is the only option, Wendy's may be one of your better bets. A printer ready listing of "menu items without gluten" is available online. If you periodically find yourself in line at a fast food restaurant, you might want to print out this menu and keep it in the car. Go to www.wendys.com and click on "food." Click on "nutrition facts" and then "menu items without gluten." What I find nice about Wendy's is that I can actually order something healthy -- a baked potato topped with broccoli -- at the take-out window!

For more restaurant options that are gluten-free friendly, visit the web site of the Gluten-Free Restaurant Awareness Program at www.glutenfreerestaurants.org. Publications that you may find useful in your quest to dine gluten free are The Essential Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide published by Triumph Dining and the Let's Eat Out! series published by Gluten Free Passport.

Tricia Thompson, M.S., RD is a nutrition consultant, author and speaker specializing in celiac disease and the gluten-free diet. She is the author of The Gluten-Free Nutrition Guide (McGraw-Hill) and co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Gluten-Free Eating (Penguin Group). For more information, visit www.glutenfreedietitian.com.

For a copy of The Gluten-Free Nutrition Guide click here.

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