Gluten-Free Menus

More and more diners are looking for gluten-free options when dining out. Get started on your gluten-free menu and staff training here.
Gluten-Free Menus Image Link

Are you hearing more questions about gluten in your dishes?  Getting more requests for gluten-free dishes from guests diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance?    Looking to tap into the ever-growing gluten-free market?  Now is the time to understand the trend and create your own gluten-free menu using the information and resources below.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in all forms of wheat, barley and rye.  This may sound like a short list of ingredients to avoid, but when you consider that gluten-containing wheat additives are still the most commonly used in U.S. food products today, the list quickly grows.

These ingredients containing gluten should be avoided:

Abyssinian
Beer
Bran
Brewer’s Yeast
Bulgur
Chilton
Couscous
Dinkle
Durum
Einkorn
Emmer
Farina
Fu
Graham
Heeng
Hing
Kamut
Maida
Malt
Malt Vinegar
Matza
Matzo Meal
Mir
Orzo Spelt
Roux
Rusk
Seitan
Semolina
Triticale
Udon
Wheat Germ
Wheat Starch


According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) the following common ingredients may also contain gluten:

Beer
Bouillions
Broths
Dairy Substitutions
Deli Meats
Edible Films and Coatings
Gravies
Hydrolyzed Proteins
Imitation Seafood
Licorice
Lunch Meats
Modified Food Starch
Natural Flavors
Salad Dressings
Seasonings
Soy and Teriyaki Sauce
Spice Blends
 

 
Creating a gluten-free menu

With creativity, preparation and the help of experts such as the NFCA, adding gluten-free dishes or even a gluten-free menu can be the next step to grow your restaurant and take advantage of the growing gluten-free trend.
Start with ingredients that do not contain gluten. There are plenty of options that can be used to create delicious dishes that every diner will want to order including:
  • Fresh, unprocessed meats, poultry and fish*
  • Fruits and vegetables*
  • Nuts*
  • Beans*
  • Dairy**
  • Whole grains* and starches* such as: potatoes, corn, quinoa and rice
The next step is to avoid or remove any ingredients that may include gluten from dishes. This can be a long list and according to NFCA, often ingredients containing gluten are undeclared on labels. A list of common ingredients to avoid can be found here.
Alternative ingredients can be used to not only ensure a gluten-free dish but also make your dish stand out from the competition as unique and trend-setting. Some ingredients that are allowed on a gluten-free diet are:

Almond Flour
Amaranth
Brown Rice Flour
Buckwheat
Coconut Flour
Corn Flour
Corn Starch
Guar Gum
Lentil
Pea Flour
Potato Flour
Potato Starch
Quinoa
Rice
Sorghum Flour
Soy Flour
Sweet Rice Flour
Tapioca Starch
Teff
White Rice Flour


Training your staff

Training your staff and ensuring your kitchen is set up for a gluten-free menu is the most important part of offering one. Even the smallest piece of gluten in a dish offered as gluten-free can cause a sick and very unhappy guest.
GREAT, Gluten-Free Resource Education and Awareness Training, is a program of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA).The program trains members of the restaurant industry to effectively offer patrons gluten-free options. GREAT also enhances and improves the gluten-free business climate by promoting quality, tested, gluten-free products that add value to menus and boost customer loyalty.
For more information about celiac disease, a gluten-free diet, gluten-free recipes and GREAT, visit www.celiaccentral.org.




*  Be on the lookout for any preservatives or other ingredients as these may contain gluten.

** While these foods do not contain gluten, many people who are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease also find they are lactose intolerant and avoid dairy in addition to gluten.