I wrote about my experience traveling and eating out two weeks ago. If you missed it you can find it here: Traveling Gluten-Free. 

Eating out at a restaurant means doing your homework first. Simply ask a lot of questions. Ask point-blank if gluten-free options are offered. Then ask what types of ingredients are used in the foods you are thinking about eating. Mom-and-pop restaurants, cafés and diners may not be up to speed as far as understanding what is and is not gluten-free, but most chain restaurants will be able to answer your questions with a high degree of accuracy. But today, I’m going to offer up some apps that will help make being out and about at restaurants or even finding places to eat, lot easier.

Apps That Can Help

To complement your gluten-free shopping applications, here are a few apps for your smart phone or tablet that can help you stay on target when eating away from home.

• iCanEat Fast Food Gluten Free & Allergy Free

It is possible to eat fast food without succumbing to gluten. Just remember that fast food and fast casual dining destinations don’t always have the healthiest food. You may get gluten out of your diet, but there are a lot of preservatives, additives and other less than healthy components in fast food. This application contains nutritional information from over 40 fast food and fast casual dining chains in the United States. You can quickly see if the food you are eating at Chick-fil-A, Boston Market, Chipotle, Jack-in-the-Box, Buffalo Wild Wings or several other popular fast-serve restaurants is gluten-free.

• AllergyEats Mobile

This is a neat application that is based on user input. You and other gluten-free diners report about how well or poorly particular restaurants handle diners that are allergic to certain foods. You can search by the top 10 allergens, enter a location where you are thinking about eating, or simply choose the “Find Near Me” suggestion tool.

• iEatOut Gluten & Allergy Free

This application lets you browse menu choices, including sauces and ingredients, in Indian, French, Chinese, Italian, Mexican, Steak and Thai restaurants around the world.

• Find Me Gluten Free

With this app, you simply enter a specific location or you can browse “Popular Chains”. You also have access to user reviews, the websites of popular chain restaurants, and their gluten-free menus. I actually have this one on my phone.

• Gluten Free Restaurant Cards from CeliacTravel.com

The problem with asking your waiter if an item does or does not contain gluten is that the message sometimes doesn’t make it back to the kitchen intact. These cards are great and I actually used to make something similar a while back. These wonderful and free gluten-free restaurant cards spell out exactly what food requirements a celiac or gluten-sensitive person has. They are listed in a number of languages, and previous users say they are an incredibly handy resource for eating gluten-free, whether in your native country or abroad. These cards are amazing! I have saved you the trouble of looking them up and have provided a link to their website and cards here: Gluten-Free Restaurant Cards

I hope these suggestions and apps help you get out and about more often.