Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Our Top 3 Tips for Eating Dairy-Free in Restaurants

Finding the right dairy-free dish in a restaurant can be overwhelming. Hopefully these tips will help guide you to a delicious, dairy-free decision the next time you go out to eat.

1) Research the menu before you go out to eat. Many chain or larger restaurants have allergen information posted online. If you can’t find it, call ahead and see what your options are.
2) Always mention to your server that you cannot eat dairy products. Any restaurant worth their salt will accommodate your needs. Don't ever feel bad about making a special request or asking what it is in a dish.
3) Smaller, family-run restaurants tend to be more flexible with ingredients and usually make your dish to order. This is in contrast to bigger chain restaurants, where it may be more difficult to get your baked ziti without the cheese on the top.

When I think of the Olive Garden, pasta drenched in cream sauces usually comes to mind. I scoured their menu to find some tasty dairy-free options. I was actually shocked to find the breadsticks were safe, but according to their most recent nutritional disclosure as of Oct 2011, they are dairy free! Note: The below suggestions are based on the restaurant’s latest nutritional disclosure, so to be safe, ask your server before ordering just to make sure nothing has changed!

Olive Garden Dairy Free Menu Options:
Breadsticks (!)
Pasta e Fagioli soup
Herb-Grilled Salmon
Spaghetti & Italian Sausage
Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

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