It’s easy to assume that searching for gluten-free options at fast food restaurants would be more hassle than it’s worth.
After all, it seems most menus feature every item between two slices of bread, or every meat rolled or coated in flour. While this might be great in terms of convenience and flavor, it can be rough for those suffering from a gluten allergy.
Fortunately, we decided to take a closer look at just how far fast food chains have come in catering to people with gluten allergies. The goodies we found were even more than we bargained for.
Check out the whole Panera Bread menu
With “bread” as part of its name, it can be easy to overlook Panera as a place to grab a rich and filling gluten-free bite. But fear not: Panera Bread actually has a long list of gluten-free items, including much more than plain salads.
Suggestions: Go Mediterranean and try the Greek salad. When we’re feeling extra-hungry, we pair it with a side of baked potato soup, followed by a coconut macaroon for dessert.
Check out the whole Chipotle menu
As long as you avoid flour tortillas almost everything at Chipotle is free of gluten. If you’re highly gluten-sensitive Chipotle also recommends avoiding items containing corn, including corn tortillas and corn salsa, as they “may have a small amount of gluten from potentially co-mingling with gluten-containing grains in the field.”
Check out the whole Wendy’s menu
Needless to say, going to a drive-through joint for gluten-free options had us more than a little nervous. Fortunately, this fear was misplaced, as Wendy’s offers several options for a quick and easy wheat-free meal.
Suggestions: Go for the Strawberry Fields Salad (no chicken) and pair it with a cup of chili.
Check out the whole In-N-Out menu
As long as we reached for a burger sans bun, and stuck with fries and a shake for dessert, we were able to get in and out with a gluten-free meal quickly at In-N-Out.
Suggestions: Go for a burger wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun, load up on the fries, and indulge in a shake for dessert.
Check out the whole Shake Shack menu
We were able to satisfy our burger cravings at Shake Shack, where they also offer a gluten-free bun to allergy-conscious folks.
Suggestions: Avoid the crinkle fries and instead reach for a burger, either with a lettuce wrap or gluten-free bun.
Check out the whole Starbucks menu
Starbucks has come a long way in making their gluten-free products extremely tasty. Plus, who doesn’t want a dreamy latte alongside their meals?
Suggestions: Grab a latte with almond, soy, or dairy milk and pair it with their certified gluten-free breakfast sandwich.
Check out the whole Chick-fil-A menu
We knew Chik-fil-A made some of the most heavenly chicken nuggets on earth. However, we also knew these were breaded and therefore not friendly to those with a gluten allergy. Fortunately, they offer grilled chicken nuggets that are mouthwatering, as well as several side options.
Suggestions: Try the grilled chicken nuggets or the grilled chicken filet with no bun, and pair with a side of waffle fries and a fruit cup.
Check out the whole Subway menu
Subway is typically avoided by anyone who can’t have gluten due to the abundance of … well … subs made of bread. However, we knew Subway had to offer a quality gluten-free option, so we stopped in.
Suggestions: Go for the salads, especially the Spicy Italian, whose array of meats and cheese make up for the lack of bread.
Check out the whole Dairy Queen menu
When we’re indulging our sweet tooth and want to avoid cakes containing wheat, we naturally gravitate to Dairy Queen. The ice cream is naturally gluten-free, but their options don’t end there.
Suggestions: Pick your choice of sundae (chocolate, caramel, fudge, or marshmallow) or various Blizzard Treats, like the Reese’s Blizzard. The one thing to watch out for is what toppings you choose; most, like cookie crumbles, might contain wheat.
Check out the whole Jason’s Deli menu
Jason’s Deli is an all-star when it comes to gluten-free options. We found a menu filled with tasty offerings beyond the normal salad or bunless burger.
Suggestions: Build your own sandwich with their gluten-free bread, stack a plate high with greens and veggies from their salad bar, and pair both with a side of tomato basil soup.
As we quickly realized, finding gluten-free options at popular fast food chains was surprisingly easy. As more and more people are discovering they’re sensitive to gluten, the options at these restaurants will only keep getting better.
What’s your favorite gluten-free option? Hit us up in the comments to let us know!