We are on day 1 of our road trip to the University of North Carolina for the girl’s basketball camp trip. I am the female chaperone and my husband, the assistant varsity coach and the head coach are chaperones as well. It’s going to be really tough on this trip because there are 17 of us trying to find somewhere to eat while on the road. Fortunately, I’m not the only one with celiac disease so we are making sure we stop places where we can get something to eat. I packed tons of snack foods for the road to be sure Melissa and I were never starving and could have snacks throughout the drive.
Originally, we were going to stop at Outback but the girls were concerned about spending too much on dinner so we ended up at Applebee’s. I did a quick google search to make sure they could accommodate us and it turns out their website was very allergen friendly. They have an extensive, multi-page list of allergens and safe foods for all the different types of food problems.
There are numerous gluten-free options to pick from. Melissa chose the fiesta lime chicken and I had the margarita chicken and shrimp. I explained to our waitress and she assured me she would let the kitchen know of our special dietary needs. I’m always skeptical at chain places so I kept my fingers crossed. One of the other athletes said, “do you get nervous when you eat out?” My reply, “every time.” It’s even more nerve-wracking with a large order of 17 because of the higher risk of a mistake.
The food was just okay. I think I’ve become a food snob since going gluten-free. It’s hard when you focus on eating fresh, whole, yummy foods to go back to eating the quick, fix processed foods. Applebee’s isn’t somewhere I frequented prior to going gluten-free so it really wasn’t a treat to go there tonight.
I didn’t get sick from eating there, my belly felt a little weird but I think it was from the sodium and quality of foods.
Overall, I would say if you are stuck and end up at Applebee’s, you have options. Just make sure you are VERY CLEAR to your server and pay attention to what you order and what shows up on your plate.
I will also say Applebee’s tweeted me right away and said to make sure I informed my server of my dietary needs and were responsive when I said I was going to eat a gluten-free meal there.
But, as always, you can never be 100% safe when eating out. There is always room for human error so it’s critical we keep our guard up, eyes open and stay educated.