Last week I went to Chipotle a grand total of three different times. THREE. And I wouldn't hesitate to return a few more times this week....
Having celiac disease and grabbing lunch on the go results in somewhat limited options, but rather than considering this boring I am just grateful to have so many safe options that fit into my workday. Click "read below" to hear about 5 of my nationally-available favorites!
Good news - everything at Chipotle is gluten free with the obvious exception of the flour tortillas.
I do find that sometimes the corn salsa upsets my stomach, but I really enjoy being able to order my bowl or tacos exactly as I please, without fear, and without being the most difficult customer on the planet. Chipotle is also only as boring as you allow it to be - switch up your protein, change out your normal salsa, try a different bean or rice! (In case you were wondering how the hell someone can eat there three times in a week plus leftovers...)
My Go-To Order: Chicken-or-Steak burrito bowl (to go) with double white rice, half and half beans, cheese only on top. Hot salsa and sour cream on the side. Occasional chips and guac on the side if I'm feeling particularly financially stable that day.
The real celiac value of In-N-Out isn't the fact that they offer two different burger styles that are gluten free (Protein Style - lettuce wrap and Flying Dutchman - no wrap in a box). Its the fact that with such a limited menu, their french fries are safe from cross contamination! Check out their allergen menu for more information, or contact their above-and-beyond customer service team through email or social media.
If you’re not a fan of In-N-Out fries (a staggering number of people I’ve talked to while writing this HATE INO fries....) try them “well done” or “extra well done”. Trust me, its a vastly different fry experience.
My Go-To Order: Double Double plain, protein style (meat, cheese and lettuce), fries extra well and a vanilla shake for fry dippin'.
Not the greatest for eating on-the-go, but as far as having the most “normal” gluten free burger experience, Culver’s is the best.
They offer a freshly steamed Udi's gluten free bun that never seems to have the expected Udi's craters and is super soft and moist. They'll also bring you your burger innards in a little paper boat, ready for you to assemble with condiments to your hearts content. Also, being able to have their amazing custard makes up for having to avoid the fried sides due to a shared fryer. They offer a helpful interactive allergen grid online for easy viewing.
My Go-To Order: Culver's Deluxe SnackPak with Gluten Free bun, I give my fries to a friend and just eat extra pickles for a side *shrugs*
I really like teriyaki, and desperately missed teriyaki bowls before I discovered Tokyo Joes gluten free teriyaki sauce. With 5 different gluten free sauces available, similarly to Chipotle you’re really only limited by your own creativity.
Tokyo Joes’ menu isn’t huge, but there are both entrees and appetizers that are gluten free including spring rolls and bento boxes. One other thing I appreciate Tokyo Joes for is an affordable, reasonably good California Roll that does not contain any weird gluten-containing imitation krab!
My Go-To Order: Big white chicken bowl with gluten free teriyaki, no veggies. Four piece California Roll and edamame.
In my experience, Whole Foods has become a hell of a lot cheaper since they came under Amazon’s ownership. Considering my recent transition into the kind of wellness-woke human who eats colorful salads and drinks green juices and wellness shots, this couldn’t have come at a better time.
Whole Foods’ multitude of grab and go options make it a really solid lunch spot, and I deeply appreciate that so many of their items offer complete ingredient lists (even in their crazy extensive salad bar) so that I can make the most informed decision when building my lunch. Whole Foods also offers me the ability to augment my workplaces’ cafe lunch offerings, allowing me to participate in mealtimes with my coworkers without going hungry.
My Go-To Pick Up: Tuna and avocado sushi on white rice, classic wellness shot
Congratulations, you now know where I will probably eat lunch 3/5 days a week. So - do you have any other nationally-available quick lunch spots I should try? Let me know in the contact form below!