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Tips for Valentine dining, gluten free

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Dining out can be a rare occasion for people who have Celiac Disease or a gluten allergy, so treating your gluten free Valentine to dinner at a nice restaurant is a wonderful way to show you really care.

However, dining out is extremely high risk for anyone who has to avoid gluten. The potential of what should be a happy occasion turning into a tearful disaster is significant. Unless you are extremely knowledgeable about the details of the gluten free diet, don't attempt to plan this on your on, and don't even think about making a surprise of it.

Your best bet for having an enjoyable dining experience is to let your gluten free darling make the plans and pick the restaurant. Unless they are recently diagnosed, they'll already have some idea of acceptable eating establishments to consider.

Don't wait until the last minute to suggest dining out, as it sometimes requires research to find a place with a decent gluten free selection. Some cities have several restaurants with a variety of gluten free entrees, including pizza, pasta, and even dessert. However, even in a town with few restaurants, chances are you can find a place that can grill steak or chicken with salad and a baked potato on the side.

Upon entering the restaurant, politely inform the waiter that your lovely date is gluten free, and will need some special consideration. This shows her you take her seriously and want the best for her. She will love you all the more for that. Then leave the rest to her.

Do not be impatient if your date takes considerable time making his food selections or discussing his meal preparation with the waiter, manager or chef. This is completely necessary and true professionals in hospitality understand that and do not take this responsibility lightly. Even most restauranteurs with little experience serving gluten intolerant diners will welcome the opportunity to learn more so they can meet the needs of every customer. Some, however, will exhibit obvious disdain or disregard for the special dietary requirements. If your date expresses concern, be prepared to pick up your purse and boldly exit. Any other response would be disrespectful to your Valentine's feelings and need for affirmation.

If dining out is not an option, consider cooking Valentine's dinner at home. Again, if you lack experience in gluten free requirements, don't try to do this alone. Provide a fresh fruit and vegetable tray for the appetizer course, but let your sweetheart pick the menu, and you can cook the meal together. It can be both an educational and bonding evening that should earn you some gluten free brownie points.

Speaking of brownies, end your meal with these fudgy, microwavable, gluten free mug cakes. They're sensationally sweet.

Remember, candlelight and flowers are always in season, but here's hoping you'll be a gluten free expert by next Valentine's Day!

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