Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Gluten Free Fast Food Meal: Chick Fil A

Grilled Chicken Nugget Kids Meal at Chick-fil-A

You're writing a blog about having a child with Celiac Disease and you post a picture of a Chick-fil-A kid's meal? 


But there is no way that place is Gluten-Free. No. Way.

Yes, it is a chain. And yes, their main fare is battered, fried chicken sandwiches. But you'd be surprised by how well they accommodate the needs of a Gluten-Free child.

Prove it.

Ok. This was a bit of an experiment. We didn't want to make this some sort of "accost the local Chick-fil-A and make them go above and beyond what they normally do to accommodate our needs" event. Just do what you do, and we'll decide whether it works for us and our son. We chose the location nearest to our house, on Arundel Mills Boulevard in Hanover, Maryland.

Within the past few years, Chick-fil-A added grilled chicken nuggets to their menu. As a kid's meal option, this proved to be great news; do you always want fried food for the little people? They've been serving grilled sandwiches for a while now... it was about time.

We went inside to order, just to make sure we interacted with a real life human (not that they aren't real when ordering from the drive-thru, they're just more real eye-to-eye). We didn't request a manager, we just went up to the first available register. We informed the woman that our son had Celiac Disease and couldn't have gluten. Then we asked what was gluten free.

"The grilled chicken nuggets and breasts, the french fries and fruit cups."

Apparently, the french fries are cooked in a dedicated fryer, as the cooking times and temperatures are different enough between nuggets and fries to warrant it. Obviously, there is a cross-contamination risk, but when the woman went into the back and told the prep staff it was for a Gluten-Free child, they changed their gloves to cook and package the order. Impressive for a fast food chain. Also, my son's favorite Honey Mustard dipping sauce is gluten free.

Now I'll say it again: there is obviously a huge risk for cross contamination in a facility that has both fried and grilled chicken, and fryers for chicken and french fries. Oils spatter, prep surfaces get shared and gloved hands touch everything. And different restaurants in the same chain may handle the situation very differently. But with the right amount of precaution and skepticism, you can still grab a bite on the go and be Gluten-Free doing it.

And you get a board book out of the deal.

No comments:

Post a Comment