Dietary restrictions are just the worst.
While intentional dietary restrictions, such as becoming and vegetarian or vegan by choice, can make going out frustrating enough, having a health condition that makes your body sensitive to a food item or nutrient is a whole other level of anxiety-provoking, especially for people who have just discovered that they have one.
Take gluten intolerance, for example.
It is something that can be frustrating to keep track of, and, depending on how severe the intolerance is, can have serious health consequences in just a few hours, and all because you absentmindedly nibbled on one slice of bread.
Fortunately, more and more restaurants, both fancy and fast food, are starting to be a little more accommodating to people with food allergies like this.
Or, at the very least, acknowledging what foods are and aren’t on the menu for vegetarians, or dairy and gluten-free customers, in any case!
Today, we’re going to take a look at one of these fast-food chains, Burger King, and see which items on their menu are safe for gluten-intolerant people to order when at their local drive-through.
1. Chicken Garden Salad
This kind of meal may not be the first thought that comes to you when going to Burger King. More likely, you’re looking for a good burger meal to keep you going.
However, if you are struggling to think of a food item on their menu that may or may not contain gluten, this is a reliable side or small main that you can order for filling yourself up with.
With plenty of leafy greens, plus some juicy tomatoes, and a little chicken was thrown in there for good measure, this is a recipe that is both gluten-free, and a healthy alternative to the heartier meals that Burger King is often known for (see also ‘Top 13 Best Burger King Items to Try‘).
2. Whopper (Without The Bun)
Moving onto those heartier meals in question, we have one of Burger King’s signature meals that they are known, the Whopper.
However, there’s a twist here. One that makes me just a little more gluten-friendly.
Instead of being sandwiched between two burger buns, the burger patty in question is instead wrapped in fresh lettuce, creating a wrapped-up little meat package for you to eat!
So, you’ll be getting the burger that you know and love, as well as a little extra greenery on the side.
One thing that we would not, however, is that because the burger patty in this type of food item is prepared with other foods on Burger King’s menu, there is a risk of cross-contamination when purchasing this food.
Make sure that you notify the cashier or other staff member when ordering this type of item.
3. Side Garden Salad
Of course, salads are a field day for gluten-free customers.
(Well, they are often the only place where there is little chance of gluten, but still!)
Burger King’s side salad is full of healthy greens and veggies, from crunchy lettuce to juicy tomatoes, all of which contain exactly zero gluten, as well as benign low in carbs too.
There’s even a little extra cheese thrown into the mix here, for people who can’t imagine ordering a Burger King food item without the world’s best topping.
4. Steakhouse XT (Without The Bun)
So, similar to the hopper that we covered earlier, the Steakhouse XT is another staple of the Burger King burgers and sandwich line-ups. One that is unfortunately unavailable to gluten intolerant customers.
However, the Steakhouse, like the whopper from before, also has the option to be ordered without the bun, instead being wrapped in a bed of lettuce to make it easier for customers to eat, without worrying about the gluten from the bun.
Again, we should just mention that there is a risk of cross-contamination from other food items that are prepared in the same place as this burger, like with the whopper.
However, just notify staff or the cashier, and they can do their best to avoid this as best as they can.
5. Vanilla, Chocolate & Strawberry Shakes
Of course, no trip to Burger King (or any fast-food chain for that matter) would be complete without a little extra sweetness from a good old-fashioned milkshake.
And luckily for gluten-free customers, this is a luxury that they can also join in with too!
Although a Burger King milkshake isn’t going to be great for every dietary requirement (sorry vegans and lactose intolerant folks), the lack of gluten means that there’s no need to worry about any of the ingredients containing gluten and bloating you up the next day, or even from cross-contamination either.
Plus, with a range of different flavors to choose from, there’s a milkshake for everyone here!
6. Garden Fresh Salad With Cranberry & Apple With Tender Grill Chicken
Of course, as we’ve talked bout, salads are a smaller, though the still viable option for many customers who are worried about their gluten intolerance flaring up.
However, with salads like this garden fresh side food, you’re not exactly missing out on flavors and textures either.
The crunchy and sweet flavors of the apple go very nicely with the lettuce that you’ll normally find here, along with the cranberries adding a tartness to the food too.
Through in a little extra chicken for flavor and protein, and you have a great little gluten-free mini meal to eat!
7. Apple Sauce & Other Dressings
Are we cheating a little by having apple sauce as its entry on this list? Maybe.
Still, you can think of this as a section to discuss how important dressings are for adding extra flavors to meals, which is especially the case for people with gluten intolerance, where their options are otherwise pretty limited.
Alongside apple sauce, most types of BBC dips and sauces will be fine for gluten-free customers to eat, as well as the french fry dips and marinara sauce.
When all else fails for giving your food extra flavor, you can always rely on a good dip to help you out!
8. Soft Serve Ice Cream Cup
Of course, alongside milkshakes, soft scoop ice creams are an undisputed sovereign of sweetness when it comes to many fast food chains.
A soft scoop in a cup is often the ice cream of choice for most fast food chains, which is great for people who are worried about ordering an ice cream through a drive-through, only to be stuck holding a cone back home or to the office.
Plus, as with many of the other dairy products here, there’s no gluten in sight in this food item!
9. Fresh Apple Slices
We’ve already mentioned how apple slices are great with a good Burger Kin salad, but we haven’t given these little goodies their own due time.
Being a fruit, grabbing a bag of apple slices will probably be a little healthier than ordering a full burger meal.
And, of course, you’ll be avoiding all that nasty gluten at the same time!
10. Chocolate Fudge Sundae
There’s more than one way to prepare good ice cream, and Burger King knows that (see also ‘A Full Guide On The Healthiest Foods At Burger King‘).
That’s why they have a good chocolate fudge sundae dessert in stock too!
You get all the good dairy from a classic soft scoop of ice cream, combined with a little extra chocolate sauce too.
All of that, and with no gluten in sight too!
Time for one that you may not have considered already as being gluten-free!
While coffee isn’t at the top of many people’s lists of iconic gluten-free foods, a good frappé in any shape or form will normally not contain any gluten whatsoever, meaning that you’re safe to enjoy a good one through a Burger King drive-through, even if you have celiac disease.
So, you can enjoy that caramel or mocha frappe in peace!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are The Symptoms Of Gluten Intolerance?
Some people may be reading this list and wondering if gluten intolerance is that bad in the first place.
After all, with so many normal items containing gluten in them, many people might cave to that craving for the full burger, with the bun included. Often with the thought, ‘how bad can it be?’
Well, that depends on how bad someone’s gluten intolerance is, which will be different from person to person.
Certainly, someone with very mild gluten intolerance may be able to afford the occasional full burger meal, and only have to worry about feeling gassy the next day.
However, like many other medical conditions, gluten intolerance exists on a spectrum of severity.
People with mild intolerance, as we’ve already implied, tend to have minor, though still somewhat frustrating, symptoms when consuming gluten.
These can range from feeling bloated and gassy to mild constipation, among other symptoms. For these people, enjoying their favorite fast food chain may be worth this price.
However, for more severe intolerances, the consequences can be a little more extreme, with abdominal pain and severe headaches being relatively common severe side effects of being gluten intolerant.
It is even possible for someone with extreme gluten intolerance to have incredibly bad fits of vomiting and diarrhea.
It can even affect your moods in some cases, such as triggering depression in some gluten intolerant people and causing confusion or a lack of concentration in people with the condition.
Overall, if you have a pretty nasty case of gluten intolerance, ricking a little burger bun should be the last thing on your mind!
What Foods Contain Gluten Inside Them?
So, with those symptoms covering a wide range of reactions, people may also be wondering which kinds of foods exactly they should be avoiding, rather than sifting through menus to find a specific item that they can eat.
Well, generally speaking, gluten is a type of protein that is found in most grain-type food products.
This means that pretty much every variety of product that is derived from wheat, barley, rye, or other varieties should not be eaten by people with gluten intolerance.
(This is also why pretty much any burger that is served in a bread bun is considered not gluten-friendly, and why so many menus feel like their gluten-free sections are so small.)
So, if a food item on a menu has a product that is derived from one of these items, it will be guaranteed to have some amount of gluten in it.
Which Fast Food Restaurant Is The Best For Gluten-Free Customers?
So, having gone through the list, and talking about some of the effects of eating gluten food items.
This may have people wondering a few things.
Namely, if there are barely more than 10 food items on this list for Burger King, how do other fast-food restaurants compare? Are they better, or worse?
Well, compared to probably its main competitor, McDonald’s, Burger King fairs about the same in terms of gluten-free friendliness.
Both restaurants will have a list of items on their websites that can be considered gluten-free friendly for customers, as well as offering food items that would normally contain gluten, such as burger buns, without those ingredients (such as with the bunless burgers that we’ve mentioned already).
This gives both Burger King and McDonald’s a little more variety in their menus for gluten-free customers.
Not only that, but Burger King also sells gluten-free options to customers in their frappés, something that a lot of other fast-food restaurants don’t have.
However, there is also a danger of cross-contamination from these food items as we have already touched on, which can lead to some severely gluten-intolerant people to still getting a reaction.
However, when compared to other fast-food chains, both Burger King and McDonald’s seem to come up a little short.
Several chains, such as Wendy’s and Chipotle, have several main meals that are naturally sold without gluten ingredients in them, such as the former’s baked potato options, and the latter’s burrito bowl meals.
Both of these give them an edge over Burger King, where the closest to a standard gluten-free main meal will be a larger salad side, not counting the burgers without buns.
So, overall, Burger likely isn’t the worst fast-food chain out there in terms of providing options, and they do warn any gluten-free customers about the risk of cross-contamination on their website.
However, in terms of main meal options, there are better fast food joints to go to.
So, there you have it!
When it comes to gluten-free food items, Burger King probably isn’t the best option for you. While they do have a few safely gluten-free items, a lot of their main meals run the risk of cross-contamination.
However, if you’re feeling brave, or only have a slight intolerance, you will find food that you can enjoy there.