'A McDonald'sR on every corner,' may be an exaggeration, but there's no getting away from it: when you're out and about and hungry, the ubiquitous yellow arches seem to be everywhere. That can be surprisingly good news for those with food allergies, particularly those with wheat intolerance or celiac disease.
Even though the range of gluten free foods may be limited at McDonald's, the company is forthcoming with nutritional information on its website in a way that many smaller restaurants or even other food chains may not be. Check out the brand's nutrition section for a downloadable PDF of the current menu, complete with ingredients and allergy information. So, you can go armed with the knowledge you need to select a suitable meal beforehand, and wherever you are, if you get stuck without gluten free food, you will know there's always something you can have.
All of the buns and wraps at McDonald's contain wheat, and therefore gluten, so you won't be able to order a standard meal without alterations, though you could ask for one without the bun as long as none of the other components have wheat in them. Chicken SelectsR, McNuggetsR, Chicken McBitesR, Crispy Chicken ClassicR and Filet-O-FishR have wheat thanks to their coatings, and the chicken patty also has wheat in its ingredients, but andy grilled chicken is gluten free, as are the Angus and beef patties and the McRib pork patties.
The Big Mac sauce and ranch sauces contain wheat, although the Chipotle BBQ sauce, tomato sauce, tartar sauce, honey mustard sauce and mayonnaise don't. Also off the menu if you want gluten free are the snack-size fruit and walnuts, which have wheat in the candied walnuts. Cinnamon melts, hotcakes, muffins and hash browns also all have gluten. For breakfast, the fruit and maple oatmeal is gluten free, although the banana oatmeal isn't. Biscuits and bagels are out, though the folded egg is okay, as are the sausage and scrambled egg, sausage patty and low fat granola. Salads are okay if you order with grilled chicken and avoid the ranch salad.
The nutrition list
Check the nutrition list on the company website regularly, as ingredients may change from time to time. It's also worth noting that the information sheet lists menu items as sold by their components, and lists the individual ingredients separately at the end of each section. The allergy information in included with the components, not the menu item, so you need to check each one.
For example, the Angus Bacon & CheeseR Burger lists its components as Angus beef patty, Angus premium bun, cheese slice, bacon, etc, and this listing has no allergy information, instead the warning that the bun contains wheat is included at the end of the ingredient list for the bun component, which comes two pages later.