If you follow a gluten-free diet, you may be curious about the options available at Panda Express.
In this guide, we’ll explore the concept of gluten and gluten sensitivity, discuss allergens and cross-contamination at Panda Express, and highlight some delicious dishes that you can enjoy while following a gluten-free lifestyle.
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Understanding Gluten and Gluten Sensitivity
If you follow a gluten-free diet, it’s important to have a clear understanding of gluten and its effects on your body. Gluten is a protein present in certain grains like wheat, barley, and rye, as well as their derivatives. For those with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, consuming gluten can lead to various symptoms, ranging from digestive issues to fatigue and even long-term damage to the small intestine.
When you have gluten sensitivity, your body reacts negatively to gluten, causing discomfort and other adverse effects. On the other hand, celiac disease is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the small intestine when gluten is ingested. Both conditions require strict avoidance of gluten-containing foods to maintain optimal health.
Allergens and Cross-Contamination at Panda Express
When it comes to dining at Panda Express, it’s essential to be aware of the allergens present in their dishes. Panda Express acknowledges the presence of major allergens, including wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, and shellfish, and in their ingredients.
While Panda Express strives to cater to dietary needs, it’s crucial to understand that their entrees are prepared using shared cooking equipment. That means there is always a possibility of gluten being present in any dish, even those not directly containing wheat.
So, if you have celiac disease or severe gluten sensitivity, there is always a risk that even gluten-free options could be contaminated.
Top 4 Gluten-Free Options on Panda Express Menu
It is essential to clarify that Panda Express does not offer specific gluten-free options due to the potential for cross-contamination. However, if you have a mild gluten sensitivity or prefer to reduce gluten in your diet without severe repercussions, you may consider the following dishes that do not contain soy but do contain wheat:
Sweetfire Chicken Breast: This dish features tender chicken breast stir-fried with red bell peppers, onions, and pineapples. Please be aware that it contains wheat and is not gluten-free.
Sweet & Sour Chicken Breast: Crispy chicken breast with a tangy sweet and sour sauce, served alongside red bell peppers and pineapples. Although it doesn’t contain soy, it includes wheat and is not suitable for those on a gluten-free diet.
Cream Cheese Rangoon (3 pcs): These delightful cream cheese-filled dumplings are deep-fried and contain wheat. While they don’t have soy, they are not gluten-free.
Tree Top Apple Crisps: If you’re seeking a gluten-free dessert option, the Tree Top Apple Crisps, consisting of crispy apple slices, could be a refreshing choice.
Given these options, it’s essential to understand that Panda Express does not guarantee a gluten-free environment and cannot eliminate the risk of cross-contamination.
Tips for Eating Gluten-Free at Panda Express
Here are some tips to help you make informed choices while enjoying a gluten-free meal at Panda Express:
Communicate your dietary needs: Inform the Panda Express staff about your gluten-free requirement to ensure they take extra precautions while preparing your meal.
Choose sauces wisely: While some sauces at Panda Express are gluten-free, always double-check with the staff to ensure the sauce you select is safe for you.
Be cautious of cross-contamination: Keep in mind that shared cooking equipment increases the risk of cross-contamination. If you have celiac disease or severe gluten sensitivity, consider avoiding Panda Express or consult with your healthcare provider.
While Panda Express strives to accommodate various dietary needs, they do not offer specific gluten-free options. Furthermore, given the potential for cross-contamination, they cannot guarantee providing gluten-free meals. That is why it’s best to explore alternative dining options if you have celiac disease or severe gluten sensitivity.