(photo by Katrina Roberto)
If you’re new to a gluten-free diet or avoid dining out because of a gluten allergy, summer travel can be a scary thought. After cutting gluten from my diet, I was dreading my upcoming trip to Las Vegas. Thinking it would be impossible to stick to my healthy routine, I lost sleep thinking of how awful I would feel after eating out for 72 hours straight. After squashing my anxiety, I learned that with some serious preparation, one can enjoy a gluten-free holiday. Below are a couple of tips for your gluten-free summer vacation.
Plan, plan, plan!
If you consistently eat gluten-free, this tip is a no brainer.
1. If you know where you will be staying you can research some great restaurant choices prior to arriving. Major cities will often have top 10 lists informing you of great gluten-free restaurants.
2. Before your departure, make sure to book a hotel room with a fridge if possible. That way you can stock up on essentials. I like to get olives, hummus or guacamole.
3. Hit the grocery store immediately after landing! By doing this you are not chained to eating out for every single snack. (If you are staying in a more remote region, you can often find a few little bites at a variety store i.e. dried fruit, nuts, or yogurt)
Pack lots of snacks!
The flight is probably your least favourite part of the journey, but don’t worry, you won’t starve! If you have a favourite gluten-free dry snack, don’t be afraid be to pack a bountiful amount. You can pack dry food in both your checked baggage and carry-on as long as they fall within total weight restrictions. Also, after you clear security, anything you purchase at the airport can be brought on the plane. There isn’t too much variety at every airport but depending on the city, you may be able to find: sushi, vegetable soup or a fresh salad.
Stick to the basics
When you arrive, eat lots of fresh fruit, veggies, fish and lean meat. Try to avoid food deemed gluten-free at a restaurant. Although a menu may state a dish is a gluten-free meal, there is no guarantee it is. I speak from experience when I say I just about died after eating PF Chang’s gluten-free lemon chicken. I was terribly ill for the next 12 hours.
Be especially weary of battered items that use a gluten alternative because there is still a risk for cross-contamination. This is a serious issue for those suffering from Celiac disease. Luckily, there is a gluten test kit that allows you to detect the presence of gluten in foods. You can use your kit to test a sample or finished product at a restaurant. The kit is very portable making it easy to travel with!
Just to put your mind at ease—if you haven’t traveled in a long time, you will notice that more and more airlines are making an effort to address the needs of the gluten-free individual. So sit back, relax and enjoy your holiday!
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Tags: gluten free katrina roberto