If you’re gluten-free then you know how stressful traveling can be. On a recent trip to Yellowstone with my husband’s family, I found myself with few options as we picked up a picnic lunch at a small grocery store. My lunch was a bag of chips and piece of fruit. Luckily the chips were a healthier version of chips by Way Better, which are gluten-free, non-GMO and contain sprouted seeds, grains and veggies (delicious!). Yet it was annoying to be surrounded by nothing but processed and gluten-filled food options in a place filled with lots and lots of food!
Maintaining a gluten-free diet is much easier in the comfort of your home. From airports to highway exits to family’s homes, it’s always a guess what gluten-free food options will be available when we’re away from our own kitchens.
So, as you embark on your spring break travels, here are some simple tips for keeping your vacation gluten-free:
- Eat before you go to the airport. Make sure to fill up on a healthy, gluten-free meal prior to arriving at the airport so that you’re not left with less than ideal options like fast-food. The airport is full of bad-for-you food and cross-contact can be a huge concern even for foods that are naturally gluten-free. Bring some healthy GF snacks in your carry on bag to tide you over during the flight.
- Make the grocery store your first vacation destination. Before you leave home, go online to locate a grocery store close to your hotel. (I always google Whole Foods, which is packed with GF foods!) Once you arrive, stop by the store to pick up your favorite GF snacks for the week – nuts, fruit, and even your favorite healthy ingredients for GF cocktails (fresh juices, GF vodka and beer, etc.)
- Check out glutenfreetravelsite.com. This site allows you to search for GF food spots and hotels by city or zip code, plus you can read travelers’ reviews of these places. They also have apps you can download for both iPhone or Android devices.
- Call restaurants ahead of time. It’s never safe to assume that a restaurant is equipped to serve a gluten-free meal. Even if its menu has gluten-free options, call ahead and ask if they can safely handle preparing a meal for a gluten-free customer. If you don’t feel confident, make a reservation elsewhere.
- Chat with locals! Seek out a food spot – like a juice bar or Whole Foods – where you know folks who know gluten-free will be hanging out. Chat it up with employees and customers. Ask for restaraunt recommendations for spots where the servers and kitchen staff are equipped (and can be trusted) to prepare a gluten-free dish.