For those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance who find themselves traveling for both work and play, there can often be issues while trying to maintain a gluten-free lifestyle on the road. May is Celiac Awareness Month, so it's a perfect time to strategize on how best to stay gluten-free without being completely starving or unsatisfied. Armed with the right tools, traveling for those who are gluten-free can surely be made easy.
Below are a few tips to follow when traveling gluten-free to keep you happy and healthy.
While traveling, particularly in airports, it’s best to carry small, manageable gluten-free bars as they are small, easy to pack, and can be a meal substitute in a pinch, with a side of fruit. Jules Shepard, of Jules Gluten Free, is a fan of the KIND snacks: "I particularly prefer bars that aren’t dipped in chocolate, since I never know how hot or melty they may become," she says. "KIND Snacks Nut Delight is my absolute favorite for that reason." Other great gluten-free bars to pack are Lara and Lara Power Bars.
Other homemade snack items can include fresh blueberries with a handful of raw almonds; dried cherries and hard salami slices; a few good pieces of Swiss cheese wrapped in deli turkey slices; or cashew butter on celery with Craisins. For more gluten-free recipes, check out our recipe guide.
"You can make your own trail mix from gluten-free cereal, granolas, pretzels, nuts, seeds, and raisins or dried cranberries," says Shepard. "Lastly, I always bring along some certified gluten-free instant oatmeal."
Become a research geek and look up restaurants in the area you’ll be in and make reservations for those that can cater to those with a gluten-free diet. Reservations can’t ever hurt, and they can always be canceled. Also, where it may be applicable, see if a restaurant will cook your own gluten-free pasta if you supply it. Not to mention, gluten-free pasta is also easy to pack away in your suitcase.
In terms of research, there are an increasing number of gluten-free resources such as websites and apps that can be helpful when dining out, particularly, GlutenFreeTravelSite.com. "If I’m winging it, I [also] use Find Me Gluten Free, or I go for any decent Asian restaurant I can find! Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, and even Indian are the easiest for me to find good meals without gluten," notes Shepard.
If you’re going somewhere where you don’t speak the language, it’s good to carry translation cards with you so you can hand them to your server when you sit down to dinner. You eliminate the guessing game and the language barrier immediately. Check out Celiebo for dining cards or Celiac Travel.