Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Traveling Gluten Free

It's no small secret that I love to travel. In the last year, I've been lucky enough to travel to quite a few places, including my most recent trips to Austin and now Chicago.

Over the past year, I have altered my travel mentality when it comes to food. In the past, if I was taking a short trip, I did not worry too much about finding options for food wherever I was heading. There wasn't a specific incident that inspired my change in habits. I just realized that I know what food my body reacts to best and that I would rather not risk finding food that isn't gluten free, healthy, or chemical-laden.

For the week, I have packed a bag full of goodies that I'm sure will be gone by the end of the weekend! I packed a few fruit strips, cereal mixed with raisins and sliced almonds, dried seaweed snack pack, Larabar, muffins, and nut butter packets. It might seem like a lot to carry but I'm going to be gone for 5 days. It is worth it to have things on-hand throughout a conference because my options for food will be limited and I want to make sure to have healthy snacks on hand!

Here are a few tips for traveling with allergies:
  • Be prepared! Pack a variety of foods that travel well and can be eaten at any time of day. Fruit strips, bars like Larabars, dried fruits and nuts, cereal or granola, nut butter packets, crackers, etc. could all be eaten for a meal or snack. It's better than getting stuck empty-handed!
  • Take advantage of a grocery store. My friend and I had about 30 minutes to run to Whole Foods for breakfast on my recent Austin trip. When hot bar options were slim, I wandered about the store, a little worried I wouldn't find something filling, cheap, and no (or little) - cook. In the freezer case I found this frozen hot cereal which I was able to top with toppings I had packed. It was a great discovery!  You can also get yogurt, fruits, and any other foods much cheaper than at a restaurant or convenience store... and you know what you're getting! 

  • Let your host know of your food allergies! The bride remembered my food allergies and had alerted her wedding planner of the guests who had dietary restrictions (allergies, vegetarian, etc.). They approached me at the rehearsal dinner and reception to discuss what I could have or to create a meal that was safe for me to eat. When I registered for our convention, I made sure to note my food allergies (and they are usually really good at accommodating me at meals).
  • Scout out restaurants and menus before you go. I do this all the time. An increasing number of restaurants are offering gluten free menus which makes choosing a place to eat easier. If there is not a special menu available, you'll be able to tell if there's something to modify that fits your needs. In fact, I already have reservations for places in Chicago! I'm super excited!
  • Do the best you can. If there are only a few options available to you, do the best you can to piece together a meal. At the airport coming back from the wedding, I concocted a savory breakfast of grits, black beans, and salsa that was very affordable. It was better than getting greasy potatoes sitting near biscuits or pre-mixed yogurt parfaits that risk contamination. Don't be afraid to eat foods that you might otherwise eat at a different time (salad, beans, etc. for breakfast, cereal for dinner, etc.)

What are some of your favorite travel tips?

1 comment:

  1. This is really handy! Im traveling in December for a week and I always worry about keeping on track with healthy clean eating. These tips are very helpful!