OK In Health - Gluten Free Goodness

Gluten Free Holiday Travelling - February 2017

By Cathy Lauer

At this time of year many people travel to be with family or friends for holidays, Spring break or Easter or they travel to get away from a long winter. Traveling at this time of year can also be fraught with delays that can put flights behind or cancel them altogether. What can you do to minimize the added stress of needing to eat gluten free when you are stuck while traveling?

Here are some suggestions that will make one part of your traveling a little less stressful.

Since most holiday trips are planned in advance, part of that planning needs to include meal planning. For those of us who have been doing this for a while, planning meals when you travel is second nature. Deciding what to eat becomes as important as where to go and how to get there. For those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance having a holiday from eating gluten free is not an option as it may be for those who “do gluten free”. Planning ahead at peak travel times when delays and cancellations are standard is even more essential. Let’s look at how to go about making a food plan for traveling.

Once you have decided how you are going to travel, to where and for how long, you have all the information you need to make your food equation. If you know that, when you arrive at your destination, you can safely eat every meal there you can take that time out of the equation. That leaves you with travel time only. If you plan to drive to your destination you will need to calculate the number of meals and snacks you need on the way to your destination and the trip back. If you like to eat out for meals be sure to check out restaurants and grocery stores along the way in advance so you can fit that into your itinerary. That way you won’t waste time looking for places to eat.

Major grocery stores can be just as good as a restaurant for eating out, and safer, if you know how to find the right foods. Many have a deli with a seating area so you will have somewhere to sit and eat. However, don’t order from the deli unless you can be assured that the food is gluten free and prepared safely. Instead go and buy a box of gluten free crackers and a container of hummus. If you want to have meat with your meal find some pre-packaged gluten free deli meat.

Then go and get a bag of ready to eat baby carrots, and some cherry tomatoes. Pick out a fruit for dessert and maybe even a gluten free chocolate bar. This makes a great lunch and may even leave you some leftovers to put in your cooler to have for a snack later. Some stores even have in-house sushi so if that is something you like ask at the sushi counter to ensure safe preparation.

If you are looking for a grocery store dinner it is usually safe to buy a roasted chicken. Be sure to check with the deli to ensure they are gluten free. Buy a premixed bag of salad and a bottle of salad dressing to go with it. If you want to be really clever bring along your own disposable dishes to eat your salad in. If you happen to be at a grocery store with the new soft bread by Glutino you could by a loaf of that and make chicken sandwiches. Use the grocery store as if it were your pantry and see what is available and decide from there. It is kind of like a walk through menu. With a little imagination you can create a satisfying and safe meal for yourself at a fraction of the cost of eating in a restaurant where you are not sure of their gluten free practices.

Travelling always makes you want to have snacks, whether you are driving or flying. Packing gluten free snacks in your carry-on luggage or in a cooler in your car is a great way to tackle this problem. I like to pack homemade cookies or muffins in small clear containers so they don’t get crushed. I know they will be good and they are nutritious and will keep me going even if the flight is long or delayed. I, and my daughter, have had no trouble with security at the airport as long a food is in see through containers. If you are not a baker then buy your favourites and place them in small clear containers. Snack size gluten free pretzels and chips are also available and may be more to your liking. Dried fruits are also a really great snack to pack along as well as gluten free cereal bars. These come in very handy when your flight is delayed or cancelled and you really need something to eat. 

My daughter has traveled internationally a number of times and has a great system. In her carry-on she keeps dried fruit, high protein snack bars and muffins or seed and nut packed cookies. These have kept her going many times until she was able to get a proper meal. In her checked baggage she has containers filled with muffins, high protein snack bars, pepperoni sticks and almond butter. When she arrives at her destination she goes to a nearby grocery store which she has located before leaving home. She always checks to ensure that the grocery store is easily accessible to the hotel she is staying at and that they carry some gluten free items. From the grocery store she buys fresh fruit and vegetable and sliced meats. She has checked ahead to be sure there is a fridge in her room so she has somewhere to store these items safely. Checking for restaurants within walking distance and that offer gluten free choices also happens ahead of the trip. If she chooses to go out for a meal she already knows exactly where to go. Planning the trip home is equally important so be sure you have a few snacks packed to take in your carry-on as the return trip at peak travel times can be equally challenging.

Most people are very successful at planning their destination and mode of transportation to get there. Being gluten free means adding one more step to your pre-planning process. The more often you do it the more second nature it will become. Writing an actual list of the meals you need helps to accurately plan the amount of snacks to bring and the number of gluten free meals you will need to find for yourself while you are on your trip. A little pre-planning is a great way of reducing the stress of eating gluten free while traveling. For restaurant and grocery store information got to www.theceliacscene.com




Cathy LauerCathy's Bio: Cathy Lauer has been cooking/baking gluten/dairy free for 17 years. She has written 3 all baking cookbooks and has a gluten free baking blog/store. In her spare time she loves to garden in a big way with fruit, vegetable and flower gardens. She is a classically trained singer and loves to read and collect recipe books. She homeschools her youngest son (11) and has 3 grown children and is grandmother of 2. Cathy's Gluten Free Creations Ltd. Gourmet Gluten Free Baking. Cookbooks and Baking Mixes. 250-758-5232 - Cathy Lauer Website - Email


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