Summer Vacation on a Gluten-Free Diet
Jun 30, 2016 10:59PM
By Susan Fulton
On the best of days at home, eating a gluten-free diet can be a time-consuming challenge, but hitting the road for points unknown can turn a long anticipated vacation into a stressful nightmare. For the average family with no food issues, the biggest choice can be what toys and games to pack to keep the little ones occupied during travel times. Throw in the need to maintain a strict, gluten-free diet and the vacation-for-relaxation picture changes dramatically. It is every parent’s worst scenario to be out of town and end up in a strange emergency room with a sick child (or adult) who has accidentally been “glutened”.
But, take heart. With a little advance planning, some great resource guides and taking a proactive stance, vacation can go off without a hitch. Here are some tips for eating gluten-free (GF) on vacation, depending on the mode of travel.
If possible, eat a hearty and filling meal at home before leaving for the airport. Carry plenty of GF snacks to eat both while waiting for the flight and in-flight. Also be prepared with extra supplies in case a flight is delayed. Good choices are homemade nut butter sandwiches, fresh fruits, cut up veggies, granola and other GF snack bars and cold GF pizza. Because of restrictions on liquids after the security check point, don’t bring yogurt and similar products.
Check online before leaving to see which restaurants in the airport may offer GF selections. When dining in an airport restaurant, always ask to see the manager and explain dietary needs.
If able to cook at the destination, bring ingredients that may be hard to find upon arrival. Spread purchases between multiple suitcases in case one goes astray. Another option is to ship foods and snacks to the destination. Either order products online to be shipped or send a care package ahead of time, so food is available on arrival.
When journeying by car, options are greatly enhanced, since there are fewer space restrictions than on a plane. Use an ice chest to keep already cooked foods fresh. Plan to stay in motels or hotels where there will be a microwave and refrigerator. Breakfast can be eaten in the room and a lunch packed for the day’s outing. If staying in the home of others, let hosts know dietary requirements ahead of time and ask for some space in the refrigerator for GF foods.
For dining out, use all the usual precautions. There are now many phone apps that can be used, such as “Find Me Gluten-Free”, to help in locating GF-friendly dining options. Before leaving home, contact the Celiac Support Groups in the destination area for more advice. Don’t forget, many places have become very conversant with requirements for the celiac diet, including all Walt Disney World locations.
Last but not least, always try to eat something before everyone is cranky and overly hungry. This will keep stress to a minimum by not waiting until the last minute to find safe food, and the day will be much more enjoyable.
For more ideas and tips, visit Gourmet Girls Gluten Free Bakery/Bistro at 5845 N. Oracle Rd., in Tucson, or call 520-408-9000
or visit GourmetGirlsGlutenFree.com. See ad, page 18.