If you are gluten sensitive or have Celiac Disease then you know how difficult it is to manage your condition under normal circumstances. Add to that a schedule that includes travel and things can get out of hand. No matter how you travel or where you go follow these tips to eat gluten-free on the road.
* Use a travel agent to plan your gluten-free trip. There are many options including guided travel with guides who share your condition. Research all of your destinations in advance to find gluten-free restaurants.
* Ask your doctor to give you a letter explaining your diagnosis and dietary needs. If flying mark all your food as gluten-free by adding labels or writing on bags.
* Start by notifying your hotel, airline, cruise line or train company about your dietary needs. In addition to asking about gluten-free options ask how food is prepared so you can avoid cross-contamination.
* Pack your own non-perishable food. Make sure you have enough snacks like gluten-free trail mix, packages of tuna fish, dried fruit, cookies, chips and fresh fruit. Make sure you have enough of your own food to eat when you can’t eat gluten-free.
* Many airlines offer gluten-free options for meals that you can purchase. The standard airline code “GFML” is used to designate gluten-free meals. You must order these meals in advance and make sure that is what you receive while in the air.
* Take your gluten-free supplements and medication with you. Don’t pack them in your suitcase in case it takes a side trip without you! Keep them in your purse, briefcase or carry-on bag.
* Take a list of gluten-free food with you or download one of the many apps available for your cell phone or tablet. If you are traveling to a foreign country buy the list in the language of your destination.
* Research restaurants at your destination online first and then call to verify the information you found. Ask to speak to a manager when call. Double check everything with the staff when you arrive.
* If you must stay in a hotel or as a guest in someone’s home be sure keep in mind that you will not be able to use certain kitchen appliances like a toaster or toaster oven to avoid cross-contamination. If you do not have a mini fridge ask for one.
* Consider taking your own cooking utensils, knives, bowls and cutting board with you when you travel. If you fly the utensils and knives must be stowed away in your checked baggage.
* If you need more help getting ready to make your gluten-free travel work for you make an appointment with a Registered Dietitian who has experience working with this challenging diet.
With a few precautions and advance planning traveling around the world can still be fun, educational and safe for your entire family.
Gretchen Scalpi is a Registered Dietitian, author and Certified Wellcoach® who has celiac disease and know the challenges of eating right with this condition. Gretchen is pleased to announce her new online program “Gluten-free Bootcamp”, designed to help those who need to follow the gluten-free diet. If you are new to the gluten-free lifestyle for medical or health reasons, you’ll want to attend Gretchen’s new free webinar “Five Things You Should Know Before Going Gluten-free“