Traveling gluten-free can be a little intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. My son mostly travels with us, but has attended a couple of hockey tournaments out of town without us. He had to really keep track of his diet on his own.
When Jon was first diagnosed with celiac disease, the first thing I taught him about eating gluten-free was: “When in doubt, go without”. Basically meaning, if you can’t verify the food you want to order or eat is gluten-free, don’t eat it. What do you do then? I make sure that Jon always has food packed that is safe for him to eat. Even if it is a Snicker’s bar, which is not the most nutritious choice, but it is gluten-free & can hold him over until he can get something safe.
Some of my go-to travel gluten-free food choices are:
- Think Thin Bars –higher in protein & a good choice to hold you over
- Carnation Instant Breakfast – all you need is a glass of milk (avoid the Chocolate Malt Flavor as it is not gluten-free)
- Gluten-free cereal
- Glutenfreeda Instant Oatmeal
- Lara Bars
- Pure Bars
- Udi’s bread – doesn’t have to be refrigerated
- Peanut Butter
- Jelly (you can get smaller packets here)
- Fresh fruit
- Gluten-free crackers
Most hotels will put a small refrigerator in the hotel room if asked. I like to arrange this ahead of time so that there is one available. This way any food that needs to be kept cold, can be. I try to pack things that don’t need to be kept cold, but that isn’t always possible.
I always try to contact any restaurants that are new to us before traveling. If there aren’t any tried & true chains or recommended places close by, I like to talk to the manager myself to see if it would be possible for Jon to dine there safely. If that isn’t possible due to last minute decisions, Jon has done well with the Triumph Dining Cards. His last resort, which he used last year, is to call me and have me talk to the server or manager over the cell phone. Don’t you just love technology? Most often, the people he travels with will ask where he can eat to make things easier. Jon’s biggest hurdle has been speaking up. He doesn’t like to cause a scene or be different.
So, with a little effort, traveling and sticking to the gluten-free diet can be done without too much stress. I try to focus more on the purpose of the trip & not the food so much. If all of the food groups are not met & a bunch of junk is consumed – so be it. It is only for a short period of time & he can make up for the junk & resume eating a healthier gluten-free diet when he gets home.