WETZEL: Advance preparation is key for gluten-free traveling
LIVING AGAINST THE GRAIN
Free Press Health Columnist
Summer means traveling, staying in hotels, visiting family and friends and eating out. What does that mean when you are living gluten-free? Do you throw caution to the wind and eat the things you shouldn’t? For those of us that have no choice but to eat gluten-free (or pay the consequences) this becomes a little more of an issue.
There are some things that you can do when traveling to stay gluten-free, but have fun as well! First, if you are traveling by airplane, it’s easy to throw in some “Kind” bars (make sure you don’t get the ones with chocolate on them) or Glutino’s breakfast bars. Both of these are great for eating on the run or if you want to avoid the airport restaurants.
You can also pack some crackers, like Nut Thins or Mary’s Gone Crackers. Both of these have many great varieties to choose from. Other great snacks for on the go could be nuts, dried fruit or trail mix.
Are you hitting the road? Taking items that are gluten-free may be easier and packing a cooler may be the way to go. This way you can take items for sandwiches to eat so you don’t have to try to find a fast food or sit-down restaurant that is gluten friendly. It’s also easier to eat healthier with packing a cooler as you can have your veggies and fruits handy for an on the go snack.
If you know your destination, I recommend calling ahead to find out if there is a restaurant nearby that has a gluten-free menu. This way, when you arrive at your destination you already know where is safe to eat. Also, if a long stay will be involved, it may help to ask if you can have a room with a mini fridge so you can stock it with foods that you know will be safe to eat. Some hotels may have small suites with kitchens so you can prepare your foods which can save you money from eating out so you can spend it on other fun things.
Some people are heading to a reunion or some other gathering this summer so call ahead to see what the menu will be for the event. It never hurts to talk to the person in charge (if there will be a caterer, give them a jingle) so you can see if a gluten-free menu is available.
All in all, eating gluten-free while on vacation may take a little extra prep work, but it will be worth it in the end!
Angela Wetzel has celiac disease and is president of Gluten Free Grand Valley, a support group for those with celiac disease and wheat allergies. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Gluten Free Grand Valley on Facebook.
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