7 Tips For Maintaining a Gluten-Free Diet While Traveling

Keeping up a gluten-free diet while traveling can be challenging, but it’s no reason to cancel your trip. Joseph Murray, M.D., a gastroenterologist and Celiac disease expert at Mayo Clinic and Jacalyn See, a clinical dietitian at Mayo Clinic, recently discussed how it all comes down to planning ahead. Here are their tips for maintaining a gluten-free diet while traveling:

1.  Arm yourself with knowledge

Be well aware of the kinds of foods that tend to have gluten beforehand. These can include pasta, bread, fried foods, baked goods, and certain condiments. The more you know, the better able you are to keep your system free of gluten while traveling.

Read more about hidden sources of gluten

2.  Bring a pre-printed allergy card in the native language

Before you go, print up a card in the native language of the place you’re traveling to that has your allergy or sensitivity printed on it. This way a language barrier won’t keep you from letting the waiter or waitress know that you can’t have gluten.

3.  Call ahead

This is especially true if you’re traveling to places that are aware of a gluten-free diet. If you’re headed to Disney World, call ahead and let them know you’re gluten-free and will be on a special diet. You’ll be shocked at how common it is and how helpful hotels and restaurants can be. Ask your travel agent to let you know about airlines that have gluten-free offerings as well.

4.  Contact a support group in the area you’re traveling

Celiac disease support groups can let you know about all the restaurants and health food stores that cater to a gluten-free diet in the area where you’ll be traveling. This way you’ll have a gluten-free team on your side.

5.  Pack your own lunch

For day trips, it may just be easier to pack your own lunch. Sandwiches on gluten-free bread, fruit, yogurt, and trail mix are all easy to carry along and mean you won’t go hungry if you can’t find a decent gluten-free bite.

6.  Bring an extra suitcase

If you’re going for a long time, you might want to bring a suitcase full of snacks and gluten-free necessities. Bring raw food bars, nuts, seaweed snacks, rice chips, and whatever other gluten-free snacks you love just in case you can’t find enough to eat while traveling.

Read more about healthy eating tips for travelers

7.  Stay in hotels with kitchen facilities

Finding yummy gluten-free offerings each and every night may not be possible, or you just might get tired of eating out. That’s why when you travel for long periods of time, it’s imperative to find a place with a kitchen. This way at least a few nights a week, you can make healthy, gluten-free meals at home. It’s also much cheaper this way.

Photo Credit: Hail Merry Foods

By Sara Novak| July 10, 2014
Categories:  Eat

About the Author

Sara Novak

Sara Novak

Sara Novak specializes in health and food policy writing for Discovery Health. Her work has also been featured on TreeHugger, HowStuffWorks.com, TLC Cooking, and Animal Planet. After graduating from the Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia, Sara headed up the communication efforts for a national scholarship program in Washington, D.C. Sara has also handled copy writing and public relations for a global environmental consulting firm. She loves fiddling with healthful recipes, traveling, and exploring life atop her yoga mat. Today, Sara lives in Charleston with her husband and two lovable cocker spaniels, Madison and Bella.

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