By: Kelli Pitrone, Registered Dietitian & Vivante Health Nutrition Team Manager
The holidays are an exciting time, but if you’re traveling to see loved ones, it could leave you wondering, How on earth am I going to stick to my gluten-free diet? No sweat. With just a little bit of planning ahead, you can be sure to avoid any digestive woes, freeing you up to enjoying this special time of year.
Here are some gluten-free travel ideas for this holiday season.
Car Travel: Planning ahead for car travel is pretty easy if you stick with things that are compact and can be purchased ahead of time. TIP: Pack enough so you’ll have a little snack for every 2 hours of driving. Ideas: fruit & nut bars, cheese sticks, yogurt, trail mix, peanut butter and jelly wrap or sandwich on gluten-free bread, or fresh fruit like clementines, apples, or bananas.
Plane Travel: Checking with your airline carrier to find out what types of snacks they offer on the flight is key. Most airline websites give at least some idea of what to expect and if there are any allergen-friendly options available. Remember, you can stop at one of the airport stores after check-in to stock up on gluten-free goodies (sooo pricey, I know, BUT if it makes for a symptom-free flight, it’s probably worth it). Ideas for what to pick up: Some of my personal faves are the veggie and cheese boxes, energy bars, nuts/seeds, and fruit. Maybe even treat yourself to a fruit and veggie smoothie while you’re waiting for your flight.
Water Travel: Did you know that on many cruises if you tell them you’re gluten free, they’ll let you see all the menus early so you can be prepared? They’ll give you a sneak peek so you can pick your foods accordingly ahead of time. What the what, right?! It’s true. Take advantage of this amazing perk, but don’t forget that on a cruise you’ll surely be in the mood for snacking from time to time. Pack your bag wisely. Tip: Take foods with you that don’t need to be refrigerated, like bars, cereals, and trail mixes.
International Travel: It might surprise you, but many other countries do gluten free better than the U.S. Before international travel brush up on some of the local lingo so you’re prepared when ordering at restaurants or cafés. Know how to ask if there are any gluten-free options, and familiarize yourself with what that country’s specific gluten-free icons are. (They vary around the globe.) This will help you feel confident and prepared, and less worried about symptom flares during your trip.
Staying with Family or Friends: This can be one of the best forms of travel because it usually entails having some type of a “nice-ish” grocery store within driving distance. Let your family and friends know about your dietary needs, and offer to contribute some dishes to all group meals. Let them know you don’t expect to be served gluten-free all day every day but that you would love to show them some of the mainstays of your diet. Be sure to make them delicious so everyone can see that gluten free can be just as good, if not better, than the regular version of the recipe.
To sum it up, don’t let dietary restriction get in the way of the most magical time of the year. With a little planning your holiday travels can be full of fun, excitement, and delicious food.
Still needing more ideas? With GIThrive from Vivante Health, dietitians are on hand for our members any time.
About Vivante Health
Vivante Health is an innovative digital healthcare company reinventing the way chronic conditions are managed. Our mission is to fill the unmet needs of people living with chronic conditions that are invisible, neglected, or stigmatized, starting with digestive disease. Our health management ecosystem, GIThrive, empowers people—through brilliant technology and advanced science—to spend less time worrying about their digestive condition and more time living life.