Traveling is usually an exciting, adventure filled experience for most people. For those with gluten sensitivity or even worse, the more serious celiac disease, it can become a bit stressful depending on your mode of transportation and destination. When you travel it is a smart idea to plan ahead and bring gluten free goodies along for the journey. Car trips might be the most simple but be sure to bring a gluten free kit and not depend on the outside world. Random roadside restaurants and theme parks can prove challenging to provide safe eats. Planes and trains provide food but typically your options might be extremely limited or next to none. Recently, I've had the opportunity to travel a great deal for both personal and business. Here are some great ideas I created for Gluten Free travel. Whether you are traveling by foot, car, plane, boat or even camping these ideas should have you covered:
For breakfast our favorite plan was to take gluten free oats and toss them in a zip lock bag with coconut flakes, dried cranberries, a scoop of vanilla protein powder and cashews. Pack a baggie for each day of travel. All you need to do is find a coffee shop, request a cup, some hot water and you have an instant nourishing and easy gluten free breakfast to go. If you are in a hotel or plane of course that will make it even easier.
Another great baggie idea is to simply portion your favorite flavored protein powder or meal replacement into as many daily bags as needed. Bring along a shaker cup, grab some cold water and shake shake shake your way to gluten free energy. This is a great snack idea also and will keep your blood sugar levels stable to stave off any desire to grab the nearest airport Cinnabon.
If no time to plan ahead simply grab some avocados, throw them in a paper bag so that they will be ripe within a day and eat it with a spoon. Avocados are a perfect food with the protein of meat, vitamins and minerals of vegetables, necessary healthy fats and the soft flavor of nuts. No wonder it is touted as a six course meal growing on one tree.
Egg whites are safe to be non refrigerated for a bit. Pop out the yolks and fill the inside with hummus for a great combination of protein and healthy fat which will keep you satiated longer. For added fiber and some crunch pair with veggies like cucumber, celery, baby peppers, carrots and jicama which hold up great and will last for days. One of my favorite discovery's was eating baby asparagus raw. It is even better than cooked! Wrap some low sodium turkey around a few spears and maybe a slice of cheese, throw a bunch in a container and you have an easy airplane or anytime meal.
Another trick I tell my clients is to think grains! Fill baggies with quinoa or brown rice with a mixture of black beans, fresh parsley, dried cranberries, some nuts and you have another easy, safe and satiating meal be it hot or cold! If you have a sweet tooth figs or dates stuffed with nut butters hold up great and will hit the spot in a decadent way!
Finally, I am always sure to have some 70% dark chocolate bars on hand for suppressing those jet lagged, tired and hungry moments when you might otherwise reach for a donut. Note that all of the above have what I have termed "smelly consideration". Keep in mind what might have smells if not refrigerated. The pouches of water packed tuna and salmon for example are actually a great option for a protein source and easy to open. You would want to skip a can though to avoid tuna fumes wafting thru your car or cabin!
If none of the above appeal to your or you simply don't have any time to plan just know that a simple phone call might make your life easier. If you call your airline a few days in advance and request gluten free meals most will be able to accommodate. As well, hotels these days are also providing gluten free options pending you call ahead to request. One of our favorite resources is The Gluten Free Hotel Guide. Just put in your destination anywhere in the world and you will find a hotel to suit your needs. We discovered the gorgeous Holte Le- St. James in Montreal thanks to the guide. The hotel not only offered us Gluten Free bread but there was a bevy of Gluten Free snack options awaiting us in the room in case late night munchies attacked.
All of these gluten free ideas are quick and easy to prepare. All you really need are your hands or a plastic fork or spoon. So the next time you set out on an adventure try these simple ideas that are sure to keep you energized and feeling your best. At least you wont have any hungry and cranky travelers along the way. Happy Eating!
Jennifer Kamstock, MS is a licensed holistic nutritionist and speech language pathologist. She is the author of "The Everyday Detox", host of the TV show Fight It or Bite It and health/wellness host/spokesperson for livestrong and ehow. As a comedianne and actress she can currently be seen in the recurring role of investigative reporter Brittney Bowers on Disovery's Dark Secrets and the comedy Focus Groups. For requests or health inquiries contact [email protected].