Gluten-free living is challenging and gluten-free travel is challenge squared! The cardinal rule for safe and healthy gluten-free travel is to plan ahead. Whether by foot, bike, car, boat, train or plane stay nourished all day long with healthy gluten-free foods and resources.
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Tips for Flying Gluten-Free
The confinement of air travel is the most challenging form of gluten-free travel. When traveling domestically it's easy to pack enough gluten-free foods to keep you nourished until you reach your destination but international travel requires more planning.
When making an international travel reservation talk to a customer service rep and request gluten-free meals for all legs of travel. If the airline does not offer gluten-free food options you will have to pack enough non-perishable gluten-free foods to stay nourished to your destination.
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Triumph Dining publishes The Essential Gluten-Free Grocery Guide and The Essential Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide - both reference guides are lifesavers when you're traveling. These guides are designed for use in the United States, so don't count on them for finding gluten-free fare while traveling internationally.
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AllergyEats is an excellent online resource designed to help people with one or multiple food allergies or intolerances find "allergy-friendly" restaurants. Visit the AllergyEats website, enter your location information or use the handy map search and find a restaurant where you can safely dine.
On the AllergyEats website also find their free mobile app for both iPhone and Android. Nice!
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The Sandwich - A Nutritious Gluten-Free Travel Food
Gluten-free sandwiches stuffed with gluten-free deli meats, cheeses, and vegetables or nut butter with jam are nutritious gluten-free travel foods, full of energy-sustaining nutrients to get you through a long travel day.
Avoid carrying sandwiches made with "salad-type" filling, (i.e.- tuna salad.) These can spoil quickly without refrigeration, putting you at risk for food-borne bacterial infection.
Tip: Carry empty zip-lock bags in a small insulated lunch bag. After going through airport security fill bags with ice to keep sandwich chilled and safe for several hours.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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Convenience Stores, Vending Machines and Fast Food - What's Gluten-Free?
Convenience stores sell fresh fruit, usually bananas, and apples, nuts, dried fruit and cheese sticks. Read labels carefully at convenience stores and you can find some healthy gluten-free options.
Vending machines are risky because you can't read labels! Some brands of potato chips, corn chips and candies are gluten-free but if you aren't 100% certain about a product - don't buy it!
Burger King and Hardee's have new gluten sensitive food menu options. Tip: Print a copy of the BK / Hardee's lists and carry with you. Show the person who's taking your order the list to be sure they understand the new gluten-sensitive menu options!
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Minimus.com is a website that sells travel-sized packets of gluten-free salad dressings, soy sauce, pancake syrup, nut butter blends, hummus, crackers, muesli, chocolate syrup, teas, and fruit bars. Nice!
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Eco-Planet Gluten-Free Organic Whole Grain Instant Hot Cereals
Delicious. Nutritious. And organic! Eco-Planet Gluten-Free Organic Whole Grain Instant Hot Cereals are the ultimate fast-and-easy gluten-free breakfast cereal and travel food.
Stash handy packets of this satisfying cereal in backpacks, lunchboxes, purse, briefcases, suitcases and your car and you'll always have a healthy gluten-free meal or snack when hunger pangs come calling! Add half a cup of hot water and microwave or wait 2 minutes and you get a nutritious, sustaining gluten-free breakfast or healthy snack.
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Why You Shouldn't "Cheat" on Your Gluten-Free Diet
People with Celiac disease, dermatitis herpetiformis (gluten intolerance which causes blister-like skin lesions) and non-Celiac gluten sensitivity may or may not experience almost immediate side-effects from exposure to gluten. A stomach ache, diarrhea, bloating and skin lesions can ruin a trip!
Worst of all, regular "cheating" puts you at higher risk for chronic damage to the microvilli which line the small intestine, nutritional deficiencies, malnutrition, osteoporosis, and cancer.
Plan ahead, avoid hunger pangs and travel well-nourished and gluten-free!