Eating Gluten-Free While Travelling: A bit of a dilemma

How do you manage to eat gluten-free while you’re travelling? How about when travelling in a different country?

Ready to Travel!Last week I was in Las Vegas for an internet marketing conference. I know, the US is so close it’s hard to think of it as a different country, but once you cross the border food can be very different.

So how do you deal with it? Travel usually means lots of eating out. And eating at places that you aren’t familiar with. And at unpredictable times, so if you need a snack you can’t just pop into the closest coffee shop and grab a muffin. So what do you do?

I read on someone else’s site once that the trick to eating out is to stick to meat-and-potatoes type meals. That’s great advice for dinner, but what about breakfast and lunch? Those meals become much more complicated, especially when they’re provided for you at an event.

So here’s how I handled it:

  • Snacks are your saviour.
    You will always be able to eat plain potato or corn chips, and Cheetos are gluten-free as well. And fortunately, they are easily found at convenience stores and hotel lobby shops.
  • Bring your own snacks.
    I brought two boxes of Glutino breakfast bars in my luggage. I don’t actually like them, but I know I can eat them if there’s nothing else available. Note: if you’re travelling to a different country, make sure you’re aware of any laws regarding bringing food across the border and comply with them.
  • Eat lots of protein.
    Yes, protein. It gives you long-lasting energy. So when your travelling companions stop for a donut mid-morning, you’re good to go until lunch.

There are a few things specific to conferences that make eating a bit more difficult. Like breakfast and lunch being provided for you. I skipped the breakfast every day; if I was awake (which was rare), I ate elsewhere and grabbed an omelette. Omelettes = protein.

Lunch was another matter. It’s always difficult when dealing with catered food; caterers make an attempt to accommodate alternate diets, but it’s not cost-effective to cover all of them. They generally just do a generic healthy/light/vegetarian option. The conference provided us with boxed lunches, containing a salad, sandwich or wrap, a bag of chips, a bag of cookies, an apple and a bottle of water. Obviously the sandwiches and wraps were out of the question for me, so I stuck to the salads. Day 1 was a yummy vegetarian Cobb salad. Day 2 was a chicken caeser salad (there was a vegetarian wrap option that day). Day 3 was a repeat of Day 1. I was able to trade my cookies with others for their chips. All in all, it wasn’t bad, although I found eating salads every day didn’t fill me up much. Good thing I had all those extra chips to snack on!

So I survived, but I was very glad to get home again, back to the stores I am familiar with and the meals I know I can prepare to be healthy, yummy, and gluten-free!


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