The holidays are a wonderful time to eat, drink, and be merry, but they can be a stressful time for people with dietary restrictions.
With the holidays just right around the corner, many people will be traveling to visit family and friends.
One of the biggest causes of stress when traveling for the holidays is family pressure/coercion. Some family members will try to tell you that “a little won’t hurt you,” and some family members will not understand the serious nature of gluten sensitivity.
There’s also the concern of cross-contamination when going to unfamiliar restaurants.
With several factors to consider when planning a holiday trip, we put together a list of tips to ensure your holiday travels are happy and stress-free.
If traveling on the road:
Research restaurants along your route that offer organic, gluten-free, or paleo options. Or, you can make your own meals ahead of time that travel well, and take them along in Tupperware containers.
Pack a variety of non-perishable snacks such as fruits, nuts, prepackaged gluten-free snacks, etc.
If traveling by plane:
Book a gluten-free meal with the airline if applicable.
Always travel with non-perishable “back-up” food: bars, trail mix, chips, cereal, etc.
If staying in a hotel:
Book a room that is near a natural grocery store (Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, etc.) so that you can stock up on items you need if you are having trouble finding gluten-free accommodations.
Book a room with a kitchenette and/or request a room with a microwave and mini-fridge to prepare your own meals.
Plan your supplements:
Take enough prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications, vitamins, and supplements to last your trip so that you don’t need to search for a reliable pharmacist to check ingredients or try to read hidden gluten on a medication label.
When in doubt:
Avoid foods that have a high likelihood of cross-contamination (gluten-free pizza or pasta) or are prone to kitchen error. Stick to simple foods when necessary – cheese, fruit, vegetables, and nuts are naturally gluten-free foods that are widely available.
Although it’s impossible to be completely prepared for any new destination, researching your destination and planning ahead of time can make eating a lot easier.