One of the biggest questions I had when I was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease was how do you travel? I traveled every month for work, and I was only allowed to stay in a hotel. I was managing at home, but eating out every meal seemed impossible. Because I was so sick, I was also on a pretty restrictive diet to heal my body.
Often people take their entire kitchen with them, but flying on a plane, that was not possible. For my first business trip, I decided on a strategy that is something I rely on today.
1. Research ahead of time.
(Read my blog on how I find safe restaurants) If I am traveling on business and that trip includes work functions, I ask the planner what they are planning for meals or which restaurants they have chosen. I can then look at the menus and decide if they are safe or if I need to make alternative plans.
2. Arrange for a refrigerator.
Hotels will provide you will a refrigerator in your room. I call ahead to plan, and I make sure to let them know that it is a medical necessity. I also ask if they have a microwave. Sometimes they will put one in your room or there is one in the lobby. If they don’t have a microwave, I pack my Hot Logic Mini Oven.
3. Prepare my food before my trip.
I always bring some food with me. If it a quick trip that may just be gluten-free snacks, but for longer trips I always bring food that I know will be safe and filling for me. I plan by making extra portions of gluten-free food to take with me in the weeks leading up to the trip. If I make soup, I freeze portions in baggies or my favorite Souper Cubes. Soup is one of my favorite travel meals because it has protein, vegetables and carbohydrates in one easy package. It can be reheated quickly and easily. I can always add some crackers, chips and fruit to it to make a more complete meal.
4. Pack my food.
The night before my trip, I pack my frozen blocks of soup, frozen breakfast burritos I have made in advance, and any frozen meals I may have made. I bag everything in freezer bags. I normally double bag the food and have it ready to add to my carryon or suitcase. I also carry a fork and spoon with me just in case.
As long as the liquids are 100% frozen, they are allowed through the TSA checkpoints in the airport. Please note that if you are traveling internationally, you must review the laws of that country regarding travel with food.
5. Make gluten-free for my travel day.
I always prepare gluten-free food for travel. I have a variety of foods I like for travel. I pack food in a glass container that I will use to cook my food during the week. I love a hearty salad that travels well. My favorite is this lime chicken bowl which it is peanut free so safe for the airplane. Just add the dressing to the bottom of the dish or add it right before security. I also love a chicken salad with chips or a yummy deli sandwich. If I pack a sandwich, my favorite breads to use are ones that will not fall apart during travel. Canyon Bakehouse Bagels or Schar Gluten-Free Sandwich Rolls are two of my favorites. Wrap your sandwich in paper towel or parchment paper and store inside your container or in a baggie. I also pack snacks. (Some of my favorite snacks on Walmart.com) Make sure you have protein, plus something salty and something sweet. That way you will not feel deprived. Don't forget paper towels or napkins.
This plan works if you are traveling for a day or a week. I will also buy snacks or groceries when I arrive at my destination, if necessary. Have a wonderful trip.