Traveling is probably one of the most difficult things if you’re gluten free, especially if you’re trying to eat while on the road and can’t do much research ahead of time. This past week I ended up having to eat out quite a bit, and I wanted to share some of my best tips for eating out while traveling gluten free.
- Research, Research, Research – I cannot stress this one enough. Be prepared! If you’re staying in a hotel, get online before you leave and check out the area for restaurants that will work for you. The Find Me Gluten Free app is great for this – you can use it to find places around your physical location, or you can also input an address for searching around your destination. No smartphone? All the more reason to research ahead of time using their website!
- Pack Food – I always pack snacks for satiating my hunger when there are no GF options around. GoPicnic meals are great for a complete shelf-stable meal, especially if you can find them on sale (check Target). Other favorite packable snacks of mine are GF crackers with a Sargento cheese stick and deli meat, almonds, baby carrots and dip, and Envirokidz bars. For breakfasts, I like to pack Greek yogurt (add raw almonds for extra staying power) or baggies of GF oats and packets of nut butter if there’s microwave access.
- Stick to What You Know – I tend to stick to chains when I’m out on the road if I know I can eat there safely. Obviously every place is different, but at least you know the food is reasonably consistent across locations and you’re familiar with the menu already so you know exactly what to ask if needed. My favorites for sit-down restaurants are P.F. Changs and Outback Steakhouse, who both have great GF menus and usually reasonably well-trained staff. For fast food the options are more limited, but I’ve always done well at Chick Fil A (grilled chicken nuggets with waffle fries or fruit cup) and Wendy’s (baked potato with bacon and cheese).
It might not be the most adventurous way to eat, but at least I didn’t spend my moving weekend or first day at work sick! I plan to start trying to branch out and find good gluten-free places here in Vero Beach soon, but for now I’m staying safe (and frugal) by eating at home!