For most people, going away for some R&R is something to look forward to. Whether you’re jet setting to somewhere exotic, or just heading up north to a cottage for the long weekend, you’re likely counting down the days until your trip. These same feelings of excitement, unfortunately, may be coupled with fear and anxiety if you’re celiac and need a gluten-free way to travel. These concerns are a good thing, in the sense that it means you’re taking your diagnosis seriously. However, there’s a difference between being safe, and allowing your worries and concerns to ruin your trip and prevent you from having a good time.
To make sure your travel plans go smoothly this summer, we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to keep your summer getaway safe, healthy and gluten free!
This is essential. We all think we can make it through the three hour flight without any snacks… until there’s unexpected delays, your bag gets lost, and next thing you know, you’re stuck in an airport for much longer than anticipated. Without a gluten free option in sight!
Well, the same thing goes for road trips to the cottage. Traffic could be much worse than expected, extending your two hour drive to four. Nobody wants to be hangry while they’re stuck in traffic! So make sure you load up on gluten-free treats before you travel.
There are tons of options out there, but one that we like to recommend is MadeGood® Crispy Squares. These delicious gluten free treats will take you right back to your childhood, and are certified by The Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO). For those of you who aren’t familiar with the GFCO, they’re one of the top gluten free certification programs in the world. They don’t just inspect products for gluten, but the entire facility that they’re made in. The fact that these squares come in individual packages add an extra layer of safety and make them easy to travel with. They also have some great new flavours to try, like strawberry and caramel!
If you’re going to a cottage for the long weekend, and you know most meals will be cooked and made onsite in a potentially unfamiliar kitchen, make sure you come prepared. Especially if the cottage you’re visiting is not yours. Who knows what things have been in contact with gluten? Remember, your safety comes first, so don’t worry about what other people think when you show up with your own frying-pan!
Some additional things to consider packing for your weekend getaway are:
Yes, this is likely annoying, but what’s more annoying? Packing an extra bag with gluten safe cookware? Or spending your whole weekend indoors being sick? It’ll be worth it in the end, trust us! Also, many camping stores have travel friendly versions of the above mentioned products. So look around and see what your options are.
Make sure once you’ve arrived, you let everyone know where your gluten safe tools are being kept (before the frosty brews start flowing!) so they know to keep gluten-filled foods and drinks well away from them. Most people have heard of celiac disease and gluten- free diets by now, so they likely already know about your condition. Especially if you’re staying with family and close friends. Even if this is the case, a little reminder never hurt anyone. They don’t eat sleep and breathe the gluten-free life style like you do, so it may be easy for them to forget. Making sure everyone is on the same page is really the only safe gluten-free way to travel.
Here’s a tricky one. Once again, unless the place that you’re staying in is you and your families’ home away from home, there’s no way of knowing if the grill has been contaminated or not. It’s common practice for back yard BBQ chef’s to toast up their burger and hot dog buns right on the rack. So you can never be too careful when it comes time for a classic BBQ cook out.
HOWEVER, don’t think this means you need to fry your weenies up alone in the kitchen while everyone else BBQ’s theirs outside. You have options! One great way to keep your grillables safe is to wrap them in your own aluminum foil (which you brought if you followed our above list, of course).
Now, if you’re adamant about having that real BBQ grilled taste, you can invest in a small portable grill of your very own. You can find these at some pretty affordable prices at your local camping store. Even some supercenters keep them stocked seasonally. Bring it with you and set up well away from the gluten-grill, and you’re off to the races! Of course, don’t forget to use separate tongs and BBQ tools.
Sounds silly, but really… relax! If you take the time to plan ahead and come prepared with all your gluten free battle armor, there should be no need for you to stress the whole trip that you might get glutened. Follow your regular routines at the cottage just the same way you would at home, and you can lay back and enjoy the weekend with the gluten eaters and have peace of mind! Wipe down counters; avoid unfamiliar toasters; prepare your food in a clean safe separate space etc.
You deserve to have just as good of a time as the rest of your friends and family. With a little preparation an cooperation from your friends, you can have a safe, fun, relaxing weekend at the cottage too!