If you have celiac disease or are otherwise unable to eat foods containing gluten, you’re well aware of how difficult it can sometimes be to maintain a gluten free kitchen. But what happens when you aren’t home? How do you maintain your gluten free diet day in and day out when you’re at the office or eating out with friends? What if you go on vacation and don’t have your kitchen at your disposal for coming up with your own delicious gluten free meals?
Well, there is good news! You can still lead an active social life, go to work and take vacations. You don’t have to worry about gluten getting in your way; it just takes a little preparation and planning. When you know you aren’t going to be home, arm yourself with gluten-free snacks and information, and you can make it through any situation.
The first thing you should do is make a list of restaurants in the area you will be visiting that provide gluten free options. It’s as simple as doing an internet search for gluten free restaurants in that town. With gluten intolerance on the rise, more and more restaurants are including gluten-free options on their menus. Keep a list of several favorites handy so that you can make recommendations to friends or co-workers who want to go out for a bite after work. Of course, once you have your list, you should call and check with the restaurant, especially if it’s part of a chain. You should always confirm that what’s on their website is what they’re still currently serving.
This is a great way to find places to eat while you’re traveling, too. Many of the larger regional and national restaurant chains offer gluten free options on their menus. And it’s not just the sit-down restaurants – even some of the fast food and take out joints are making it easier than ever for you to enjoy eating out without having to worry about gluten. Even places like Boston Market, Wendy’s, and McDonald’s are all making an effort to add gluten-free choices to their offerings. However, you should always check ingredient lists and not take the word of employees who may not have the proper information. Although these fast food restaurants may offer these options, it is not ideal to eat at these restaurants for overall good health. But, if you are in a pinch and need to find food fast, at least it is an option!
A smarter idea for those times when you don’t know when you’ll be able to get to eat, it’s best to bring along something safe to snack on. There are several companies that make gluten-free snacks that you can keep in your purse or glove box. If you’re kept late at the office, you won’t have to worry about going hungry while the rest of your team gets snacks from the vending machine. Have your healthy, gluten-free snack with you so that you are ready for any circumstance.
Basically, it all comes down to preparation. You know how important it is to avoid gluten in your diet, and no one is going to do it for you. It’s up to you to find ways to manage. Keep your list of restaurants handy and you’ll always be able to make a recommendation when you’re heading out for a night on the town with friends. Keep a couple of snacks with you to tide you over in unexpected situations. And relax, knowing that you’re taking control of your own life and making the right decisions for your own health.