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Staying Gluten Free While Traveling

gluten free fig bar

The biggest challenge to life on the road is maintaining a healthy diet. With travel almost always comes a lack of time, knowledge, and means to find/prepare healthy food options. On top of that, as a gluten-free athlete, finding healthy and balanced options without wheat can be even trickier. Below are three of the top tips and tricks I've learned over the years to stay fueled and healthy while living out of cars, airplanes, and hotel rooms. Please keep in mind these tips are only for those who avoid gluten for personal preference, not for those with Celiacs.

Look for green.

No matter where you are, you can almost always find something green to eat, and by that I mean something that actually grew in the earth. This color should become your best friend when you're spending long periods of time on the road, because it typically represents the best GF food choice as well as the one that has undergone the least amount of processing. Gas stations, hotel food courts, many fast food restaurants, etc. all have something green to eat - whether it be a small salad or veggie platter. On top of that, you will find that wherever the green choices are, there are typically other healthy/gluten free options nearby like trail mix, greek yogurt/granola, etc.

Plan your grains ahead of time.

Convenience stores, gas stations, and travel food courts are no place for gluten-free endurance athletes. While you can almost always find some kind of healthy option in all of these places (think green), you can count on the only available carb being wheat of some sort. While carb-free diets may be the choice of some, for endurance athletes like myself, just living off veggies isn't an option. So before any big trip, I always make sure to pack some gluten-free carb options of my own to supplement any meal. These options include oats, cereal, gluten free bread, and brown rice (in microwavable packets). A bowl of oatmeal or a hot plate of brown rice is a great addition to any gas station salad.

Be flexible and understand moderation.

The hard truth about travel is sometimes you have to chose between the lesser of two evils. If you know you are fine with small amounts of gluten, sometimes grabbing a whole wheat sandwich at a deli or something similar is a better option than not eating at all or going an entire day just snacking on trail mix. You have to pick and choose your battles while you're on the road, and sometimes bending your dietary rules, within reason, is the best choice.

Bonus tip!

Always leave a few of your favorite Gluten Free fig bars in your suitcase. I don't go anywhere without a sleeve of the Gluten Free Blueberry bars in my bag, and they have saved me more times than I can count.


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