Traveling is something many people love to do. That wanderlust is strong. When you have to follow a therapeutic diet, it makes traveling much less appealing. However, with the right tools you’ll be back on the road, or airplane, in no time.
I love to travel. I’ve traveled extensively around the Continental US. I’ve flown, driven, stayed in hotels, and stayed with friends or family. I’ve been to big cities and small towns. All have their unique challenges but I have 5 things that help make my trips easier. A little bit of planning will prevent major hangry breakdowns, eating things that will hurt you, and help you enjoy the places you’re visiting so much more. You’ll look forward to traveling again!
#1 Have copies of your “can” list printed and accessible
All my clients, in person or my via therapeutic diet meal plans, get a “Can Eat” list. Knowing what you can eat is so much more helpful than knowing what you can’t. When you know what you can eat, you can look at a menu and quickly pick out your options. Then once the waiter comes, you can ask about accommodations like if they have a dedicated gluten free fryer or if their beans have butter in them for example. This also allows others you are traveling with to help find food and restaurant options for you.
#2 Pack snacks/bars you can eat
Don’t be caught without backup food! I’ve done this way too many times and when I’ve gone too long without eating, it isn’t pretty. I’m a hot mess! Be sure to pack the snacks you know you can eat. A few of my favorites to pack are: freeze-dried fruit, seed crackers, bars, and jerky.
#3 Get a hotel room with a fridge and microwave
Seriously one of my musts for traveling. I have to have a way to store and prepare food I can eat. I understand that hotels that have this are a bit more expensive but it’ll be well worth actually enjoying your trip. No one wants to be bloated, gassy, stuck to the toilet, or in pain while on vacation. This is a must if you’re staying in a hotel, so plan accordingly!
#4 Buy food when you arrive
When I stayed in small-town Ohio, I knew there weren’t any restaurants that I could eat at so I made sure there was a health food store I could get to and buy the food I would need for my time there. I picked recipes that had ingredients that most stores would have like vegetables, proteins, and fruit then add in’s like microwave white rice and such. I didn’t have to stress about dining out because I could eat at the house we were staying at, then enjoy the company while out and about. This strategy also saves a ton of money. Eating out is expensive!
#5 Find the special diet-friendly restaurants before you go
That being said, I LOVE trying local cuisine. When I travel I want to be immersed in the culture. Southern Food is very different from Tex-Mex and Northern food is nothing like Southern food. There are some great apps you can download out there that help you find special diet-friendly restaurants. Most big cities have several options. You can call higher-end restaurants and talk to the chef to see if they are willing/able to accommodate your needs. Always call before going. I have learned to follow up after finding a promising place just to be sure the information is up to date and the place is still open.
Travel should be fun, not stressful. Making sure you can eat is a pretty important part. A little bit of planning goes a long way.