This week’s Gluten-Free Menu Swap theme is about Eating Gluten-Free on Summer Vacation. That could mean a lot of different things depending on what you are doing for your summer vacation. For our family vacation, we’ll be doing a little camping, some grilling, some light cooking, and some eating out. So, all of this month’s themes will be helpful in planning for our vacation: Road Trips, Grilling, Picnics, and Camping.
The only category missing is eating out. Eating in any restaurant that isn’t exclusively gluten-free, means you are at risk of consuming gluten due to cross-contamination in the kitchen and service areas. It is best to let the manager, host, and/or wait staff know about your diet concerns before ordering or eating any menu items. Eating out is easier when you are eating at familiar restaurants, national chains, or local restaurants you visit frequently. You know the food, and you know the management and staff will take care of your dietary restrictions.
Do a little planning and research before your vacation. Thanks to some great online resources, it won’t take too much time. And should your plans change along the way, you can even do some research on your smart phone or tablet with some great apps.
- GlutenFreeTravelSite.com – A comprehensive site with a database of user-submitted gluten-free dining and travel reviews from all over the world. You can search the reviews of restaurants, stores, hotels/resorts, and college campuses by state or country — or even narrow your search down to the city or zip code level — and map the results. The mobile version also makes it easy to check your dining options with your smart phone while on the go. Check out their additional resources for more guidance for your vacation planning.
- Find Me Gluten Free – A website and FREE iPhone and Android apps that help you find gluten-free friendly businesses. Share photos, ratings and reviews with other gluten free diners.
- Gluten-Free Registry – “Free, searchable database of over 14,100+ gluten-free friendly business locations to find one near you or your travel destination. Also available to search on your mobile phone, mapped on your iPhone or GPS, and as a full color print magazine.”
- Triumph Dining – A printed guidebook of thousands of restaurants in the US that provide gluten-free options. They also have dining cards available to help you communicate with restaurant staff.
- Check out CeliacFamily’s own Eating Out page of restaurants where I’ve eaten and/or researched their gluten-free menus.
Still can’t find a safe place to eat? If, when asking questions about the menu items, you don’t feel confident that the restaurant staff understands your needs (or even what gluten is!), then it’s best to find a better place. It may be a little more difficult while traveling, but no one wants to get sick — especially when you’re away from home.
- Try asking for plain foods with no seasoning. A grilled steak or hamburger patty with a tossed salad (no croutons, lemon juice instead of dressing), perhaps?
- Go to the grocery store. Fresh fruits and vegetables are always quick to find at any local grocery store.
- Try supercenters, found all over the states: SuperTarget and Walmart Supercenters both carry many gluten-free packaged products. Together, with some fresh fruits and vegetables, you can make a quick but filling lunch and stock up on some snacks for the rest of your trip.
- Whole Foods, anyone? We’ve been known to stop at Whole Foods for breakfast. Pick up some frozen gluten-free doughnuts or muffins, a fruit salad, and some juice. Heat up the doughnuts in the microwave, and eat in their cafe while checking your email and planning the rest of your trip.
Celiac Family’s Menu This Week:
Tuesday – Pork Chops, Red Potato and Green Bean Salad, Watermelon
Wednesday – Chicken Taquitos, Cilantro Rice, Guacamole
Fourth of July – Grilled Hamburgers, Corn on the Cob, Fruit Pizza Dessert
Sunday – Eating Out
Gluten Free Menu Swap Roundup
The Gluten Free Week: Gluten-Free
Lori says her family eats out a lot on vacation. She recommends starting your search for a restaurant with the simple question “Do you have a gluten-free menu?” Lori is right, there are now a lot of restaurants that have either their menu marked with gluten-free items, a separate gluten-free menu, or have a gluten-free guide to their menu. I like knowing that someone took the time to research ingredients and share it with its customers. Lori also says she has had good luck with Mexican, Indian, and Greek restaurants. I’d like to note that before eating the tortilla chips, you might want to make sure they weren’t fried in the same oil as flour tortillas. For her menu this week, she is planning Chicken Pot Pie, Chicken Mango Salad, Turkey Burgers, Baked Salmon, Swimming Angel Chicken, and Tacos. Check out her full menu this week for all the recipe links, and more tips about eating out gluten free.
Check back later to see who else may be sharing their gluten-free menus with us this week.
Want to join Gluten-Free Menu Swap?
- For this week’s roundup, email your menu link to celiacfamily[AT]gmail[DOT]com. Or, simply put your menu link in the comments below.
- Join us again next week at CeliacFamily for sharing gluten-free menus and meals with Peaches.
- The Gluten-Free Menu Swap Page has the current schedule of themes and hosts. If you’d like to host a future week, please send me an email (celiacfamily[AT]gmail[DOT]com) with your preferred date and theme.
Need more menu ideas?
- Laura at OrgJunkie.com hosts Menu Plan Monday every week. You’ll find links to hundreds of meal plans (not necessarily gluten-free) there.
- Or, check out some of my past menu plans.