If you follow a gluten-free diet, you have probably encountered the challenge of finding something to eat when not at home. Restaurants, cafes, bakeries, coffee shops, diners, and cafeterias all vary when it comes to gluten-free food. Eating out can be an area of concern for many with severe dietary restrictions.
Many do not understand the severity of Celiac disease. Gluten-free menus may be available in some places, but not everywhere. A large number of gluten-free eaters choose to cook their own meals at home. It’s one of the safest ways to ensure they know exactly what is going into their food.
This type of practice can also be taken on the road. When traveling, book a place with a kitchen available to you. It’s an excellent way to not only cook your own food safely, but you’ll save money in the process! Gluten-free products can be found in supermarkets around the world, and grocery stores, markets, corner stores, and even malls have food available you can buy.
Here are five meals you can prepare when traveling, whether you are staying in a hostel, guesthouse, AirBnB, homestay, or any lodging with a kitchen.
Some kitchens around the globe may have just a cooktop and not an oven. Each of these meals has options for both in case one is not available. Most kitchens will provide or leave basic seasonings, such as cooking oil, salt, pepper, sugar, or other items. Double-check what’s available in your lodging space before you head to the market so you don’t buy extra.
1. Protein and Vegetables
Pick a protein that’s fresh, safe, and available where you are staying. Ideas include chicken breast, sausages, turkey, tofu, tempeh, or even chickpeas. To go with the protein, choose vegetables that will be easy and quick to cook. The softer the flesh, the quicker they will cook. Try peppers, eggplant, zucchini, onions, yellow squash, tomatoes, or beans. If you don’t mind cooking them longer, carrots, potatoes, and other firm vegetables work too.
Dice everything up into even size chunks. In a large frying pan over medium heat, (or two, if they are small), pour in cooking oil and cook protein & vegetables together until cooked through, or tender. Season with salt & pepper or other herbs and spices of choice.
You can also cook this in the oven if there is an oven available to you.
Tacos are always an easy option and are very customizable. If you can’t find taco shells or tortillas, you can opt for having rice bowls, or make a taco salad.
Choose a protein base that you prefer, such as ground beef, turkey, fish, or a vegetarian alternative, like chickpeas. Sauté in a frying pan over medium heat with seasonings until tender and cooked through. You can purchase spices at the supermarket or use what’s available in your lodging.
If you would rather make taco bowls with a rice base, you can find available in most markets. You can cook this on the stovetop in a large pot with a lid. In some larger supermarkets, you can also find instant rice or individual pre-cooked rice that just requires reheat in the microwave.
Toppings for tacos vary and have a lot of flexibility. You can sauté additional vegetables on the stovetop such as peppers and onions, or opt for simpler choices, such as lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, hot sauce, avocado, corn, sour cream, or chiles.
One of the most common foods we have found all over the world is eggs! Eggs are extremely versatile and useful for either breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Eggs can be a quick meal in many forms, including scrambled eggs, fried eggs, or omelets. You can even cook a frittata or a Spanish tortilla if you have an oven available to you. Eggs provide a lot of protein and can be a useful side dish to keep you full until your next meal.
You can make scrambled eggs and serve them with toast, potatoes, avocado, or pancakes. A frittata or an omelet can be stuffed full with protein like ham or chicken, and vegetables like peppers, onions, and tomatoes, and cheeses of all kinds. A Spanish tortilla, stuffed with potatoes, can be had for a meal with gluten-free bread, ham, cheese, fresh fruit, or salad.
Eggs and Spanish tortillas can be cooked on the stovetop, while frittatas are finished in an oven.
Don’t feel like cooking? Have a picnic!
Whether you choose to have a picnic right at your lodging or out and about in town, a picnic is the perfect gluten-free meal that’s easy, cheap, and requires zero amount of work.
At your local market or grocery store, pick up the items you’re craving. Bread is great if you can find it, but not needed! (Most places in Europe sell Schar GF bread!) With assorted meats and cheeses, vegetables, hummus, spreads, salad, fresh fruits, chips, nuts, and a few drinks (maybe a bottle of wine if you feel it!), you’re all set for a fabulous meal!
The best part about having a picnic is that you will most likely have leftovers you can use for future meals during your travels. They also pack well and travel well for outings and activities.
Pasta is cheap, easy, and delicious!
Gluten-free pasta can be found all over the world. It’s quick to cook and with lots of shapes, tastes, and dishes. Choose a pasta you like and cook on the stovetop for a hearty meal.
You can buy jarred sauces in grocery stores, like tomato sauce, vodka sauce, or pesto. Opt to make your own and use oil and garlic with fresh herbs, salt, and pepper. Add in some sautéed vegetables like zucchini and peppers to make it more filling. Top with grated cheese, or even protein like chicken or ground beef as well.
Pasta is one of the best go-to meals anywhere in the world!
No matter where your travels take you, if you stay somewhere with a kitchen close by, you can cook your own meals and know they are safe for you to eat.
By: Jennifer Fitzpatrick