It’s not always easy to eat gluten free when you are traveling, especially if you are going to a different country that isn’t as familiar with the term “gluten free” or doesn’t have a gluten free menu like we do in the states. While this can be a little tough, it should no way stop you from enjoying your trip and indulging in some of the local dishes and food culture.
Over the past few years of eating gluten free, I’ve visited three different countries: Netherlands (Amsterdam), Ireland (Dublin and Galway), and Iceland (Reykjavik). I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect many restaurants in Amsterdam or Dublin to have gluten free options, but oh was I wrong. Almost every restaurant we went to – even those out in the smallest towns in Ireland – had gluten free bread. And most cafes in Amsterdam have gluten free bagels and the servers at the restaurants we very helped make recommendations on what was gluten free on the menu.
I wish I could say the same for Iceland. It wasn’t that the food wasn’t good – oh no, the food I could eat was amazing, but there weren’t as many gluten free options on the menu. In this case, I had to ask a lot of questions, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do!
If you are traveling outside the country soon, consider some of my gluten free travel tips:
- Ask about preparation: The fish is Iceland is some of the freshest fish you will find anywhere in the world. Most of the small towns live off the fishing industry, so they definitely know what they are doing. Most menus had fish on it labeled “fried” or “baked” in front of it. When you see the word fried, the first thing that comes to mind is “battered,” “bread crumbs,” or “deep fried in a frier.” By asking about preparation, I learned that most of the time, the word fried just means heavily sautéed in olive oil in a sauté pan – without batter. Don’t be afraid to ask your sever what the preparation is, you might be surprised what you can eat.
- Bring bars with you: Just like you would do traveling in the states, always make sure you have plenty of power bars with you. My favorite finds lately are Larabars – those things are just so darn delicious. These bars are great backups for those times when you are on a long bus ride or climbing a glacier – I actually did this by the way – and need a boost.
- Do research beforehand: You won’t be prepared 100% before you head out on a trip, but it’s smart to do some research into the type of food that is served where you are traveling.
- Become friends with the locals: The best compliment you can receive is when you get mistaken for a local – no lie, this happened to my sister and I in Iceland, and to my sister in Amsterdam! Anyways, always talk to the locals on where they like to eat. Maybe they know someone who eats gluten free or maybe they are gluten free themselves and can make recommendations for you. The best food is served where no one is speaking English as a first language.
- Find your safe stop: If you are staying in one place for a few days, you want to find one place that you know you’ll be able to get a safe gluten free meal. Of course you want to be adventurous and try other places – and you should! – but, it’s nice to know that you have one stop that you can guarantee a great, safe meal from. For me, this was Eldor in Iceland. They sold gluten free crepes – most places don’t even sell GF crepes in the US. Lets just say I have nutella, strawberry and whipped cream GF crepes two nights in a row.
What are some other favorite gluten free travel tips?