gluten-free in airports

When the airplane’s wheels left the land, I looked over to see Lu’s eyes wide. Danny and I both smiled. She has been on a lot of airplane trips, this kid, but not in awhile. This is the first time, it seems, she was able to take it in. Flying. We were actually flying in the air.

She didn’t say anything as we ascended. Higher, higher. The pressure built up in our ears but she didn’t cry. She looked out the window at the land receding behind us, the sky growing enormous. She watched, waiting. When we leveled off, starting our hours-long hum across the country, she looked at me and said, “Again!”

I still feel this way about flying, even after all these years. I love the anticipation, the time to read, the fact that I have to sit still while moving fast, and the destination in my mind. Flying I love.

Airports? Airports I hate.

It’s not just the fact that we’re herded with other exhausted and anxious travelers through lines, have to take off our shoes, endure the scolding looks of the TSA agent if we forgot to take the kids’ sunscreen out of our carry-on bag, or get patted down if we wear an underwire bra through the scanner and all the alarms go blatting. It’s not the fact that the gate where you will board your plane never seems to have enough seats for all the passengers so you always seem to be sitting on the floor with tired arms and bags spread around you. It’s not the fact that the air in airports smells like fatigue and too many farts in one place.

You know what I hate about airports? Generally, there is nothing for me to eat.

Danny, Lu, and I were in Washington D.C. last week for the Eat Write Retreat. I was honored to speak and meet with some of my favorite people in the world. (Carol Blymire, you are it.) Danny had never been to that city, so he was perpetually amazed. We visited Julia Childs’ kitchen at the Smithsonian, and as was to be expected, I cried. (Never, when I was a little kid watching Julia cut up chickens or introduce me to lobster, did I imagine I would be standing just outside her kitchen with my husband who is a chef and my cookbook editor. Never.) Lu rode her first merry-go-round and the joy on her face when the horse first started to move made me and Danny both break out in glee for our chance to know this kid. We walked and gawked and talked with friends and fell in love with that city, particularly when Bonnie and Tom drove us past all the gleaming monuments at night.

Plus, we ate well (and safely) in some of the better restaurants we have dined at in awhile: clean and deeply flavored Indian food at Rasika; steak and frites at Medium Rare; gluten-free flatbread pizza at Birch and Barley; and possibly one of the best meals our life together at Bibiana, an extraordinary modern Italian restaurant that should be receiving far more attention than it is. Wow. We ate with new and old friends, laughed, and lavished in food I knew was gluten-free. Also, we roasted sausages and marshmallows for s’mores with gluten-free graham crackers over the fire pit at Carol’s house. All night long I smelled of campfire smoke, roast pork, and dark chocolate. I could not have been happier.

Then it was time to leave.

We were sad to leave our friends and the fine frenzy of activity we had been living in for nearly a week. More than that, I dreaded the time at the airport.

Have you ever walked through an airport with an eye focused on the food you can eat? Sure, everyone knows airports have pretty lousy food, and overpriced at that. However, the next time you are in an airport, I challenge you to find something that is not in a sandwich, breaded, fried, or without any gluten at all. Most of the time, that means a salad with slightly rusty leaves and a tub of ranch dressing with 22 ingredients. Yogurt. Bananas. If you also try to find a meal that doesn’t contain xanthan gum or food dyes or artificial sweeteners — if you want real food — you’re pretty much left with that banana.

And it’s mushy and spotted, at that. But gosh, you’re grateful for that banana.

However, if your flight is delayed (because the airline forgot to check if the pilot was over his hours for the month until the plane had pulled away from the gate) and you are forced to spend hours in an airport, then a hotel that night, and then fly out the next day, with a four-hour layover in Atlanta when you live in Seattle? That banana is going to start looking kind of sad.

Being gluten-free in an airport really stinks.

Luckily, I’m fine. We had nearly a week of eating well and a couple of days of scrounging and going hungry (me, not Danny and Lu). For lack of any other choices, I had to take some chances: a cobb salad at an airport tavern (the waiter knew what gluten-free meant, but the chances for cross-contamination were rife); room service at the airport hotel (I grilled that poor kitchen guy over the phone to scare him into giving me something safe); snacks here and there. I came home feeling okay, but not great. I’m pretty sure I caught some cross-contamination somewhere.

I’m telling you this story not to complain but as part of a continuing series we are doing here in May. If you are new to gluten-free, how do you negotiate travel?

First of all, you have to admit this to yourself: it’s going to be hard.

Lately, I’ve been wondering why we have come to accept such a low standard of food in public places. Airports. Train stations. Hospitals. Schools. I firmly believe we are what we eat. And who we are in transition times tell us who we are too.

If that’s true, what does the airport tell us about our culture?

You’re not going to find much gluten-free food, or even anything healthy, in most airports.

You have to plan ahead. Pack your own food, if you can. (That’s easier when leaving from home than coming back.) Scout out locations in specific airports that might have a smoothie place, a menu that includes fresh vegetables, something other than packaged crap. Ask this on Twitter. It’s amazing the answers you’ll receive.

Eat where you can. Believe it or not, Wendy’s has a gluten-free menu. Listen, I’m no big fan of fast food. However, when you’re hungry and stuck in airport, a baked potato with broccoli and cheese and a salad with avocado ranch dressing sounds pretty good. Also, I’m not a big fan of packaged foods, but Frito-Lay has gone to good lengths to be aware of special dietary needs. And recently, they have been testing their snacks with an analytical test called R-Biopharm RIDASCREEN Gliaden/Gluten, the test recommended by the Food Allergy Research & Resource Program. Fritos, which are only made of corn, oil, and salt, are gluten-free. Believe me, they have come in handy for me before.

You know that airplanes don’t seem to serve food anymore, so there’s no point in expecting a gluten-free meal. However, some airlines are better than others. I’m thrilled that Alaska Airlines has started selling a gluten-free snack pack on its flights. They sent us one a couple of months ago to see what we thought. Olives, hummus, multi-grain crackers, almonds, a fruit leather, and dark chocolate? Yes, please. I wish we were flying on Alaska each time we travel this summer, just for that pack.

Also, the ease of your eating seems to depend on the airport you land in. When I was down in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago, I was astonished to see an organic cafe and a Napa farmers’ market stand in the middle of the airport. There, I’d have no problem. Even better, when we were in Atlanta on a four-hour layover, thanks to the recommendation of our friend Jenifer, we went to One Flew South. In a week of astonishing meals, this was one of the best. This restaurant, on the E concourse behind the security gates, serves regional food made with local ingredients, organic where possible. I had a fresh vegetable sushi roll with microgreens grown within 100 miles of the airport. We loved the Chinese five-spice fries, the Benton’s bacon and goat cheese salad with frisee, and the red wine and ginger poached pears with vanilla mascarpone.

I’m not kidding. I ate that in an airport.

Our server not only understood how to feed me safely, but he said, “You know, the last three years, since this place opened, we have seen more and more people coming in who are celiac and need to be fed gluten-free. Something has shifted. It’s clear this one is here to stay.”

Four years ago, when Danny and I returned from our honeymoon in Italy, we had a long layover in Atlanta. I searched for 2 hours to find anything I could eat. I still grew sick.

This week, I ate at One Flew South. Things are definitely improving.

We have to keep pushing to make sure they keep growing better.

I found everyone’s suggestions so helpful when we were stranded in Baltimore. Let’s help the new folks, or someone just traveling gluten-free. Leave your suggestions for food to pack, places to eat, ways to stave off the hunger and still be safe. What are the restaurants you hit in specific airports across this country or in other parts of the world? We would never have found One Flew South without our friend’s suggestion. Let’s help others the same way.


POTATO SALAD

As much as I loved that meal at One Flew South, I don’t need complex meals in an airport to make me feel well fed. When we leave for Austin on Wednesday (I’m speaking twice at the IACP conference and honored to be doing so), I am taking a container of this potato salad with me for the plane.

One of the secrets to this potato salad is baking the potatoes instead of boiling them. I’ve never thought to do this before. However, when I read David Lebovitz’s accounting of his time in Atlanta for the Blogher Food conference, my eye stayed on this section: “…a simple, but excellent baked potato salad. I never thought of baking rather than boiling the potatoes, and I’m going to try that next time I whip up a batch of salade de pommes de terre.” Um, hello? I love David and if he thought it was good, we were trying it. Danny put potatoes into the oven that afternoon.

I’m never going back. The potatoes in this salad are soft without being too starchy. Using Yukon golds meant there was still a bit of a bite. And using dried dill gave the salad a certain depth, while the fresh dill made it taste like summer. This salad would make an unexpected layover at an airport taste like satisfaction.

12 medium Yukon gold potatoes
3 stalks celery, cut in half lengthwise and diced
2 spring onions, white bulbs cut in half lengthwise and diced
1 cup mayonnaise
2 heaping tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons dried dill (we don’t like most dried herbs, but we really do like this one from McCormick Gourmet)
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fine-chopped fresh dill
3 sour pickles, sliced (optional)

Baking the potatoes. Preheat the oven to 350°. Wrap the potatoes in tin foil. Bake them until they are soft to your squeezing touch, about 90 minutes to 2 hours. Unwrap the tin foil and allow the potatoes to cool completely.

Making the potato salad. Dice each potato into quarters. Put the potatoes into a large bowl. Add the celery and onions.

Combine the mayonnaise, mustard, and dried dill. Toss the potato mixture with this mayonnaise. (If you are using the pickle slices, add them here.)

Season with salt and pepper. Taste. Season again if necessary.

Add the fresh dill into the salad and toss. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. It’s even better the second day.

Feeds 10.

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165 comments on “gluten-free in airports

  1. None

    As a regular international air traveler with a gluten (and xanthan gum) problem, I have to thank you for pointing out this massive problem. I always pack food ahead of time, but airports are possibly the most depressing places on earth to try to eat gluten-free. BUT things are slowly improving…

    I’ve begun to find Kind bars in major US airports like Dulles in Washington DC, at the news-stand shops. In Paris, at Charles de Gaulle airport, there’s a terminal (I believe Terminal 2) with an excellent fresh, organic, chain restaurant that’s popular in Europe, called Exki — it’s grab-and-go, and they have side dishes that are actually labeled gluten-free and are really, really good. I almost cried the first time I saw them… If you’re traveling in Europe, these Exki stores can be found in Brussels and Paris, and I think a few other places.

    For international travel, you can absolutely request a gluten-free meal from the airline — I have, many times, so I’m thinking you could probably do the same on long domestic flights. Of course, the quality ranges from passable to appalling, but that also seems to be improving. A couple of years ago, I was given a boiled chicken breast damply wrapped in a couple of soggy rice cakes. Recently, I got an actual full meal, with rice, chicken, and veggies — overcooked, but much better! PLEASE NOTE: the airlines can screw up these meals: on another flight, my “gluten-free” meal came with a clearly glutinous pack of crackers. Keep an eye out if your celiac kids are the ones eating, since they probably wouldn’t even notice.

    Safe gluten-free travels!

  2. cari

    I am with you on this one!. I am lucky however, going 16 hours without food is easy for me. Tina and I do a fair amount of international travel, in fact we are leaving next week for three weeks in London, Budapest, Krakow and Stockholm (which I hear is a GF haven). I have found the GF meals on my international flights to be a notch up from decent, usually some kind of Indian food which gets the attention of onlookers, probably wishing they too had my meal. Navigating in actual airports, forget it. I always bring some snacks. D.C., one of my favorite places in the world, glad Danny got there with you! Stay well friend!

  3. Sabayon

    I find most big airports have about one place that I can eat at, very occasionally two. Smaller airports often mean calling peanut butter M&M’s a meal. At Detroit is was an ok-ish sushi place, at Pittsburgh a chain of salad shops. Austin actually has pretty good gluten-free dining. There is a fantastic Mexican restaurant where nearly half the menu is naturally gluten free, and if you only want a snack there is an Amy’s ice cream in the terminal (it is the Pike Place fish market of ice cream).

  4. Kristin

    I live in Mexico and travel … a lot. I’m only recently gluten-free, and I really appreciate these tips. I’m noting everything in my BlackBerry so I can have it all at hand when I need it. Restaurants, snacks, take-alongs. We need a gluten-free app listing safe places to eat in airports.

    Thank you so much!

  5. Susan Skinkle

    Thanks for such timely comments. I have only been gluten-free for a few months, and I am still adjusting and still making mistakes. However, I must say I feel better than I have in years; I am so grateful to my doctor for giving me what feels like a new chance to live without feeling sick all of the time. I will be flying in a few weeks with lengthy layovers in Dallas and Chicago. I have been wondering about my food situation, since both will be my only chance to get lunch on two longs days of travel. This will be a working trip, so I need to feel not just good but great. I just can’t afford a slip up at the airport. Again, thanks for your comments I will probably read this more than once this week!

    1. Joy

      Chicago isn’t very good — sadly. A few places sell Kind bars, Pirate’s Booty, Food Should Taste Good chips, and/or Fage yogurt (two long stands in Terminal C, a place between terminals B and E/F). There is also an Argo Tea somewhere (I forget where, it is nowhere near United’s terminal) that carries a few ready-made side dishes, and they usually have one that is labeled GF (these are seriously low in calories). There is a Jamba Juice near security in Terminal B, but I would suggest extreme caution, as I am not sure they take much care in washing their blender cups out (I got sick after a smoothie there, and while I cannot be certain that it was the Jamba Juice or from one of the many other random things I’d eaten during recent travels, I watched them “wash” their containers on my next trip through O’Hare, and they more rinsed than washed). There is also a sushi place between Terminal B and E/F, but I can’t vouch for it.

    2. Kim

      We had a long layover in Dallas last summer and I was very impressed with the chef at the Grand Hyatt hotel that is part of the airport. They did not have a gluten free menu but were well versed in Gluten free and custom made me a meal and another for my gluten free and vegetarian son. It was a very pleasant surprise!

  6. Christopher

    Great article. I find it very hard to find something nutritious and gluten-free at airports. The salad dressings often have natural flavors in them that you can’t know are gluten-free. I once ate steamed rice at an airport because it was the only thing I could be sure was gluten free. Airports in Europe are easier because there’s a more varied selection of foods. I’m sitting in the Lufthansa lounge right now drinking blood Mary’s (no worchesteshire sauce) and eating popcorn.

        1. Holly

          Why do you say Lea & Perrins is not gluten free? My bottle says it is right on the label and the ingredients look ok. Just wondering if you know something else that I should be looking for.

        2. Rae

          The “Original” Lea & Perrins is GF. Not the “Thick Classic”. Anyhow, I always pack munchies: my own ‘trail mix’, maybe a bagel or two (Udi’s or Glutino) and a couple packets of Justin’s nut butters, an apple, maybe Hempler’s gf pepperoni stick…anything durable enough to tolerate getting tossed around in my carry-on. I had good luck ordering poached eggs (avoids the flat top) and fruit in an airport restaurant ( I had a bagel!) when I need something more substantial during the last leg of a red-eye trip to the east coast last year. And I never eat in a public place without taking gluten enzymes. Cross contamination is just unavoidable, no matter how emphatic I am with the waiter. For me, they make all the difference. I will be flying to CO this summer with Alaska Air–will ask for the GF snack pack!

        3. Laura

          I believe that the US version of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce is gluten-free. In Canada and Britain, it is made with barley malt.

        4. shauna

          I do know that the US version is gluten-free. Everyone should check the label of the bottle he or she has!

  7. i-geek

    Oh gosh, airports and travel.

    We traveled to Japan last summer for an academic conference (well, I attended and spoke at the conference; husband got to sight-see). Flew out of Chicago O’Hare. Husband had a big breakfast. My only options were a fruit cup and Kind Bar from Starbucks (and honestly, that was a lot more than I was expecting to get, considering the selections in the international terminal). Tokyo Narita airport wasn’t any on the way back. I ended up with coffee and a Soy Joy bar.

    Japan was hard. Really hard. I took my own soy sauce in checked luggage, which was fortunate because quite often sushi was the only safe choice. Our hotel in Kobe had a decent breakfast spread with some safe choices, but we were on our own for other meals in a country where it was difficult at best to communicate with the locals and where we could– if we were lucky– identify the kanji for wheat/barley but not much more. I had one of those Japanese language travel cards, in hopes of helping waitstaff identify safe food, but instead I got kicked out of restaurants when I used it and subsequently gave up (after wandering around in intense heat/humidity for an hour looking for safe food, being escorted out by management through a crowded restaurant does not make for a pleasant evening). I ate a LOT of sushi on that trip. Convenience stores often had onigiri (stuffed rice balls) and the salted salmon ones were safe, so once I figured out how to identify the labels I ate those for lunch several times. We had a fabulous meal at a Kobe steak house, and a couple of great dinners in Tokyo with friends who spoke the language and could run interference with the waitstaff, but food was a major concern the entire two weeks. SO much wheat and barley: the noodles, the panko breading, the soy sauce, even the tea. Oyster sauce in the Thai curry, which made me very sick the second night we were there and consequently my gut was “off” for the entire trip. The easiest time was in Kyoto, where we stayed in a brand new hostel with a kitchen. We shopped for fresh meat and veggies in the beautiful markets and prepared our own dinners. I would dearly love to go back and spend weeks in Japan, but only if I can have kitchen access.

    One bright spot was American Airlines. They still serve meals on their overseas flights. I was able to indicate that I needed a gluten-free meal, and every time food was served I got my meal first, in a carefully sealed and labeled tray. It wasn’t fabulous food but it was edible, decent and safe, and my husband commented that it looked and smelled a lot better than his food (quite true– I’ll take plain grilled chicken and quinoa pilaf over mystery beef casserole any day, thanks). I will not hesitate to use and recommend American Airlines in future for that reason.

    1. Alice

      I’m from Hobart, on the island Tasmania at the south of Australia, and just went on a trip to mainland Melbourne with my partner, a coeliac. Not only is he a coeliac, but he is lactose intolerant as well — there was literally nothing he could eat! After the sushi guy told him it was definitely gluten free, we discovered the chicken inside was coated in bread crumbs — the last straw for my partner. So i definitely feel your pain!

      1. Ariaflame

        Was that at Melbourne airport or in Tasmania?

        Once in Melbourne proper however there is no lack of amazing things you can find to eat. (Only visited but had few problems with friend who has problems with gluten, and dairy, and tinned)

      2. Anna

        I’m reading a lot here about sushi being the only safe choice, but I wouldn’t guarantee it in Australia (I’m in Perth) We stopped at a sushi bar for dinner recently, and the chef came out specially to warn me about the vinegar — apparently one of the commonly used vinegars is sourced from a gluten containing cereal (I have no idea whether the gluten comes through, but given that one of my friends will react to wheat glucose but not corn glucose, I’m assuming that there is a level of contamination is possibly bad for some).

        as to food that I carry with me — g-f muesli bars, and little sealed packs of stewed fruit (small enough to not trigger the ‘too large an amount of liquid’ confiscation rules)

  8. janeray1940

    Airports are hard to negotiate food-wise, but who would have guessed that hospitals are even harder. In addition to gluten intolerance I’ve also got fructose and lactose intolerance — no sugar of any kind, no wheat, no dairy, in other words. I was recently hospitalized for a day, and the only foods offered to me included jello, ice cream, bagels, saltines, and orange juice! Needless to say I went a day and a half without eating a thing.

    1. Archer

      The University of Washington Medical Center here in Seattle actually has a gluten-free menu! I was able to eat gluten-free during my 2 day stay there.

  9. Laura

    I recently went gluten free, and I am dreading my upcoming flight to Italy. I would pack a trail mix maybe, or granola to munch on.

    There is usually one restaurant that serves some sort of rice dish, but pizza or sandwiches are everywhere.

  10. Netty

    I’ve been dealing with this for a few years. Here’s how I handle it. :)
    1. Pack lots of snack bars & snacks for the trip out. (lara bars, kind bars, etc.) I will eat these throughout the trip when I need food and can’t find better choices.
    2. Pack a lunch/dinner for the flight out. You can take food–provided it’s not liquid through security. I’ll pack a big bag of veggies, some hummus, chicken salad, fruit etc. and eat it on the flight and trip to my destination. You just can’t take a freezie pack through security but my lunch box keeps things cold enough.
    3. Have a list of gluten free safe restaurants for your travel destination. I search for these ahead of time and plan out where I’ll be eating…complete with directions to the places. (or the address for my hubby to put in his fancy phone GPS).
    4. Have lists of possible Health food stores where you can get more food if needed–Whole Foods locations, local places or chains, etc. You can always get food for a picnic or the return trip through the airport here.
    5. Bring the emergency back up food–Dr. McDogall makes several soups in a cup that are gluten free and just need hot water to rehydrate them. You can always find hot water around for free (Thank you coffee craze!). Even on the airplane you can ask for some hot water and make your soup. You can also bring along gluten free oatmeal if you can handle that. I throw some of these in my carry on and am ready for anything! :)

    Happy traveling! Hope this helps.

  11. Amy

    I was in DC in February — my first trip since being diagnosed with food allergies. I handled it in two ways — carried food with me for flights and layovers, and shipped a box of food to the hotel before I left! I’m allergic to wheat, dairy, soy, and eggs, and I was terrified of having nothing to eat.

    Like you, I discovered that I could eat very happily and safely around the city. Also like you, I discovered that the airports were safe food wastelands. I stuck with bananas, rice, and crouton-free, dressing-free salads (because nobody could tell me whether there was soybean oil in the dressings). I was pretty thankful for the food I had with me — Enjoy Life Sunbutter Crunch bars, Snyder’s of Hanover GF pretzels, Gorilla Munch cereal, dried fruit, nuts, and good chocolate. You can bring instant rice, oatmeal, or grits through security, and ask for hot water at any coffee place. Small shelf-stable tuna pouches are under 3 ounces and if you pack carefully, you can fit a couple of them into your quart bag of liquids/gels to get through security. And of course I always buy a big bottle of water when I get through security.

    And for the record, every time I go to DC I make a pilgrimage to Julia’s kitchen. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=31843026&l=17fde14274&id=1565508604

    Looking forward to learning more travel ideas!

    Amy

  12. Suzanne

    Your posts always seem to come at exactly the right time for me. In a couple of months, I am flying to DC to fly out of Dulles on a two week trip to Hungary with my mother. I have been researching the challenges of a long flight, the cuisine of Hungary, and how to communicate with waitstaff while I am overseas. I have read the English portions of the Hungarian Celiac Society’s website (http://www.liszterzekeny.hu/tiki-index.php?page=%20Gluten-free%20in%20Hungary&structure=%20Gluten-free%20in%20Hungary). I am fortunate that my mother is fluent in Hungarian and that most of my time will be with my Hungarian relatives, one of whom I recently learned has a gluten-free girlfriend. But, the night I will be in DC happens to be the night of my 50th birthday. My family, who all live there, just this morning said they wondered if there was a really special gluten-free restaurant where we could celebrate my big day. I can’t wait to send my sister your recommendations! When I get back from my trip. perhaps I’ll have some tips to share for safe gluten-free travel in Hungary. Until then, I’ll keep enjoying your posts and trying your recipes. Many thanks, and best wishes to you, Danny, and Lu ~ Suzanne

    1. Scottee Meade

      Suzanne,
      I’ve been gluten-free for two years and I dine in DC relatively frequently. Ironically, the higher-end Italian restaurants are some of the safest. Bibiana, where Shaunna and Danny ate, is one of my two most favorite restaurants in DC. Chef Stefanelli is wonderful and very well-informed on gluten-free cooking. I haven’t been to Rasika, but it is under the same ownership, and I’ve heard it’s great. Fiola by Fabio Trabocchi opened in April and I’ve had two magnificent meals there (portions are large). Although not my personal favorite, Galileo II is good about GF diners, and even offers GF pasta, cooked separately. Oyamel is great for Mexican food, Jaleo for Spanish, and Zaytinya for Middle Eastern–all have printed GF menus. Blue Duck Tavern, in the Park Hyatt Washington, has great locally sourced American fare, and the chef is generally good at identifying “safe” items (it’s always good to read the menu carefully yourself and ask questions). Up near the Zoo is Dino, a neighborhood Italian restaurant with a good following of GF diners. In Alexandria, Rustico Pizza has a GF crust option and GF beer. Restaurant Eve is wonderful and even offers home-baked GF bread with 24 hours’ notice. In Arlington, Ray’s the Steaks has many safe menu choices and helpful staff. I generally avoid chain restaurants and stick to the independent ones, particularly those with “brigade” style kitchens, where separate stations handle various dishes or preparations, reducing the risk of cross-contamination. Hope this helps!

      1. Suzanne

        Wow! Thank you! My family is now talking about cooking at home instead. Know anyone in DC area who makes a great gluten-free cake? My family is not known for its baking skills.
        ~Suzanne

    2. Rachelle Sperling

      I work in Budapest and there is a great restaurant called Etna that has an extensive gluten free menu (in English). The wait staff are very knowledgeable and I’ve never had any cross contamination. I’d recommend it if you are looking for a place to eat out.

      Location: Gabor Aron utca (Rozsakert bev. kp.), Budapest, Hungary
      Phone: +36 1 3915839

  13. a

    love love love the new Terminal 2 at San Francisco — healthy and gluten free options abound (and good coffee). Makes me want to fly American or Virgin American specifically to enjoy the new terminal.

  14. Lisa H

    I am dairy allergic, not celiac, and (like gluten) dairy is in practically every food you can find at airports. The best place to shop are the magazine/book stores at airports. They usually sell packaged snacks and chips. I love fritos too! I also bring nuts, dairy-free chocolate, dried fruit and jerky (beef, pork, salmon). Sometimes I get those airport bananas and hard boiled eggs. My best bets are the mexican taqueria type fast food where I can get beans and rice w/o cheese, salsa and guacamole and corn tortillas. Also the sushi-to-go or other asian cuisine which don’t normally use dairy. My family get the pizza-by-the-slice ;)

  15. Kristi Bowman

    I am new to gluten free, pushing 3 weeks now. And it seems like we’ve gone away every weekend since, no airplanes but still being out and about or at friends houses makes it that much more challenging. My friends are trying so hard to help me be gluten free but as I was a month or so ago they really don’t understand how much gluten is hidden in foods and condiments but that just washing the bbq sause off of an already bbq’d chicken breast isn’t quite gonna do the trick. Just yesterday I ordered a Grilled chicken sandwich without the bread, I didn’t look carefully enough because when the check came they called it Teryaki Chicken sandwich. I suspected there was some kind of sweet sauce on it but there was pineapple on it (which I removed) that’s what I attributed the flavor until I got the bill. So…live and learn. I can’t say I’m feeling any difference but maybe it’s because I’m not that good at it yet and I’m still getting some gluten that I’m not aware of, I need more practice for sure! Thanks for all the info!

  16. Heather

    I’m about to do my first big international trip tomorrow, a 7 hour trip to Iceland. I’m anxious about both the travel and finding breakfast abroad (any other time of day, it should be easy to find fish, especially in iceland!). Just to be on the safe side, I’m bringing a full batch of homemade almond cookies (got the recipe out of “Global Vegetarian Cooking” — note if you go use that recipe, the cookies take 20 not 40 minutes to cook) and a couple of boxes of trail bars of different flavors. I should have enough for travel and 10 days of breakfast.

  17. Archer

    I always pack an entire cooler of food for airplane travels–it usually counts as my carry on bag. Its still hard to pack a “real” meal for a whole day of riding airplanes, but I usually pack apples, hard boiled eggs, nuts, and larabars (although now I can only have the peanut butter cookie larabars). I also usually bake a high protein baked good (usually with quinoa flour) to help hold me over. One time I actually brought red garnet yams in my suitcase, and when we were stranded at an airport hotel for the night, I was able to microwave the yams in our room and have an archerfriendly dinner. Now, I always pack for food for 24+ hours, just in case I get stranded again.

  18. Victoria

    My first gluten-free vacation, we were on our way back from Vegas and I picked up a packaged salad from Burke in the Box for the flight home. I checked all the salads, did not see croutons listed in the ingredients for one type, didn’t see any croutons in any of the containers for that type, etc. Halfway thru eating it, found a soggy little crouton at the bottom of the bowl. I think I was lucky enough to not have any gut reactions until after the plane landed, since having to deal with that on an airplane cannot be fun.

    Although not ideal, I usually purchase a few GoPicnic gluten-free boxes before we travel, and then I re-package them all in Ziplocs to put in my carry on, and pull them out during screening (and I’ve yet to have a problem with bringing the food thru — well, at least this stuff, there was the time during my gluten-days when we were the first people thru O’Hare security when the “no lotions or gels” ban started and I got stuck in a 20-minute kerfuffle over the fact the inside of my NutriGrain bar was a gel or not).

  19. Johnna

    I travel often and rely on a carry-on full of safe food choices. I pack a partial loaf of sandwich bread, single-serve packets of Justin’s nut butters, Kind and Lara bars, a couple pieces of fresh fruit and sometimes an entire bento box if I make enough time to prepare it the night before.

    Several airports I have been in recently have a “Healthy Snacks” display in the gift shop. I’ve seen the same variety of food in Tampa, Nashville, Chicago Midway and Dulles in the last couple of months: Kind bars, Food Should Taste Good Chips, Pure bars and a granola I’ve never seen before that is certified gluten-free and vegan. While not exactly a great meal, it would work in a pinch.

    Like you, I got stuck in the airport for awhile coming home from Eat, Write, Retreat. I was pleasantly surprised to see Chipotle in the Dulles airport. I had a great gluten-free, vegetarian meal prepared folks who happily changed their gloves and took care making my bowl of rice and beans. It sure was great to have that in my tummy before boarding several bumpy Southwest flights where only pretzels and peanuts coated in wheat starch were available.

    1. Jane

      I recently had Chipotle in Vegas, and they did everything to take care of me and my uncle’s (who is severely allergic to MSG) food “gluten free”. They changed their gloves, and made ours out of previously unopened and unhandeled stock. We were both sick for 3 days. They were the only place we could have been contaminated. After we got sick we came back and spoke to the manager, and it turns out that their “all natural ingredients” are covered in MSG, and the machines that cut some of their vegetables are flowered. I am surprised you didn’t get sick.

  20. Caneel

    What a great idea to do a post on the airports and where to eat! I wrote a post the other day about being gluten-free on extended road trips, but wouldn’t have thought of airports because I personally hate flying. I used to love it but something shifted the older I got and now I can’t fly without major anxiety and often full-blow panic attacks while on board (and this started way before 9/11). I avoid it at almost all costs. So, I don’t have anything to suggest on places to eat in them but I can say based on lots of traveling by car for hours and hours, and train, that packing your own food and trying to keep something on hand for the return trip is a must. Also, if you have a chance to stop at a Whole Foods or someplace similar before leaving again to re-stock, do it. There are many snack bars now that provide a large amount of protein, fiber and nutrients while at the same time being low in sugar and often other allergens. Perfect Foods bars are at the top of my list but must be kept cool. I love Raw Revolution bars these days. St. Dalfour’s has a couple of canned meals that are good to have on hand in case you can’t find anything else.

  21. Caleigh

    I find the information confusing about what you can and can’t take through security. Sometimes I have taken food through without any issue, but other times I’ve had to leave it on the wrong side of the x-ray scanners. Maybe I’m a victim of over zealous security workers, or I have brought the wrong foodstuffs? I was held up at the gate for 12 hours before Christmas (Scotland could handle the snow, but London couldn’t so we would be unable to land!) I existed on cups of tea and potato chips. I was starving by the time I finally arrived home! Motorway service stations are a nightmare, too, I always pack a huge cool bag when we drive up to my parents’ otherwise I am left with more chips, or cheese.

    I am yet to fly long haul since my coeliac diagnosis, part of me is putting it off through fear of nothing to eat.

    1. Jane

      In my experience, taking food out of the US is easy, but flying in with it is hard. When leaving from Germany, the only food I can get through the gate is processed unopened solid food. They will also not allow anything with lots of seeds in it because they consider it a vegetational hazard. What this means is:
      unopened bag of potato chips= good
      opened bag of potato chips= bad
      home made sandwich = not a chance in hell
      unopened small jar of peanut butter= bad (they consider it a liquid)
      granola bar (opened, home made, unopened, or otherwise) = bad

      In the airports there, they only sell pretzels, pastries, and pre-packaged sandwiches. You may be lucky and find a bag of chips in the airports there, but they only like chip flavors with MSG (ie– barbeque, cheese, sour cream, etc) and will likely not be able to eat them. I have gone 19 hours without food in those airports. It is not fun.

    1. Janelle

      Laura, I used “Grapeseed Oil Vegenaise” which is a vegan mayo (and I know, that sounds gross, but my husband and I actually like it better than regular mayo). It does not contain xanthan gum. Here are the ingredients: Grapeseed oil, Filtered Water, Brown Rice Syrup, Apple Cider Vinegar, Soy Protein, Sea Salt, Mustard Flour, and Lemon Juice Concentrate. I find it in my regular grocery store in the dairy section (it’s refrigerated). Hope this helps!

      1. Laura Fesmire

        I have considered doing this but was worried about the raw egg/salmonella issue.

  22. Lauren

    Vancouver, Canada has some great healthy Gluten free options in the airport — both domestic and international. Guess having the Olympics really paid off with more restaurant options than most airports. I’ve had terrible experiences in Phoenix airport where iceberg lettuce and a tomato was all I could eat.

  23. Hiromi

    Dulles has a section in the news stand that is gluten free. It is all snack food but it is labelled gluten free. I am just wheat free, not gluten free but I am also dairy free. A dilemma for airplane food. For me, small amounts of wheat are tolerable whereas dairy isn’t so I usually opt for a vegan meal and keep my fingers crossed it’s not pasta. If I can pull it together, I always try and bring my own food.

  24. Janelle

    I recently posted about my experiences traveling in an airport, and the land of despair I fell in when I found nothing to eat that was healthful, gluten-free, or allergen-free. You can read about it at: http://bit.ly/mONS8S. Here’s what I discovered. That little thought, “This is hard” is tremendously toxic for my health because I thought it would be too hard to pack food, that I didn’t have enough time, etc. etc. and thus I ended up with a fruit cup for breakfast and a long flight of hunger ahead of me. My new thought is, “I like to take care of myself” and I’m working on taking food with me EVERYWHERE I go because when I depend on someone else to take care of me (like a restaurant) they never do it the way I would do it.

    Shauna, thanks for asking this question! I love your blog.

    1. Tracy

      That shift in thinking, from This is Hard to I’ll Take Care of Myself is very helpful.

      The psychosocial dimension of eating gluten free needs more attention!

    2. merrie

      Janelle, I totally agree with you on the attitude adjustment thing. It’s nobody’s responsibility but my own to be sure I have something to eat. If it’s something delicious I have made at home, like an oat scone with chopped raisins and walnuts, all the better! But a banana and a cup of yoghurt works just fine too.

  25. Barbara

    Legal seafood at BOS, international terminal at LAX or gladstone’s at terminal 3 at LAX, great salad Place in terminal B in IAD, terminal 2 at SFO — tyler Florence rotosserie, cat cora, plant cafe organic, napa market, etc.

  26. Sarah

    I hear a lot of stuff here about travel, which is awesome, but I am actually going to be moving to Chile in a year and so I am desperately curious if I will be able to eat gluten free meals while I am there. Really, really hoping I see lots of quinoa and corn for the years i will be living down there, anyone gf ever been there and can assure me on this one?

    1. Kristin

      Sarah, I lived in Chile for eight years and am retiring there in the next couple of years. I was not gluten free when we lived there, but you will be absolutely fine if you love beautiful, fresh fish and incredible fruits and vegetables. And the wine! Oh my goodness. Beautiful red wines that are becoming world famous. I still have friends there and will ask them if they know of gluten-free products. Where are you going to live?

  27. Yuri

    The short answer is I DON’T eat in airports. I bring all my own food (I’m a better cook, and its cheaper). Sometimes I will though — the most likely candidate is to find the asian food and gently charm them into cooking me something off menu — steamed rice, veggies, and tofu with no sauce for instance. (they are an abused creature, the airport worker, and need careful handling!) In Seattle, there is “Waji’s”, and extension of Uwajimaya our Japanese grocery store. They have steamed soy beans, decent sushi, rice bowls, etc. They are at the end of the “C” concourse. The other option is to find the Applebees type place and order salad and fries, after asking the servers three thousand different ways if there is any gluten in sight and stressing that I am allergic and will have a “really bad” reaction that will take me down for days (I like to let them assume I’ll go into anaphylactic shock — that is sometimes the only way they take me seriously).

    Like most of you (Netty, I love the numbered list! ^.^) I pack my own food. I try to make sure that I have enough food to eat FOR THE ENTIRE TRIP if I have to! It’s a lot of work and cost, but its worth it! If I am not-starving I will make much better choices. I have experimented around with various different foods _before_ I go to see what works for me. Not just what I can tolerate, but what is nutritious and will fill me up. I avoid sugars, empty carbs, etc and look for protein, fiber, etc. I try to take a wide variety of flavors, so I don’t get bored.

    For non-perishables, currently my staples are: various Lara bars (tho they are a bit sweet, so I use these sparingly), the all fruit and nut cliff bars, Re-bars (both the all veggie one and the one with seeds) (these are the best for me, I feel satisfied not still half hungry), various roasted nuts (cashews and almonds especially), and various dried fruit (mango and figs especially, with out sulpher) and fresh fruit (apples and grapes) and cheese. I will be adding Netty’s cup o’ stuff idea next time! ^.^

    I also bring prepared food that will last at least the first day or two. Examples are: roasted tempeh strips (cut a brick of tempeh into 1/2 cm size strips, toss in oil, broil for 30–40 min, toss in salt or other seasonings); onigiri (vinegared rice balls with stuff in the middle, like seasoned fish, or veggies); handrolls (vinegared rice, quartered sheets of seaweed, and various “toppings” like avacado, pickled plum, cucumber, etc (whatever is your favorite in sushi, except raw fish!), plus sides of wasabi, ginger, and wheat free soy sauce). Obviously I am very Japanese food oriented! But you could do any food you like that can go without refrigeration for a day or two (and doesn’t need microwaving – airport people hate microwaving your food).

    Then I bring staples to have at the place I am staying if they have a refrigerator. My favorite brown rice bread, more tempeh strips, and other things that I am unlikely to be able to get at the local grocery store. And more apples, cheese, peanut butter, etc.
    I always make sure that I have enough snacks tucked away in my purse so that if the people I am with aren’t willing to make dining choices that work for me (or they aren’t available, or I thought they would be available and turns out they aren’t!), I will be ok. I often carry cut up seaweed and wheat free soy sauce – that way I can have instant handrolls any place that has rice and fish.

    I also plot out BEFORE I GO where I am going to eat, although often with family that doesn’t work. Yelp.com is a great source to find the locals insight into gluten free dining. At the very least I’ll find the local equivalent of Whole Foods and make a point to go there early in the trip. If the place I am going doesn’t have this I bring MORE food. ^.^ I swear half my luggage is food sometimes!

    Its hard work, but damn it, we are ALL worth the hard work it takes to keep ourselves healthy and strong. I have been ruminating lately on how self-care takes DISCIPLINE and a lot of it. I think there are deep underlying issues that I need to look at when I am not willing to carve out the time to do what I need to do to ensure that I am taken care of. There is a sadness and grief that my society (and often friends and family) don’t understand, don’t care, or don’t listen to what I need in order to not feel terrible. There is a kind of abandonment in that experience, like a child left crying on the roadside. Its taken me a long time to realize the only adult I can rely on, the only adult who is responsible for protecting that child, is me. And I don’t mean that in a suspicious, walled off, bitter way. I mean it in a stepping into my power kind of way.

    And that is what I so deeply appreciate about this blog and everybody’s comments – we are all stepping into our power, encouraging/mentoring each other, and witnessing that transformation. Thank you all.

    1. shauna

      Yuri, your comments actually made me teary. YES. We are all worth the hard work. We can work hard to bring awareness to make sure other people have access to good food they can heat, in airports, hotels, hospitals, and public places. But in the meantime, the kind of care you take to feed yourself well is beautiful. And a model for the rest of us.

    2. merrie

      Hi Yuri, I learned a thing or two from your post about what to carry with me while travelling. Thanks.

      I liked your phrase “gently charm them into cooking me something”. That’s my attitude too. Later in your post, you speak of letting them assume you will go into anaphylaxis if your food is contaminated. I wonder if that might not make it harder for the next person who needs gluten free food. I know how frustrating it is, been there, done that many, many times. I strive to make it an educational, not confrontational, encounter.

      I am totally with you on the stepping into our own power concept.….…

    3. nikki

      thank you for reminding us. I’m still in start-up mode, but its the theme of my blog. to nurture your inner child, even if it sometimes feels like rosemary’s baby! That I am not the one who gets to be taken care of… I’m the one taking care of ME, and sometimes those are two very different places mentally. I GROK it, but putting it into practice is much more strugglesome, especially as I encounter more and more dust and allergens, and dont have kids to set upon the dusty rooms! (really, its what teenagers are for! I used to resent the statement, but MAN I’m glad I helped my momma as much as I did… she deserves it!)

      Over at Delphiforums, in the “avoiding corn” group, we talk a LOT about how to keep ourselves safe– for some of us this goes all the way down to corn starch in prescription medications, the alcohol in perfume, no citric acid or ascorbic acid in/on fruits, and the ability only to eat milk and eggs from animals that have not been fed corn.
      Some of my favorites:
      –You are worth having the food in your house. You WILL figure it out. You need to keep yourself safe while you detox and learn
      –If one of your reactions to corn is behavioral… know that your temper tantrums are going to happen! And that they will pass… but you have to be able to keep feeding yourself, even when youre throwing a fit, and the quinoa is burning, and all you REALLY wanna do is throw the WHOLE THING AGAINST A WALL. enjoy life chocolate chips, a handful of organic raisins, and Nature Valley’s millet puffs (huge lovely pillow-sized bag for 2 bucks!! theyre my new rice krispies!) can get me through that gremlin phase.
      –ENJOY YOUR STAND MIXER. We talk a LOT about gadgets, what is indispensable to us, what is a luxury. I have been gluten-corn-egg-milk-peanut-etc free for 6 months, and I only JUST took care of myself.. and treated myself… to a mixer. I’m not strong enough right now to stir dough by hand… and mixing while adding other ingredients? not a chance.

      –when you cook rice, always make extra. toss it into a quart freezer bag (or most appropriate for your family), defrost it in a skillet.
      –dehydrate some caramelized onions.. makes daisy sour cream turn into a chip dip, sprinkle some luxury on your sandwiches, add them to noodles.…
      –Bring along a little container of large-grain sugar with you. Adding texture to a meal can help make everything feel less bland.. or a small sweet treat for some fruit you find!
      –Stock up. All the heads of celery, butts of carrots, and peels can make a really nice stock! It was suggested to me to roast up a bunch of veggies and then use them for stock… adds an extra dimension.
      –rice. Or quinoa or millet or.…. they stick together and fry up pretty well if you add some shredded apple and an egg to the batter
      –Make a bunch of quickbread basics. flour, salt, butter, baking soda. cut the butter in, and freeze the flour mixture. In a hurry, you can grab this out of the freezer and add milk for biscuits, raisins and cream and sugar for scones, cheese and dill and rosemary for a savory bread… works for a pizza crust if you pour it onto a sheet pan… and my favorite is blueberry bread. just add some vinegar and a palmful of sugar to negate the taste… and pop it into the oven. (total credit to Kristy, on livingitupcornfree.com. this had been a lifesaver)

      and Yuri– thanks for reminding me to start taking care of myself today!

      1. Yuri @ Ingredients We Choose

        Wow! I just saw this (unfortunately there is no notice when somebody replies to a comment :( ). It is wonderful! Today you have inspired _me_! I am totally going to try some of those ideas. I am so down with the mixer and gadgets — there is no way I could make as much stuff without it! I tried to find you blog, but I couldn’t find it. If you ever see this, would you click on my link and leave me a comment on my blog (so I get notified) about where to find your blog? I hope you are doing well!

  28. Jean Layton

    Flying! YEAH!
    Airports, yuck!
    I remember listening to my mom talking about her first flight as a young nurse, when she flew from NYC to California. She was on her way to Guam, to help the servicemen who were evacuated to there from the fighting in the Pacific.
    She had to wear a suit, complete with gloves and stockings along with her nurses cap. For a flight that lasted 2 days!
    Things have most certainly changed.
    We travel a couple of times a year, the necessity of a family that is spread across America.
    So our gluten-free family has made lots of decisions about what food to keep with us. Especially since Ed can’t have any soy, Katie reacts to too much dairy and we all love real food, so difficult to find in airports.
    I wrote this post when we went to NYC last. http://www.gfdoctorrecipes.com/2010/05/feeling-were-not-in-kansas-anymore.html

    This jerky is one treat we always make before we go, but you can also buy it from Gary West meats.
    Wish I were lucky enough to see you at IACP this year. Maybe next year?

  29. Mary

    I usually carry corn cakes, peanut butter, and apples as my emergency food on the way home. I got so mad in Fort Lauderdale when on the way home they made me throw away my peanut butter. There was nothing inside the terminal gf and not time to go back through security. I ended up buying some cream cheese off the bagels place and putting that on my corn cakes and eating my apple. I am flying to Orlando next week. I got rice protein powder because I can mix with juice or milk or safe yogurt if I can find some. The protein fills me up for at least 4 hours. My biggest complaint has been how messy it is. I recently solved that problem by getting the baby formula containers. They are divided into 3 compartments with room for 2–3 servings of protein per compartment. I do wish It was easier but I feel like I can’t complain as it is much better than 5 years ago.

    1. merrie

      Hi Mary, I discovered defatted peanut flour at Trader Joe’s a while back. You can use it in baked goods (I just sprinkle it on my oatmeal for a protein and flavor hit), but you can also mix it with a bit of water and salt to make a “peanut butter” that is actually not too bad. Unfortunately TJ’s stopped carrying it, but I found an online source and stocked up.

  30. Danielle

    I just travelled this weekend by plane for the first time being gluten free. I was so glad that my flights were only delayed a little. I had packed lunch and snacks, but it wouldn’t have lasted much more than the extra time I had in the airport. I was appalled at te lack of food choices (good food anyway) especially for someone with a gluten allergy or sensitivity.

  31. practical cat

    Thanks for this, Shauna, and thanks to all the commenters. This is all very encouraging! I’m gearing up for a cross-country flight, followed by 5 days from home for a seminar with (I suspect) little access to grocery stores. So I’m planning to bring bars, rice cakes, almonds, etc., so that I’ll have plane food, breakfast for the week, and hopefully some snacks.
    Do any of you know if almond/peanut butters count as a liquid for the purposes of airline security? I’m like to bring a jar of it with me, but I’m not sure if that will mean checking the bag…
    Thanks!

    1. Mary

      I used to take peanut butter back and forth to Europe when I was living in London. It sets the bomb detectors off because it’s so dense. This was back in 2001– 2003 when security was huge. The guys at my local airport would say “your peanut butter sets off the detectors” and then do a manual swabbing of the outside of the container. They always let it pass after that. One time a can of coffee set off the bomb detector — I asked what was up and they said it had traces of nitroglycerine on it. I asked how that could be and they said if someone took a nitro pill and then touched the can at the store, it could still be showing up.

      Anyway, peanut butter is a maybe — I’d try the smallest container you can find and that way if they confiscate it, you aren’t out that much. It’s definitely a solid, though.

    2. Christine

      We’ve had smallish jars of PB taken away at security in the past. A pre-made sandwich was fine, but a (sealed, never once used) jar of PB was not OK. This was either Phoenix or Baltimore… can’t remember if it was going out or coming back! Check it or you’ll probably lose it, I’d say.

    3. Victoria

      I’ve brought individual packages of Justin’s Nut Butter (they sell it at my regular grocery store) thru security without problems. I think the issue is the amount in a regular jar of peanut butter — if you only have a couple of packets in your carry on, security seems to be a lot better about it.

      1. Carolyn

        I just returned 3 hours ago from a weekend trip from Seattle to Orange County. I packed several of the ~2 oz. Jif To-Go peanut butter containers (totally not my preference for peanut butter brands, but one of the few shelf-stable, prepackaged wheat– and rice-free options at Safeway), and had no trouble getting them through security at both airports.

  32. Maggie

    I travel a lot, mainly between the US and Canada. When I can, I get direct flights so I’m not stuck in an airport but I always pack my own food regardless. Zing bars are so great for travel… you can back enough for the trip going and coming back. Just think ahead. I try to grab a snack pack of Glutino pretzels for the plane before I leave, to have my little crunchy snack, gluten free. Making pb&j sandwiches on gf bread and throwing them in a ziploc in your bag works well too. Just don’t expect to eat in the airport, eat before you leave and after you land, with gf snacks of your own in between.

  33. In the kitchen

    When I fly to Asia I always fly Emirates Airlines. I never bother to order a gluten free meal, because they always give three choices and at least one or two are gluten free already (though you do have to forgo the individually wrapped — in sealed plastic — dinner roll and/or roti on your tray). And Emirates has great food — for an airline. My mom who also can’t eat gluten didn’t want to go for the slightly higher ticket price when she came to visit me and flew a European Airline specifying gluten free meal and starved to death and got an attack of gluten anyway. To me, if I am going to be on a plane journey to the other side of the world and flying for 36 hours, give me Emirates and a fly through Dubai airport. Dubai Airport is actually a huge shopping mall with boarding gates between the shops. It has a number of excellent places to get food that doesn’t have gluten in it just as a matter of course — though I typically go for the frozen yogurt and fruit since Emirates keeps me pretty full already and more than satisfied. Almost flew through Tokyo last time. Judging by the post above, guess I’m really lucky I stuck with Dubai.

  34. Dana

    The Denver Chophouse at DIA fed me well during a recent all-day airport adventure. I informed the manager of my gluten intolerance, and he went back to the kitchen himself to ensure that no croutons or onion rings or anything made their way into my meal. It’s a bit pricey, and eating steak with a plastic fork is challenging, but when you’re desperate for a real (and safe) meal, it’s worth it.

  35. GF in Cali

    For hotel stays, if a mini refrigerator is not included with the room, don’t be afraid to ask for one before your arrival! I’ve done this many times, and most hotels are happy to place one in the room for you, especially if you indicate it’s for a medical or dietary reason. Whether I’m flying or driving a long distance to my destination, I scope out in advance restaurants and grocery stores, and put their addresses into my iPhone so I can easily find them. Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and local health food stores have been my saving grace. For a week-long trip, I toss about a dozen Lara bars in my suitcase. When I fly, I bring on board sliced cheddar cheese, crackers, sliced apples, and almonds. I sometimes pack a bag of GF granola and bring it to the hotel restaurant. As long as you and/or your companion order something else (milk, coffee, yogurt, etc.), most hotels won’t mind you bringing in your own GF cereal. At airports, Peet’s and Starbucks usually have yogurt. Traveling GF requires a lot of pre-planning but it is SO worth the extra effort.

  36. Mary

    Heh, when I first started reading your post I thought to myself, “well, she’s never been to Hartsfield in Atlanta…” I just flew through there recently and was amazed at the choices. Do your best to avoid Memphis — it’s all BBQ and deep fried chicken — ugg. On my way to D.C. a few weeks ago I enjoyed Cleveland — I got a really nice chef’s salad somewhere. And Detroit has a couple of good spots — and there is always the ice cream place in a pinch. At Reagan National the only thing I found were string cheese sticks. But, again I think it was Cleveland — the little snack stand had a good dozen choices of bagged snacks all marked Gluten Free including pretzels, chips, and puffed stuff (which I try to avoid being on Weight Watchers) but occasionally do buy if there’s nothing else around.

    In DC I stayed at the Bolger Center — it’s a training center for the USPS (previously a nunnery) but is open to anyone. The room prices are reasonable for the DC area and it’s a short drive from the touristy areas, worth the drive if you have a car. The menu at the Bolger Center was amazing — two or three choices with each meal marked “Gluten Free” — everything from soups and salads to main dishes that were much higher end than I’m used to,but it was a wonderful week of food, nonetheless!

    1. Jane

      Regan has a TGI Fridays that will bend over backwards to get you a gluten free meal right outside of the terminal. In the terminal they now have Five Guys which make some of the best burgers I’ve had in a chain store, and the safest fries I have encountered outside of my own oven. They heat the buns on a different machine, and will change their gloves if you say you have celiac or gluten intolerance. Although, their fries are fried in peanut oil, which could be a problem for some.

  37. Lois Parker

    For people travelling in the UK ( I noticed an earlier post) there are Marks & Spencer’s food stores at quite a few motorway service stations and train stations — don’t know about airports. They have good clear labelling and I can now have a salad instead of just a smoothy when I travel. Last time I bought a ready meal (rice and curry) and microwaved it in the microwave they have for heating baby food. It was good on a long journey to be able to have a hot meal.

  38. Amber K

    I never realized how hard it could be until I was traveling a couple of weeks ago. Finding things that are gluten-free, xanthan gum-free, and VEGETARIAN proves to be the biggest pain ever. “You can’t have gluten? We can cook you steak, fish, chicken etc. on a separate grill! Oh, no meat? We have lots of err..pasta, that won’t work, huh? We have some green beans and some broccoli as sides I guess.” Oh yum, please, please, let me pay an insane amount of money for a couple of veggies!

  39. jeanelane

    The only food bar that I can eat is called Organic Food Bar Protein. No soy, no whey, no refined sugars, no dairy, gluten free. And it has 22 g of protein. This is really a meal in a bar. So whenever, wherever I travel, I take some. At least enough for breakfast every day, just in case, then for airport meals/snacks. If I only need a snack, I try to mark the half point and just eat half. They have other bars, but this is the only one with enough protein to be considered a meal. The only place I have been able to find these is at The Vitamin Shoppe, but they also sell online.

  40. Fiona

    I always take my own food. I’ve rarely found anything I could safely eat in an airport (can’t eat the bananas) and sometimes they forget about the gluten-free meal that I’ve ordered for that 10-hour flight too (it’s happened about 50% of the time). It really sucks — but to be glutened and have to take a plane is one of those scenarios I would do just about anything to avoid again.
    As to airplane food, most airlines seem to go for — and I understand the economics of this — one meal option to satisfy their vegan / GF / fat-free / taste-free customers and what you get is dry and unappetising with a rice cake or three. The best place for GF foodon my travels so far was Australia — everywhere from motorway service stations to the airport had some form of GF food available — it wasn’t always the best, but it was safe to eat.

  41. jeanelane

    Chicago’s O’Hare Airport has real restaurants. I usually go to Chili’s and have a salad with vinegar and oil.

    Albuquerque’s Sunport is the pits for food. Make sure you bring your own unless you like nuts and stuff like that for snacks. Nothing good for meals as yet. Maybe sometime in the next year, they will actually open a restaurant. But I won’t hold my breath!

    1. Kendra

      Had to laugh at this because a decade ago, my husband managed the restaurants at the Albuquerque Sunport! That job literally drove him to drink (and it was soon after that they were all closed). Allergy awareness was the least of their problems! The rest of Albuquerque is catching up though and outside the airport you have a reasonable selection.

  42. Jen Brown

    We’ve lived in two countries and travelled quite a lot with our celiac daughter. I write a blog about our experiences.

    Easiest places: UK (including the very easy Heathrow Terminal 5), Sweden, and Spain. Hardest places: China (soy sauce in everything!), Disneyland Paris, and, as you note, most US airports…

  43. Gluten Free Mrs D

    Shauna, what a fantastic post! I’ve really enjoyed reading through all the great gluten free suggestions for US airports. One Flew South sounds amazing!

    I fly frequently and living in London, I fly out of Heathrow and Gatwick. Both have chain type restaurants where you can find something gluten free, although the cost can be expensive (e.g., the v overpriced £14.95 steak and salad at Cafe Rouge at Gatwick recently). The outward journey is usually OK since I can either take something with me (like a sandwich with Genius bread) or eat at the airport. It’s the return flight I find harder. I usually pack some bread or crackers and pick up cheese or salami at a supermarket before leaving my trip’s location or worst case scenario air-side at the airport.

    Today I flew back from a rather random weekend in Tirana, Albania and as I knew there wouldn’t be any in flight gluten free catering and I’d have trouble finding something suitable in Tirana, I took a pack of Dietary Specials Brown Ciabatta rolls (love them!) and a pack of John West tuna which comes in a plastic pouch to make a sandwich onboard.

  44. AmandaonMaui

    Please be aware, if you are flying to Hawaii you cannot bring any fruits or vegetables with you for the flight. You also can’t take any on the plane when you leave, unless they are things like pineapples that are sold flight ready for your checked luggage.

    This has definitely made it difficult for my flights to the east coast (long domestic flights with no meals offered). I take nuts, food bars, and jerky. I may take gluten free oatmeal and flavored protein powder the next time I fly. Thankfully I only fly once every two years.

    I’ve read mixed things about whether or not you can take things Luke pb&j sandwiches on the plane. Some people have reported that TSA officials pull apart sandwiches and stick their gloved fingers in them. Um. Ew. I’ve also read that even if you have a medical condition requiring special food the TSA workers can deny your access to these foods. Some people have had luck with taking larger amounts of gels, liquids and nut butters through security if they have a medical condition and doctor’s note.

    What do you all say?

    1. Anne

      For the information shared about traveling to and from Hawaii.… It is my understanding that you can take food on the plane but you cannot disembark with the fresh fruits and vegetables. What you didn’t eat must stay on the plane. We have had this situation going and returning from Hawaii. Also, I have carried whatever I want to Europe and into France and Italy, but on the return to the US, most fresh items must be left onboard once you land in the US. This makes a big difference and gives you more choices for your packed food.

  45. Laurie

    In Boston we have Legal Seafood (mentioned earlier) in Terminal C, and LTK (Legal Test Kitcken) in terminal A, which when you eat in always ask if anyone in your party has food allergies. They also have great takeout and it’s easy to find gluten free options. They are also very happy to accommodate any special requests.

  46. Vive

    I just want to say that I’m excited that you’re coming to Austin. Any other events besides the conference? I’d love to come out for a reading and signing.

    I think you’ll find this a friendly city for gluten-free dining. Our airport food is all from local restaurants (including the amazing Salt Lick bbq) with local music piped through the speakers. And there are terrific restaurants in town and a generally good awareness of food allergies. Be sure to check out the flagship Whole Foods store, any food-lovers’ mecca. Have some bbq, then balance it out with a trip to Casa de Luz for macrobiotic in an idyllic environment. But be warned: it’s HOT here. Very.

    Hope you enjoy your visit.

  47. Dawn Wentzell

    Eating in airports and on planes is such a pain. I usually travel internationally, between Canada & the US, so I can’t bring food items from home through customs to eat on the plane. I’m stuck with whatever I can find behind security.

    Fortunately, cross-contamination isn’t a huge issue for me, so I can eat salads, french fries and things like that. Before boarding my flight, I always hit up a news stand for a KIND bar (if I’m in the US — we don’t have those in Canada) and a bag of plain chips to take on the plane. I eat a lot of chips and french fries when I travel…

    1. Jenn

      Starbucks carries KIND bars in Canada — they’re available at the airport as well as the stores — I have one for breakfast on rushed mornings. If you want a greater selection Whole Foods/Capers carry more varieties

    2. Ali

      I’ve never had any trouble taking food through security in either direction between Canada and the US by plane (and I fly a lot…). I do carry a letter from my doctor, but have never been asked to show it. In fact, the only time I had trouble was when importing a bag of flour from Italy…yep…that caused some consternation at security!

  48. Anne

    When we travel internationally we pack food into a carry-on bag, and find that TSA always allows a gel pack if I have a written explanation that says “dietary restrictions”. I pack our food in Ziploc plastic hard sided containers. When we arrive at our destination I keep them handy and use them when needed. The last night before we return to the US we order a nice GF dinner somewhere, and I order an extra meal or serving. When we get back to the hotel I pack this half of a roasted chicken or whatever we purchased into the containers that came with me. I store it in the mini-fridge after taking all the drinks out of the way. Or if it is a small inn I ask them to store it in a fridge, along with my gel pack that needs to be frozen. So far, we have not had to resort to buying airport food. And that’s a good thing! Planning ahead has worked for us.…. so far.

  49. Adina

    Like a lot of folks have said above, I’d like to echo the importance of bringing your own food when traveling! And it’s actually why I really started blogging in the first place! I travel a lot of my job and not to a lot of bigger airports that tend to have greater resources to address various types of diets. A couple of months ago I took a long trip to New Zealand and wrote a whole post about what I did to prepare myself;
    http://glutenfreetravelette.blogspot.com/2011/01/gluten-free-in-new-zealand.html

    As far as airports go, I’ve been happy to find the occasional friendly place, but I’ve also encountered some issues. For example, some chain restaurants have different menus and options at airport facilities than in regular restaurants (read: less gluten free safe options). I also heard that the Anthony’s Fish House at SeaTac, that once had a gluten free menu, no longer does.

    Also, a lot of folks have mentioned sushi, but I’ve encountered a couple of places that use gluten containing grain-based vinegar to make their sushi rice rather than rice vinegar. So it’s important to check even though traditionally it should be made with rice vinegar.

    So there’s my two cents! I hope the options continue to grow!

    1. merrie

      Hi Adina, the only vinegar that is not gluten free is malt vinegar. All vinegars, even grain based ones, are distilled and the heavy gluten protein molecule doesn’t come through into the final product. When I found this out, it made a world of difference in eating out!

      1. nikki

        and you can only use certain brands of apple cider vinegar if youre corn-sensitive. This restricts me, but you have a lot of lovely flavors you can choose from!

  50. Jenn

    I just flew from Vancouver (Canada) to JFK and had a positive experience with Cathay Pacific’s in flight meals — they weren’t super special but they definitely were not offensive. Unfortuneately most airlines don’t provide included meals and those that offer purchasable meals leave little for those who cannot have gluten. I have like you found that there is a lot of struggle when it comes to finding meals while in the airport or on layovers that are quick and available.

    Thanks for the links — I hope to learn from those who’ve been more successful than I.

  51. Morgan

    Great post!

    I’ve been gf going on ten years and love to travel so I’m often stuck in airports. I used to wander, forlorn and hungry. These days I bring almost everything with me. I always have apples (sliced and in a ziploc), cookies and dried fruit. I eat a nice big breakfast with loads of protein on the day of travel and pick up hard boiled eggs in the airport if I see them. Also, I splurge on the giant iced starbucks drinks with soy milk to get protein while on the move (I’m dairy free). If there is gf pizza in the town I’m departing from, I buy a pizza (or two) the night before and pack it in a big ziploc bag. On a flight a few years ago to Paris I merrily munched on cold pizza as we flew over the North Pole. Lays classic chips are gf and good for a snack in the airport — subway usually carries them. If you can find an Asian restaurant, they’ll often have plain rice and steamed edamame and even cool hours later — these will still hit the spot.

    I also bring an empty nalgene or steel water bottle and fill it up in the airport. Staying hydrated helps with the hunger pains and any digestive issues that may crop up.

    Getting food through security can be a challenge and the key is to pack it assembled (when possible) — make the sandwiches, salads, pizza, etc. This usually helps me to get the TSA staff to consider them not liquids. Also, know your ounce limits and honor them. Buy liquid or gel snacks that come packaged under the required volume for TSA requirements. And, where you fly out of matters. Flying out of airports here in the Northwest, I can usually convince the staff that hummous is safe. Trying that trick in Kansas City did not work so well.

    Planning ahead is the key and for those moments when all plans go to heck — I fall back on an iced starbucks as big as my head, an apple and a bag of lays potato chips. These cover the main travel food components of protein, caffeine, fruit, sugar, carbs, fat and salt. And always, always try to have the people who pick you up from the airport bring you real food or know where you’re stopping on your way from the airport for a snack. I’ve even called the hotel ahead of time and chatted with the chef so that my dinner that first night is known about by the kitchen staff and I just have to call down or stop by the restaurant and introduce myself.

    And, when flying international it can be a lot easier to be gf. Virgin has delightful gf meals and most of the other carriers have acceptable ones.

  52. Abbey

    I haven’t done too many long trips since my diagnosis almost three years ago, but I always bring snacks when I travel, because I haven’t ever had a GF snack offered on a flight.

    When the new airport opens in Winnipeg, Mb, Canada, they’re going to have a branch of an awesome Winnipeg mini-chain called Stella’s. They have awesome food, everything’s made from scratch and they’ve always been very careful and knowledgeable with allergies in my experience. Hopefully the airport location will live up to that.

  53. Em

    I was only 16 years old when I had my worst experience trying to eat gluten free in an airport on my high school trip to England and France from British Columbia, Canada. We had a several hour layover in Toronto. The airport actually had one restaurant in it so I thought I would be okay. I told the server I had celiac and that I could not eat gluten/wheat. He got his manager to come out and tell me that they couldn’t serve me any food because they couldn’t guarantee there was no wheat in the food I was eating. WTF. They refused to serve me food and additionally had the nerve to tell me that I probably couldn’t eat at the snack shop across from them that served yoghurt, fruit, salads and chocolate bars. I wish I hadn’t been 16. I wish I had been more confident to speak up for myself and demand they serve me something as basic as rice and veggies instead of sitting there embarrassed and hungry while I watched my friends eat their delicious meals before our 11 hour flight. This incident is still something that I am sore about five years later.

  54. Nells

    I have traveled alot Gf and it has it’s ups and downs. I make sure to identify storesand places to buy food at my destination. If international I research Gf foods before I leave so I know what is safe. Always have a small stash for the plane ride home. I always carry single serving peanut butter and have never had trouble in airports anywhere. Rice cakes and cere travel well for a few weeks. However break downs do happen.…I was hungry inithuania but kept reminding myself it was a out the sights and people. Croatia and Italy were a
    Amazing places to eat well and the UK is quite aware. NYC had lots of options but it is always hard to walk by the pretzels on the street. Tortillas, chips, dried fruits, nuts, Lara bars, Udi bagels, gorilla munch, glutino pretzels and rice cakes all travel well. I also always make baked goods either muffins or cookies to have on the journey so I don’t feel bad about everything I can’t eat!

  55. Pétra (Creative Mom)

    I have always traveled with Larabars, tons of them! Lately though it has been easier to find other options in airports and thankfully airlines like Alaskan have some better options. I still remember the horrible rice cake meals they used to serve for gluten free when they did give you food.

  56. Coach Laura

    Shauna, thanks for this article! I was new to gluten-free when you went on your honeymoon and I remember your unhappiness. I’ve learned a lot since then and things have changed a bit.

    I wish they’d had One Flew South in 2009 when I was flying through Atlanta a lot. I remember walking through the Detroit airport in 2009 and only finding nothing to eat. I thought the prawn cocktail would work, but nope– it had soy sauce.

    I just traveled on business last week and if traveling g-f is bad, business travel g-f is worse. One the way home, I wanted to stop and get take-out from PF Changs but didn’t have time, so I missed lunch. I watched my associates eat fish-n-chips at the airport while I had my Lara bar. I flew Horizon, which only offered pretzels…even though Horizon is part of Alaska we didn’t get the g-f treats. So I had my Snickers as a treat. Lara bars, KIND bars, almonds and dried fruit are my saviors.

  57. Victoria

    Other reliable fast food option… Jimmy Johns. They have their un-wiches, and the first time I went to a Jimmy Johns and asked “if you can be careful, I have a wheat allergy” and the young girl went “Oh, celiac?” and then she changed her gloves, brought out a clean cutting board and knives and worked in a different area than the regular area, also pulled meats from the bottom of the piles of meat, etc., I almost started crying right there in the middle of the store.

    Note: My boss is also wheat-sensative, and when she goes she doesn’t say she has an allergy, they just make it in the regular area and don’t take any other precautions.

  58. Jenn

    For us this is a real problem as well. My husband is gluten free and it’s not only the airport that is the problem, but the in-flight meals as well. So many of the airlines that we use to travel across the ocean back to visit family in the US no longer carry or offer gluten free meals. Last year once my husband was actually able to request a gluten free meal, and he got one rice cake and about 6 grapes to last him an overnight flight. This year he hasn’t been so lucky and has just had to be hungry. I’d love to learn about what foods we could actually bring into an airport, as I never know what counts as a liquid or not and where we live prepackaged gluten free snacks are hard to find…

    1. Rachel Grundy

      If you’re flying from the UK, take Virgin Atlantic. I request a GF meal when I book my flight and every time, it has been delicious and the first meal served! :)

      Their snack choices aren’t so good — basically just fruit while my hubby gets a brownie — so I take a couple of treats with me. However it makes the 6 1/2 hour flight so much more pleasant to know I’m getting a filling and safe dinner.

  59. Kristin

    Okay, I’m confused. I thought I COULD eat xanthan gum — I’m really new to all this. Still beginning to learn what to look for on labels. HELP!

    1. Bethington

      Xanthan gum is gluten free. Some people avoid it because the gums cause them digestive difficulties. Xanthan gum is also derived from corn, so people who are sensitive to corn also avoid it.

      1. Kristin

        Thanks, Bethington. It’s quite a journey to figure all this out, but I’m excited about it!

        1. nikki

          its a long road, and it is one BIG adventure. what did peter pan say? life is one awfully big adventure?
          (Shauna, you might be able to help me with that)
          Guar gum is a legume, not to be confused with agar, which is from seaweed. xantham gum is a bacteria grown on corn. all of these are becoming more prevalent in gf mixes– ive never eaten from a mix!
          Amazing things I’m seeing being done: flaxseeds into egg substitutes, chia seeds to create a gel that ALSO supposedly can help with egg replacement (as well as nutrients!), and a LOT of gf bread recipes I am seeing are calling for gelatin– thats creative! Be aware of your brands though, if youre allergic to beef, Knox isnt a good choice.
          I’m loving watching “Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen” on the scifi channel. itsall about cooking using molecular gastronomy.. and he uses a lot of ideas that we do! But since he can play with temperature, guar gum can take on a whole new form.
          Basically, the idea is to take it all apart and put it all back together. chili? rice and veggies and beans base, with a ball of savory meats that opened like a coconut, because he was able to toss it into the deep fryer/freezer fast enough. i wouldnt use some of the chemicals.. but I really loved watching his thought process!

    2. shauna

      someone has already answered this but xanthan gum is gluten-free. I have learned that it does nothing good for my digestion, so I have eliminated it and guar gum. (Many people report the same.) but you don’t have to avoid it unless it causes you upset!

  60. Ann from Montana

    I can’t speak to the airport food issue as I rarely fly anymore and I am gf by choice not necessity.

    BUT, I did make the potato salad! I don’t normally like potato salad but this recipe sounded so good and I was planning on my first try at homemade mayonnaise so this was perfect. I mixed baby reds and baby golds — roasted as you instructed with skin on. I didn’t have fresh dill but otherwise followed the recipe with my homemade mayo (which is wonderful!!!) and love this potato salad. It was good fresh and as you said, even better after sitting for a bit. Delicious with oven dried cherry tomatoes and a few kalamata olives.

    Thank you!

  61. lissa

    Thank you for sharing about Alaska Airlines! I’ve been gluten free for 20 years and travel is starting to get easier than it was. Recently we stayed at the Atlantis in the Bahamas and their chefs are trained to provide gluten free meals for their guests. It was wonderful to be able to travel without feeling sick.

    I came to your blog looking for a good pizza dough recipe. My sister and I will be taking your class at the Pantry in Sept. and I’m looking forward to it!

  62. Hail Merry

    Not to market, but more of a heads up… Hail Merry snacks are Certified Gluten-Free (as well as raw and vegan) and are started to be available in airports nationwide. We’re currently in Atlanta, DFW, Boston and Newark. More soon!!

  63. Lucia McElveen

    OMG I soooo feel your pain… I was on an international flight not once or twice, but four times the past year. Unfortunately only one flight was I able to plan for the flight and take some goodies. The US Army is not a Gluten Free Happy place.… Thankfully I was able to find a cheese a fruit plate in Iceland and one in Starbucks. Even the million of meals they served us was covered by unmentionable thick sauces that I swear looked at me. So I sat back stomach rumbling and chewed on my beef jerky and pilfered Apple from the Defac.

    1. nikki

      Considering how hard it is to stay safe in a hospital, I have to give you mad props for being celiac in the army. I’m intolerant, but not celiac, and some days its more than I can stand even to get UP. Thank you for all you do, and some inspiration and bravery for some of us to peek out of our shells and go “ok, we can DO this”

  64. Jeri

    In the Austin airport, for your flight back home, both Maudie’s (mexican) and Salt Lick (BBQ) can accommodate you. Both are local chains and have more extensive GF menus outside of the airport but do Okay at the airport. Maudie’s doesn’t always carry the 100% corn tortillas for enchiladas at the airport but they are supposed to and you can get a salad base with enchilada meat and sauce if they are out (their tomatilla sauce is great!) All beans and rice are Okay there too. At Salt Lick, they’ll go to the back and cut new meat for you–all meat, sauce and sides are fine–at the restaurant, literally only the cobbler and bread are off limits (no liquor license so not even any beer to be off limits! BYO.) Good luck–Austin is a wonderful place to be celiac.

    For our travels, we fly frequently to Baltimore. We aim to leave Austin in the evening (because there are good options for dinner) and leave Baltimore in the morning (as much as I hate serving my three year old McDonald’s, the egg/sausage/hashbrown breakfast does keep you full forever–but it often takes me three plates to get one that I’m satisfied didn’t ever have a biscuit or pancakes on it. In Houston Hobby, a frequent connection in and out of Austin, I’ve vetted Pappa’s Burgers for their plain hot dog (which is at least 12″ long and comes with dozens of available toppings) and their hamburgers. No fries (they were aware enough to know that even though they officially have separate fryers, they combine when one is being cleaned) but they’ll get chips next door from Subway for you.

    Thanks for posting this topic–perfect as we head into the summer travel season!

  65. animasolaarts

    Wendy’s is my airport standard on domestic layovers (such that it is). I usually pack some snacks — trail mix, lara bars and the like. I’ve had some luck requesting gluten-free meals on international flights but it varies.

    I had a layover at DFW not too long ago and found myself looking longingly at Pappasito’s Cantina. The girl at the front asked if I’d like to sit and I told her that I’d love to, but I was allergic to gluten. She came back with the manager who was more than happy to walk me through what I could and could not eat. Between the grilled fish tacos and the margarita, I was just happy as could be.

  66. Heather

    I’m traveling to the Dardogne region of France in June and have been stressed about food ever since the plans were made. My list of foods to avoid keeps getting longer, which will make it harder to travel. Corn is the latest suspect along with gluten, oats, dairy, peanuts, and almonds. I haven’t found a power bar I can have and to buy enough snacks for the whole trip will break the bank (usually tiny bags of raw food snacks for around $5)! I’m feeling so anxious that I almost wish I wasn’t going.

    1. Kristin

      Heather, I’m sorry you are stressing about your trip. I hope others on this gf trip will jump in and help you. I’m so new to it I have no clue what to tell you, except bon voyage and I hope you are able to enjoy every minute.

    2. MaryAnn

      We spent three weeks in Provence in small towns last fall. Take a card in French that explains the problem. Smile a lot, say merci a lot and you will find that they can accommodate you really well. Only one problem in three weeks and that was because the Celiac husband did not want to believe there was gluten in the dessert. The French use a lot of fresh fruits, vegetables, great meat and wonderful seafood. They will exclude the sauces and still provide you with a wonderful meal.

  67. mwaters

    My new favorite in Austin for take out is SnapKitchen in the Triangle. Fresh salads and entrees and snacks and almost all of it gluten free. I ate better than anyone else on my recent flight to Minneapolis, and more days than not pick up something for lunch at work. Good choice of portion sizes, too and nutritional information on everything. Their website is http://www.snapkitchen.com. Enjoy Austin. I’m sorry to miss the conference.

  68. Kendra

    Shauna,
    Thanks for a great post and for all your fantastic work. I am planning a cross country road trip and am panicking as I will be staying with family who have a very uneducated attitude. I kid you not, I was told, “you can eat this, it’s not wheat bread, it’s French bread!!!” Have also been todl that I won’t be able to eat something because these are yukon gold potatoes and those are the kind with gluten. My parents travel overseas and my mom has always had to pack her own food for all travel times.
    Beyond the travel issues, living GF in a very small town in SE New Mexico has been a nightmare. No farm stands, not farmer’s markets, no healthy stores. I can shop at Wal Mart and Albertson’s, and ours are very small stores with limited merchandise. I love when you include links for products as most of what I buy comes in the mail! I dream longingly of Trader Joe’s and anywhere I can get fresh, in-season produce. I have a 2–4 hour drive to get to anywhere with a better selection. Needless to say, I am anxious for my garden to start producing.
    I have enjoyed and appreciate all the comments here as well as the posts. Thank you for helping spread the word.

  69. Terri

    I bought the GF pack the last time I was on an Alaska flight. I was not even hungry, but felt the need to support their effort.

    I find I eat potato chips and cashews when hanging out in airports. I have also found that I lose weight when I travel because of limited food choices.

  70. Julie Seifert

    My husband and I travel out of the country a couple of times a year so I know what a big problem this can be. The last time we flew Continental to Germany they told us they no longer offer the gluten free dinner. This is after we ordered it, confirmed and were up in the air! Now that is rude, it’s a long flight. Luckily I learned my lesson years ago. My carry on always contains Lara bars, packages of nuts and apples. It’s not ideal but it’s better than starving and actually better than most airline food. I normally look at my husband’s dinner and feel a little sorry for him. Honey would you like a pack of cashews? I never thought before about bringing my own real food like potato salad with me. Would they let me on the plane with it? We head to Mexico in two weeks maybe I will give that a try. Everyone on the plane will be jealous. ?

  71. Leslie DR

    I was traveling from Newark to Phoenix and back again this holiday weekend and this post was just so timely! For some reason, perhaps because of all of the security hassles and seeing so much “old” food that I miss, I find that airports are just about the hardest places to be gluten-free — not to find things to eat, because that IS getting easier — and I just start feeling sorry for myself, which is not my usual attitude. Fortunately, my family is very supportive and on the lookout for things I can eat and I now have so many new suggestions. In the last two years, since my diagnosis, I have usually found that eating out gluten-free has been a journey towards acceptance of certain limitations and a path towards finding new things to eat and enjoy instead. But airports are just so stressful these days, it’s hard to find that comfort food, that guilty pleasure, that gets you past all the things Shauna mentioned in her post. Thanks for all of the great suggestions, many of you mention the things I do — and preparing for unexpected layovers is crucial. I had very good gf meals on flights to and from Israel on Continental this winter, but they weren’t dairy-free. Safe travels to all!

  72. Margaret

    Nutsonline has cereal, nuts, dried fruit and a few other various portable snacks (like freeze dried fruits and veggies) in their gluten-free section. It’s not a hot meal, but will certainly take the edge off your hunger!

  73. Tianna

    When I travel I bring an absolute barrage of food with me, so much so that I it gets its own carry on bag (which my bf just *loves* to get stuck carrying >.<). I see it as some of you have said; it’s under my control, and my control only, to keep myself healthy and safe when I travel gluten-free. Unfortunately that also brings with it a “TRUST NO ONE!” mentality, but that’s really because so many are less educated than we are about gluten and will unintentionally make us sick. Since I don’t like to be forced to just have snacky things for all day travel, I will pack quite an array of foods to take with (I’m also food ADD, so I don’t like to eat the same thing monotonously). I also always try to get a mini fridge in the hotel so that, if I haven’t managed to eat the whole shebang I can store it once I arrive.

    Foods high in protein are super important. I actually plan my whole eating strategy every day around protein content. Bringing some protein powder for emergencies is a great idea as well. I use Designer Whey that I get at my Trader Joe’s, that is GF, SF, CF, no artificial colors and no MSG. You can always turn a napkin into a funnel and pour it into your water bottle for a quick protein infusion (this one is 18g protein and only 100 calories).

    I have had questions from security about my bag-o-food, and it is *always* meticulously searched by them, but I tell them I have a medical issue and it is necessary to travel with my own food at all times. I haven’t had a problem with that yet. I also have the TSA website at the ready on my smart-phone, just in case they think they know something that they don’t (I swear some of them are just making up rules willy nilly…). The website doesn’t go into detail about what they will allow, but it also doesn’t specify what they WON’T allow, so it’s a good thing to have handy in case you’re told conflicting information.
    (http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/editorial_1667.shtm)

    My best advice is to always always bring your own food. Why pay someone to contaminate your body? And why pay $14 for lettuce and salad dressing? Or $9 for a bowl of steamed rice? I’ll be perfectly happy with my pre-made chicken skewers, PCC kale salad, cucumbers & havarti, apples & peanut butter, rice chips, mini pepperonis, olive tapenade & brown rice wraps, and and and and and (did I mention I bring a lot of food??)

    Good luck everyone! Shauna I’m loving these teaching posts. I continuously send people to your blog whether they’re GF or not. :D

    (and for any of you knitwits or happy hookers out there, this link is for the allowance of knitting needles and crochet hooks onto planes.. just thought I’d share so they don’t mistakenly try to take them away from you!
    http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/editorial_1252.shtm)

  74. Kate

    this is great! something you said in this post triggered a thought — can you do a post about how you deal with waitstaff, etc, and the specific questions you have? One of the problems I had when I first went gluten-free was sticking up for myself and also worrying about being an “inconvenience.” I’d be interested to hear some insight on that. thanks for a great series, as always!

  75. Krystal

    Thank you for this post! I always pack several protein bars when I’m traveling. Certainly not the ideal situation, but hopefully things will improve. Also, thank you for the restaurant suggestions in DC! I got to your blog through the NYTimes website, and I will now be a loyal reader!

  76. Christina

    You mentioned the quality of food in hospitals…it is truly dire. I work in the largest public hospital in the county as an RN, and I refuse to eat the food at my hospital’s cafeteria. Besides being rife with gluten, the food is just plain BAD for you, and with the exception of the floor dieticians, cafeteria workers have no clue what ‘gluten free’ is. I kept getting sick when I ate downstairs, so now I pack all my food. It’s sad, but gotta be safe!

  77. Rachel Grundy

    I fly at least once or twice a year, as my family live in the UK and my husband’s family are in Texas, and we are in New York. For domestic flights, I always bring something with me to snack on and get a salad at the airport (usually I can find a Greek salad or something with protein in it that I can eat) for the plane. JFK is pretty decent for finding good food options, as it’s such a large airport, especially the new JetBlue terminal which is AMAZING. Newark is pretty crappy and has little in the way of food full stop, let alone GF, but they are doing work on the terminal I usually fly out of so fingers crossed it will improve. LaGuardia is ok and there are always snack options at Starbucks and the news stands.

    I religiously fly Virgin Atlantic to the UK as their GF meals are actually really good. The snack options are basically fruit, so I bring a chocolate treat for myself to avoid staring at my husband while he eats his brownie in jealousy! The UK is pretty great for GF labelling which makes finding food at airports pretty good — as someone else said, Marks & Spencer’s are great with their packaged food and there’s almost always a M&S in a UK airport terminal.

    Happy travelling everyone!

  78. jen

    i use my “is that gluten free: eating out” iphone app a lot when traveling, which is pretty much the only time i have to go to chain restaurants. the app tells what does and does not have gluten in many chain restaurants.

    and in some travels a couple weeks ago, i learned, while on a layover in DALLAS, that the subway there offers gluten free sandwich bread (and it’s not that bad!) and gluten free brownies! (it’s an experimental and temporary offering, apparently, but i hope it catches on!)
    http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/cityofate/2011/01/subway_tests_a_gluten-free_san.php

    here’s a guide to GF airport offerings:
    http://glutenfreeville.com/featured/gluten-free-airport-fare

  79. lisa

    This is as good a place as ever to report that my husband and I have had some WONDERFUL experiences with Chili’s restaurants in airports. We don’t usually eat in chain restaurants (we live in the SF Bay area — too many good places that make us food snobs) — but the service we received a few years back in Minneapolis especially was extraordinary. At first, the girl at the hostess stand had no idea what we were talking about, but then our server told us about the GF menu and how her uncle was celiac, so she knew exactly what we needed. AND THEN, the manager came out as he was putting on an apron and went over everything with me on the menu while he stated, “I’m cooking for you, no one is getting sick on MY watch”. I think it’s obvious why Chili’s has a special place in our hearts. They are our fall back whenever we fly and have long layovers. Thanks, Chili’s!

  80. Kati

    Airports is a disaster.
    My son cannot have gluten neither milk nor soy, nor lemon. Airports are awful and because of multiple allergies, the airplane GF meal is also normally not edible for him. We travel with our hand luggage full of food (not liquid, of course) and considering that our average travel is from 12 to 36 hours, it is quite an amount of food. Also, he is generally a bad eater and refuses to eat the same food several times in a row, so travelling is a disaster. We normally order each a different type of meal in the plane: one GF, one Asian vegeterian (w/o milk) and something else and see of there’s something that can be eaten.
    At any rate, I would have never thought that tortilla and potato chips can turn into a “health food” for you at some spoint, but there really are times when there is nothing else for him to eat.

  81. K8

    I recently went on a week-long trip to Arizona and while I packed my own snacks for the flights, I was worried about what I would eat while I was there, especially because I’m used to having a smoothie for breakfast every day. I know my hotel room had a fridge, so I brought my stick blender and the mixing container it came with and once I got there, I made a quick trip to the grocery store and bought some frozen fruit and organic soymilk. I had brought my own protein powder and flax meal. Even though the frozen fruit thawed, I was still able to make a week’s worth of breakfast smoothies every morning, and my stomach and I were perfectly happy with salads and lean proteins the rest of the time.

  82. Gretchen

    I didn’t know that about L&P Worcestershire sauce, that’s great news. I’ve been using some vegan gf sauce that’s pretty good but it’s not quite the same.

    For travel I like to make sure I have plenty of snacks for the trip — favorites are easily portable pre-packaged things like Tanka bars and Larabars. I also usually toss a few of those wonderful shelf-stable Tastybite packets into my suitcase for the other end, along with some packets of shelf-stable rice. For nonpackaged snacks, dried fruit and beef jerky and nuts are all good, along with some good chocolate. I also really like well-aged gouda, which is hard enough to not count as a gel and will keep at room temperature for a long time; I saw it on a Burning Man cheese list. It’s good plain or with fruit. Carry enough snacks to be able to make it through an unplanned delay… you’re a lot happier if you aren’t sitting six hours without anything to eat.

    I carry water bottles and fill them at the other end, and tea bags which I can get hot water for. I sometimes also carry dry bean soup. Hot water can be gotten at any coffee stand.

    On the travel day I pack something dry in a see-through container. Fried rice/quinoa or a chickpea/rice mix is good for this. Nothing too smelly.

    When I’m coming home if I have a chance I like to go to an Indian restaurant the night before and get an extra serving of vegetable biryani to pack in that same container. If I’m staying at a place where I can cook (we do that a lot when traveling as it makes life so much easier) then I might cook some fried rice or biryani or something for the return leg, but it’s nice to be able to get it to-go. Fried rice is fine for a while at room temperature.

    You can get small bamboo sporks at some stores… they’re very short (no handle to speak of) so they pack easily and have a reversible spoon/fork, and are cheap enough that if security decides to be mean they aren’t too bad to replace. I’ve never had a problem getting them through security.

    I have corn, apple, and peanut allergies as well as gluten intolerance so it’s like spotting a unicorn to find food I can eat at an airport. Sometimes I luck out and can get a chocolate bar, and of course there’s bananas. In ten years of having celiac disease I’ve only gotten one gluten-free meal on an airplane as well, though I’ve also only traveled domestically and have always requested gluten-free meals. I don’t plan for it and always pack my own if I’m going to need to eat on the plane. It was however pretty good and had clear labels with the ingredients so I could also avoid the corny parts. I have heard that checking ‘kosher’ as well can help reduce the corn.

    I always look for a natural foods supermarket on the other end. Whole Foods is adequate but local is usually better, especially co-ops. I can find a few things to eat at a regular supermarket but the produce is usually all full of corn wax, so I prefer places where I can get less “shined” produce.

    Oh, and I love canned chickpeas for an emergency meal. A little heavy for traveling with but they are really simple to get on location. Mix with a little olive oil and salt or vinegar and it’s enough protein and fat to keep you going. I carry olive oil and vinegar with me.

  83. PRCroom

    Ate at One Flew South today. Ditto on everything you said! It was funny though that the waiter said there seems to be a lot more gluten free people that he ever imagined. I asked if that had changed in the last month or so and he said yes as a matter of fact! You’ve bumped up their business apparently. I referred them to your blog. Thanks!

  84. kim

    Someone told me recently that if you get a letter from your Dr stating your special dietary requirement many airlines will allow you an extra bag to carry all that food we need to take with us. We always take lots of snacks on board plus some ready prepared food and always have a letter from the doc saying why we need it. We’ve never been asked for the letter but it stays with our passports!

  85. Becca

    I always fly with enough GF staples to allow for my anticipated 5 hour travel day to turn into a long 18 — 20 hour day without becoming a disaster. I typically pack:
    * individual packets of rice protein powder (to mix into a pre-made smoothie, like naked, which i can purchase at most food stands)
    * a large bag of trail mix (nuts, raisins, whatever)
    * a bag of either GF pretzels (Gluteno) or GF crackers
    * carrot sticks, veggies, apple, oranges: fresh food tastes even better in an airport
    * a couple GF snack bars (such as Lara bars)
    * fruit leathers
    * squeeze packets of nut butter (you can find these at most co-ops) to have with my apples or carrots
    * cheese and GF pepperoni
    The best part of these snacks, is if your travel goes as planned, you are all set with snacks for the trip! If not, its easy enough to restock at almost any store before heading home. AND it is a lot cheaper than what you’d find at the airport!

  86. Rebecca @ How the Cookies Crumble

    As someone who travels for a living I could not relate to this post more. Airport food is never good, but now Aunt Annie’s Pretzles and Subway sandwiches taunt me as I eat my tub of iceberg lettuce. I love traveling but it always makes me miss being home and eating a good meal!

  87. Samantha

    I’ve forced myself to accept the likely reality of never being able to truly travel ever again, at least not without having somewhere with a kitchen and a grocer already prepared. I can’t eat most grains (gluten-free as a part of this), many oils (soy, corn, vegetable), and most legumes. I have to severely restrict most starchy vegetables and dairy. I’m quite happy to eat a simple grilled piece of meat over some blanched veg, but that is apparently quite difficult to find in restaurants, never mind airports, especially when there is a language barrier. I haven’t tried camping yet, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to subsist off of home-made jerky, Larabars (though none of the peanut ones), home-made trail-mix, (and home-made burgers and sausages on the shorter trips). Similar provender could be packed for air (and train, boat, car) travel but would be difficult to pack in sufficient quantity and variety for a lengthy trip. Kale chips are a favourite of mine for snacking on long car-rides and would be a great treat for trips TO somewhere, although I don’t find that they last well enough to be something worth relying on.

  88. christina

    We will be traveling to Boston with a lay-over in Phoenix with our 6 year old who is celiac. Any suggestions for GF, kid friendly, and not super expensive places to eat with her and our other two teens? Thank you so much!!! This post and comments have been very helpful.

    1. li

      i know this is too late for christina, but here’s my recent experience at the Phoenix Airport (please note i’m not technically gluten intolerant, and am still working up the chutzpah to grill the servers, so ask them to be sure!):

      for one layover, i had breakfast at Barfly — i ordered the omelet which comes with mushrooms & spinach & parmesan — it was HUGE (3 eggs at least!) so you’ll definitely be sated! however it did come with a load of cubed fried potatoes which i didnt expect as i didnt see them listed on the menu. they came with a small bowl of ketchup and looked wonderful but i suspect may have had gluten on them somehow in the cooking process to get them so beautifully crusty brown. but the eggs were more than enough for me, and good.

      for another layover, i had lunch at Taberna del Tequileria. i ordered the chicken soft tacos which come on blue corn tortillas, with really delicious black beans & mexican rice & chips & a spicy salsa. the server was ‘pretty sure’ it was gluten-free :/ (another note, i’m trying to be dairy-free as well, so i asked for no cheese, but i think some of the orange-coloured corn chips seemed to have a ‘nacho’ flavour…) the meal on the whole was good and filling.

      each meal was about $10, and they were both more like sit-down restaurants, but believe they can pack the meals to-go as well.

      again, i dont need to be so strict for myself, and didnt think to ask about the kitchen practices, but i would suggest these two places at the Phoenix Airport as potentials if you find yourself there hungry and snack-less. hope these tips can at least guide those who are more inquisitive with the servers!

  89. Catherine

    Hello. I’ll be on a very long international trip with a 4 1/2 hour layover in the Houston airport. GF crackers and Laughing Cow cheese can only hold me for so long (customs won’t let me take food through US). My flights don’t offer any meals. Anyone know of any GF places in the Houston Airport? I’m also traveling alone with my 2 kids under 5 and being hungry could just throw me over the edge! THANK YOU!

  90. Joan

    I always take a lot of food with me:
    Lara, Kind and peanut crunch bars. Justin’s p-nut butter and Mary’s gone crackers. Go Picnic meals (need to watch the sodium on these, some are very high), small bags of trail mix from Trader Joe’s; fruit leathers and tea bags. I always carry gf soy sauce and packets of gf salad dressings.

    Us Air let me down on the way home — no gf meal even though I had ordered and confirmed. They did have one on the way there so I would say about 50 % of the time is about right. Did notice that they had a gf trail mix packet to be purchased for $4.00. Didn’t get one as I still had food in my pack.

  91. Anne

    Just in case someone hasn’t mentioned it yet. Air Canada provides meals on long haul flights (to Europe etc.) if you order before you can get a Gluten Free Meal. I’ve never had a problem and have been flying Air Canada Gluten Free for more than 20 years. Airports on the other hand, I agree, are brutal.

  92. Betsy

    We recently had a long lay-over in DFW. I was worried what we would eat, but found a wonderful place called U Food in the B terminal. My children and I enjoyed a meal of brown rice, steamed broccoli, chili, and mashed sweet potato. Everything we ate was both gluten and casein free and all very good. I had some of my own spices along to add a little umph to he brown rice. I would highly recommend going there.

  93. She.Rex

    We travel often, so I have a checklist before leaving:
    gf cinnamon-raisin toast (2 or more slices, toasted and cooled completely before packing)
    sliced cheddar cheese
    a really big bag of homemade trail mix (3–4 kinds each of nuts and dried fruit, plus dark chocolate chips)
    gf jerky
    a fresh salad in a plastic container, dressed before leaving the house with olive oil and lemon juice
    gf pretzels or rice chips — another very big bag
    fresh fruit, core removed if there is one — at least two kinds
    I buy water in the airport, then am set. Part of the trick here is to pack more food than I can eat in the expected time. If there is a longer layover than that, I have something, especially since it can be supplemented with a plain salad and a banana from the airport.
    On the way back, there is still trail mix and pretzels (I save up or buy more near the end of the trip), and I try to add the fruit and packed salad so what I eat ends up organic and tastier than what I can get in the airport. Either way, though, there is still enough food to tide me over. Keeps me from panicking! Sure is a lot easier since the TSA started allowing everything but liquids again — it was very tough for a while there.
    Hope this helps!
    Great tips from others here — I will be adding some of these to my own list. Thanks! And thanks, Shauna and everyone else for being here!

  94. Elanor

    Not sure if this has been mentioned, but Singapore Airlines is definitely worth checking out. They have an extensive list of meal options that you can choose from when booking or checking in online. The options cater for most religious, dietary, and medical requirements. Do check the mini dressing packets though — I once got a packet that said “contains gluten” on it. Thank goodness I checked! Having said that, the flight attendants were wonderful when I reported the mistake (its not their fault anyway) and brought me a little vial of olive oil for my salad. I’m GF, nut-free, and allergic to shellfish, but I’ve never had a problem after any of the meals. Hope this helps!

    1. Elanor

      I just took another flight with Singapore Airlines and requested the gluten free meal again when booking. This time, the dressing was most definitely gluten free. Looks like they took my report seriously from the last time I flew with them, and made the necessary changes. Kudos to them!

  95. Brigitte in Halifax

    Here in Canada, almost every airport (and every other street corner, for that matter!) has a Tim Horton’s coffee place — their chili is gluten-free. New York Fries’ poutine (a French-Canadian treat consisting of cheese French fries served with curds and hot gravy) is gluten-free. Also, in Canada only, for Kernel’s Popcorn, all of their products are now gluten-free (as well as nut-free).

    1. Mary

      Thanks for the tip on New York fries, I was sure the gravy would be full of gluten so stay away from it. Now I want Poutine!

  96. Jeanne

    My teenage daughter has been gluten-free for a month and it’s been SO much better! but I am worried about her traveling.

    I just had to travel for work to the Greenville-Spartanburg airport in South Carolina, and was delighted to find a Healthy Snacks concession in the waiting area by the gates. This is a small airport, with just one gift shop and one restaurant, therefore I was very surprised to find a shop where half of the stock was gluten-free! (and well-labeled!). The woman working there was a sub, but she said the usual people are very well informed on all the health issues, and she did have an information sheet that allowed me to easily find out which things they carried were gluten-free or dairy-free. I was so happy I went back 3 times to buy things! They carried snacks that we can’t get in our stores at home. I know it’s not the same as restaurant, and I’d hate to have to survive 12 hours on nothing but that, but I was glad to know that they had food my daughter could eat without getting sick. I kept buying stuff hoping to help them stay in business!

    So sometimes a small airport can be better than a large one.

    Thanks for this very helpful post!

  97. Gluten Free

    You can get a note and have it laminated I have 4 3 for all my bags so whichever one I grab and 1 for my passport stating my Dr. wrote mine stating I am on a medically restricted diet and need to travel with my own food. So it is never a problem.
    Also packets of tuna in the small silver packets are great to travel with.

    This company is fantastic we now use them for all our travel needs!

    http://www.glutenfreetravel-us.com

  98. jeff johnson

    I travel at least twice a month for work and can definitely sympathize. And my wife can attest to my suffering, as she patiently listens to me airport GF analyses after every trip. Living in SF, I’m really proud of Terminal 2 and all it has to offer. The worst airport in the country for GF is LAX. One product that you’ll find in many airport newsstands is GoPicnic, http://www.gopicnic.com/ They’re similar to what Alaska Air offers in flight. Enjoy!

  99. Angel

    Hmm, well it appears I’m a serious late-comer to this post.. haha.
    Anyways, I just wanted to let people know that if you fly with AirTransat you can select to be fed gluten-free meals — which are pretty decent. And, if something gets messed up and you don’t get your meal the flight attendants will go out of their way to make sure you at least have something to eat! I ended up with 3 small salads, a fruit salad, chocolate bar, rice cake, potato chips and they even gave me extra wine. :p
    Also — Scotland seems to have a wealth of options! Every grocery store chain has it’s own brand of gluten free products, some of which are amazingly delicious! Sainsbury’s is my favorite. Quite a lot of the restaurants have gluten free menus, and even if they don’t every waiter/waitress I encountered was well-versed in what was safe and not-safe for me! Even in the pubs — I was very surprised and very impressed!
    In the Glasgow airport, there is a Tesco Express which carries a few GF items that you can stock up on before your flight. The Vancouver airport isn’t the greatest though.. I think I ended up having to settle on a fruit cup and a tea from Starbucks. =/

  100. Ilana

    When I fly, I carry a couple of emergency sandwich baggies, each with 1/2 cup of gf oatmeal. If all else fails, I can ask the flight attendant for a cup of hot water and a spoon. You can drop a baggie of the oatmeal in, cover it with a napkin, let it sit for a while. Nuts, dried fruit, brown sugar can be added to the baggie before leaving home. Not only is it not a bad option, I’ve found it to be better than many of the alternatives available in airports and on planes. I was glad to have it in Pheonix, that’s for sure.

  101. Jill Marks

    Has anyone found vending machines with gluten-free entrees like Amy’s GF dinners? The worst time to find nutritious meals is after hours when the airport restaurants are closed.

  102. Katherine

    Seriously, it’s a huge problem! I just returned from a flight from china, but we had to stopover for the night in Canada due to a huge blizzard in new york city. I did pack extra food but not 14 hours worth! Thought about fasting but had such a long way left to go that I ended up cheating and paying for it! I was surprised to see that Canada wasn’t more up to speed with gluten free foods. Well, lesson learned!

  103. Brendan

    Certain airport branches of Cibo Express have gluten-free sections, certainly at JFK, and I believe LGA as well. It’s mostly chips (but many, many kinds), nuts, cookies, and such snack food, but it is a dedicated section. Au Bon Pain usually has at least one gluten-free soup and labels allergens on salads; their dressing is Newman’s own, which would mark wheat if not gluten-freeness. 5 Guys fries are gluten-free, and they have a number of airport locations, including LGA. Legal Seafood has many airport locations, but I don’t know if the staff are as well trained as at their ‘normal’ locations. Certain Lufthansa business-class lounges, including at Berlin Tegel, will sometimes have hot dishes marked gluten-free, but I wouldn’t mess with them due to cross-contamination concerns. Lufthansa first class flagship lounges with full restaurants will happily tailor GF meals.