Gluten-Free Air Travel

So it’s no joke how hard it can be to stay ‘celiac safe’ in an airport.  I NEVER count on finding anything at the airport or while flying – except for coffee and water.  Sigh.  Here’s an example of how I ate and packed for our recent Maui vacation.

Our 7 a.m. flight to Phoenix was 3 hours long and the flight to Maui was nearly 7 hours because of a fierce jet stream.  So here’s what I planned for travel eats:IMG_0296

Breakfast #1 – I slathered some Justin’s almond butter on a piece of GF bread as we rolled out of the house at 5:30 a.m., taking advantage of something warm while I could.

Breakfast #2 – When we got to Phoenix the hubs sat down at Cowboy Ciao and ordered some monstrous breakfast burrito (he is totally over feeling sorry for my meager offerings!).  Meanwhile I hit Starbucks for my fave, a coconut milk cappuccino and opened up my awesome ThirtyOne cooler for a hard-boiled egg, banana and more almond butter.

One thing you will note about me is I have no problem eating the same thing for breakfast and lunch.  I usually go on kicks for several months at a time of the same foods.  Weird I know, but as someone with celiac disease it helps to know when you have been exposed to gluten or food that makes you feel worse.


Lunch – The long flight to Maui got split up with an Epic Bison Bar, apple, and half an almond butter sandwich.  Oh and don’t forget the Titos and soda once we were over halfway to Maui.  Cheers!

Packing food for air travel

I did pack some pre-made foods because we had a standard hotel room with no kitchen available.  Many people don’t realize you can pack food in your checked luggage and not have to worry about the liquid rules, etc.

Here’s what I typically do – I usually cook a large batch of protein – chicken in this case.  Marinated in coconut aminos, lemon and seasonings, grilled, refrigerated and packed in a Ziploc bag. I then pack something that I can freeze – this trip it was Breakfast Hash with hamburger, celery, zucchini and sweet potato that I sauté with seasonings and freeze in a Ziploc.  TIP: Pack extra ziploc bags! You never know when you may need them! So then the morning of the trip I pack the frozen hash, refrigerated chicken, and my yummy coconut milk creamer for my coffee all in one soft sided cooler bag and tuck it in my checked luggage. Downside – its heavy.  Upside – I had room for the yummy Hawaiian Spirits Rum on the way home!

I usually throw in a freezer pack or two also.  The downside to these is that the TSA will confiscate them on the flight home because the hotel mini-fridges will not refreeze them and if they are liquid they can’t get carried on.  Although you could put them in your checked luggage so they don’t get swiped.

So now you have arrived to your destination.  Unpack, put your food in a fridge, and ask the hotel for two if needed.  I often worry hotel refrigerators do not have a cool enough temperature for food, particularly meat.  To chill everything down a bit I use one of my gallon zipper bags and fill it with ice, throw it in the mini-fridge and everything gets a bit more chilled!

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