If you need some tips for eating as a Coeliac while on holiday this year, take a look at this blog.
If you think going for a simple meal is hard, it's doubly hard going on holiday, all the research into where you can do, do they offer gluten free in the attractions you want to go, if not is their any cafes in the local area who can cater, if that also fails then you know it's time to pack up a gluten free picnic! Doing this in the UK isn't so bad, but when you plan on going abroad the doubly hard probably goes to triplely hard...the language barriers? Does that country have good knowledge? Even will the flight cater?
When dealing with the UK, we have a guide as to attractions
that offer gluten free which we are currently working on updating, at the moment it only includes a few attractions such as Alton Towers, Drayton Manor, Chester Zoo and some other popular places but will be axpanded soon. As well as our guide, it is easy to email or make a quick phone call asking if they can cater to your requirements, it never hurts to ask, some places are willing to cater if you let them know in advance.
The same also goes for hotels, some are willing to cook breakfasts others aren't, but if you find a hotel that is willing to provide or even let you take your own food which they can cook then you are on to a winner. One we stayed in wasn't willing to cook for me and we had to go and find a cafe nearby who luckily served gluten free breakfasts. Staying self catering is even easier as long as you have a supermarket within driving/bus distance so you can stock up, if you only have a village shop or a camp site store they are less likely to carry gluten free products unless they are naturally gluten free.
Going abroad can be a challenge. It isn't something I have had to deal with but have seen many people trying to cope. People on cruises need not worry, the ships are very good for carrying plenty of gluten free options from what I have heard, its the people taking flights that may struggle, especially short haul.
For short haul most airlines will provide gluten free options only to business class and not standard, except for EasyJet who do offer gluten free food on short haul. They are only snacks but I'm sure even on a short flight it would be nice to be able to even have the option of something.
In terms of long haul:-
- British Airways state they can offer "low gluten meals" which exclude gluten from the ingredients and cakes and meals are labelled as being free from gluten, howver with the website stating low rather than free from I would hazard a guess that they can not guarantee it to be cross contamination free.
- Virgin Atlantic can cater to gluten free on long haul flights
- Flybe don't state if they provide gluten free however their website does say some snack are gluten free
- Easy Jet offer gluten free meals on all flights
- Ryanair offer "low in wheat" meals, not sure I would trust anyone thats says low in wheat rather than gluten free
- Thompson provide a range of gluten free meals
The best places for gluten free I have heard about are Spain and Italy, both have an amazing understanding, especially Italy where apparently most of the restaurants find it no both to cater to gluten free. Considering us British seem to find it so hard to deal with it, it amazes me that a county known for its wheat based pasta and pizza can cater to gluten free so much better than us.
Lots of places these days do have a good understanding and I think wherever you go on holiday there will pretty much always be a choice of some sort. Americans are catching on well to the gluten free "trend" which unfortunately means there are a lot of "fad dieters" there but fortunately means there is a lot of gluten free readily available. Australia have gluten free Weetabix, something that needs to be readily available over here ASAP in my opinion.
Places such as Disney World have also started offering gluten free food, a gluten free and vegan bakery, Erin McKenna's Bakery, has apparently opened in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Apparently parents have been seen carrying armfuls of bread and cakes out so set their Coeliac kids up for their vist. It was already possible to get gluten free meals in the park but it meant taking extra time to ensure the meals were safe, with the new bakery it's become just a little easier.
Whether you are visting somewhere in the UK for your holidays this year or you are going abroad, be sure to check around, research into places to eat (for UK you can check our where to eat guide
),check the attractions out online and/or contact them, ask airlines about food just to double check what is available. Nobody wants to fall ill, especially while on holiday, so be safe and check everything you can out before hand so you can sit back and enjoy your holiday without worrying.