Months ago, after dozens of pizza orders and an upset stomach, I discovered me and dairy just weren’t getting along. As an avid ice-cream lover and daily coffee drinker, downsizing on dairy was a challenge I was not ready to face. Slowly, I worked my way through soy milk, coconut milk, and black coffee before giving up altogether and switching to green tea. Avoiding dairy has slowly become a part of my everyday routine, yet while on vacation I was once again faced with the challenge of finding dairy free alternatives. Whether your restrictions are health related or a dietary choice, here are some tips to help any traveler deal with diet restrictions while abroad.
Find a Staple
I met a woman while traveling who was heading out on a three-month journey to Africa. The only catch was that she was allergic to wheat and diary. On top of that, she was a vegetarian. Rather than be detoured she had found rice and other staples in the local diet that fit her culinary requirements.
Preparing ahead can help avoid any hunger pains while on the go. Whether it’s bringing energy bars or gluten free alternatives, these small meals can make a huge difference on any trip. Plus, you can take your favorite options on the road with you.
Every destination has an array of local fresh products that are just waiting to be discovered. Select products that are in season to get the best quality at grocery stores and food markets. These areas will provide more options than eating out and are a great source for healthy options. Bring a water bottle to wash any fresh fruits and vegetables while on the move.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
Restaurants often have alternative options and knowledgeable staff. Spending a few minutes asking about your options may save you time searching over confusing menus with limited descriptions.
Just like at home, trying out some alternatives may help. To find a gluten, dairy, and sugar-free birthday cake, we found a specialty vegan baker who embraced the challenge. Many destinations have local culinary alternatives that will keep your taste buds satisfied.
Don’t Stress the Small Stuff
If you’re like me and your dietary restrictions won’t affect your overall health, breaking the rules now and then won’t hurt. After all, I wasn’t going to let a diet stop me from enjoying a little ice cream in the hot Cuban sun.
Look into Local Cuisines
Spending time researching local restaurants and dishes can be a fun way to prepare for a trip. It can also be an excellent way to find diet-friendly alternatives that will satisfy any group. Looking ahead of time will save the last-minute hassle and add some variety to the itinerary.
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