Eating away from home can be a nightmare for any coeliac and running the gauntlet of food stalls at festivals can be a real challenge. Lack of availability of gluten-free options can leave you hungry – or eating something best avoided. And that’s before we even start looking at cross contamination.
Since you don’t want your festival ruined by being glutened, make sure you plan ahead. The toilet facilities are often rudimentary at best and the queues can be special. This is not the time to take chances.
- Do check what food stalls will be there before you go. Some festivals will list these on their websites and it can give you a guide as to what will be available for you.
- Pack gluten-free crackers, gluten-free rice cakes and gluten-free snacks. Think of things that won’t get crushed in your bag and that don’t need a fridge. Plan ahead for all the meals you will need. It’s no harm to also pack protein snacks like nuts, packs of sunflower or pumpkin seeds or gluten-free protein bars as well. That way, if food does become a problem you will have something substantial to eat.
- If you are camping, do bring a small camping stove and supplies so you can cook for yourself if necessary. Tinned food travels well so pack tinned fruit, sweetcorn, gluten-free beans.
- Some festivals can have rules about bringing your own foods so do check ahead if you are planning to stock up on gluten free foods before you go. Many festivals will only allow a small bag through the gate so pack carefully or ring ahead. You might be fine if it is a one-day event but no harm to check what you will be allowed to bring.
- More and more festivals are catering for people who need to avoid gluten but the usual rules apply: check the reaction of the server when you ask about gluten free meals – if they roll their eyes it might be worth going somewhere else… It is also worth stating that you are coeliac rather than asking about gluten free as more and more people are aware of how strict someone with coeliac disease needs to be with their diet and that it is not a fad or a choice.
- If you’re choosing to indulge in some alcoholic beverages, remember that wines, ciders and spirits are gluten free but that ordinary beer is a source of gluten. Soft drinks and mixers are mostly gluten free just look out for barley water used as a mixer or cordial.
- Want a day out that’s guaranteed gluten free? Check out our Gluten Free Living Show on the 28th of September at the Green Isle Hotel, Dublin. Book tickets here