Special Diets on the Road

Special Diets on the Road
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) estimates that nearly eight million households own RVs. Out of those eight million households, there is bound to be a large number of RVers who have discovered they have gluten sensitivities, or for health or ethical reasons, are choosing more of a plant-based diet—or both. Only a few years ago, it was challenging to eat not only healthy on road trips, but be able to adhere to a “special” diet. Of course, RVers had it easier than those trekking in cars because they could shop for their specialty foods beforehand and stock them in their refrigerator or RV pantry. But one of the fun things about road trips is stopping somewhere along the way to get your grub on. Thankfully, these days there are scads of restaurants with gluten-free and vegetarian menu items that are easy to find off many interstate exits.

As far as chain restaurants go, the sky is the limit. It seems that almost any big chain you can think of provides a gluten-free menu. Many of the restaurants include: P.F. Chang’s, The Old Spaghetti Factory, Ruby Tuesdays, Chili’s, Buca di Beppo, Olive Garden, Red Robin, PEI WEI Asian Diner, Romano’s Macaroni Grill, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Godfather’s Pizza, and Boston Market to name just a few. A comprehensive listing of many chain restaurants that offer gluten-free menus is located on the following websites: GlutenFreeTravelSite.com/restaurants and CeliacRestaurantGuide.com/gf-menus/chains-2/.

RVers that follow a plant-based diet can easily find something to eat in most towns they visit as well. Most Asian restaurants will offer any of their dishes with tofu. Just make sure to have them replace the fish sauce in any dish that calls for it with soy sauce. Also, every Whole Foods Market will feature plenty of options in their café. If you’re not too hungry, pick up a loaf of French bread and some hummus and hop back on the road. The nice thing about many of the above mentioned gluten-free restaurants is that they also feature a nice selection of vegetarian and vegan menu items as well. Chipotle Mexican Grill and Taco Del Mar have great vegan burritos, and Taco Bell will always do in a pinch. To find more veg-friendly restaurants, a quick visit to HappyCow.net has a comprehensive listing of many vegan and veg-friendly restaurants around the country.

And one more tip, while there are only a handful of these restaurants around the country, if you find yourself traveling through a town with a Mellow Mushroom, make sure to eat there. Mellow Mushroom offers delectable gluten-free pizza crusts and Daiya vegan cheeses.

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