14 August 2008

Gluten-free Air Travel

Travel, particularly air travel, for those of us on a gluten-free diet is tricky. Adding migraine avoidance to the mix makes advance preparation absolutely essential for a pain-free travel day. With airlines no longer serving meals in coach and substituting boxes of junk food for purchase, bringing a healthy meal on board with you is key. You might be able to find something other than fresh fruit in the airport, but why chance it? Also, if you have a long day of cross country travel coming up, as I do tomorrow, a whole day eating nothing but fruit and water doesn't sound like much fun. The solution is to pack your own lunch and bring it with you. 

Whenever I travel I make sure I have gluten-free and migraine trigger free food with me. This time I am taking Real Foods Multigrain Corn Thins in a zip-loc bag, a few EnviroKidz Organic Crispy Rice Bars, some cut up celery and some apples for snacks. (You never know when you might get hungry, especially if your flight gets delayed. Better to bring extra things to tide you over). For breakfast I am taking gluten-free lemon poppyseed muffins I baked a couple weeks ago and froze and for lunch a smoked salmon and wild rice salad with blueberries. I made the salad this morning and have it cooling in the fridge. Tomorrow morning I will take it out and put it in a thermal lunch box with an ice pack so that it stays nice and cold until I am ready for it. I'll make sure I grab a plastic fork from a concession in the airport and buy a bottle of water and I'm set to go!

Smoked Salmon Wild Rice Salad with Blueberries

1 package (4 oz) smoked salmon (preservative-free)
1/2 cup or so fresh blueberries
1 cup sautéed vegetables (I used asparagus, yellow squash, zucchini and wax beans sautéed in 1 tsp. lemon-infused olive oil (O & Co) with a little minced garlic, salt and pepper)
1  1/2 cups cooked wild rice
2 tsp. basil vinaigrette (see recipe below)
salt and pepper to taste

(makes 2 servings) (6 Weight Watcher points per serving)

Slice salmon into slivers. In a medium bowl mix salmon, rice, vegetables and basil vinaigrette. Toss. Adjust seasoning. Add blueberries and gently mix. Divide into travel containers and refrigerate. Pack in a thermal lunch sack with a cold pack.

Basil Vinaigrette (from most recent AARP Magazine)

1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 T finely minced shallots
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
juice of half a lemon
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

In a medium bowl, combine the mustard, shallots and salt. Slowly whisk in the vinegar, lemon juice, and oil until the mixture is emulsified. Add the basil and chill for 30 minutes.

Note to Migraine sufferers: None of the above ingredients cause any problems for me. Even the mustard and vinegar are ok in small amounts. Your triggers may be different from mine. Substitute where necessary.

Try packing a gluten-free lunch on your next trip and see how much better you feel—physically and emotionally. Not to mention that those sitting around you will be jealous!

Bon voyage!

Karen, herself

07 August 2008

Brown Rice and Black Bean Salad

Some people balk at leftovers. I embrace them. My favorite lunches have leftover chicken or pork tenderloin as a major component. This particular lunch was easy to put together with leftover brown rice and canned black beans and tuna. I added a bit of broccoli that I steamed in the microwave and some fresh tomato, shredded red cabbage, then tossed it in a bit of homemade vinaigrette and—lunch! Healthy, gluten-free, full of fiber and very satisfying.

People often say they have no time to make healthy meals, especially lunches, but with a little advanced planning and some imagination, you can eat well without spending all day in the kitchen. The day I made this salad I had a busy morning, so I put brown rice in the rice cooker, pushed the “on” button and off I went on my errands. When I came back a few hours later, it was lunch time and my rice was ready for me. Then a couple minutes to steam a cup of broccoli in the microwave, slice off a bit of previously washed cabbage and tomato, open a couple cans—you get the picture. Pretty quick.

These days I work at home and my lunches are leftovers from the previous night’s dinner or a big salad with leftover meat or fish. When that fails, I steam some vegetables, add rice or not and maybe open a can of tuna or salmon or add some tofu. I never spend more than 15 minutes making lunch and my salad dressings are all homemade, stored in recycled jelly jars. So  my advice is to think positive and invest in a good salad spinner and a rice cooker. Buy some good olive oil and start experimenting. 

За ваше здоровье!

Karen, herself