Create Your Gluten-Free Sports Diet

Restaurant and Travel Tips

At home, you can easily control your diet. When on the road, you need to have a plan.

When traveling, carry "emergency food" that doesn't spoil, such as dried fruit, Lara Bars, and nuts.

When eating in a restaurant, you'll have to quiz the staff and carefully order your food. Omelets tend to be safe, while salads with croutons are not. Make sure the steak tips are not marinated in a gluten-containing sauce or that the turkey was not injected with flavor enhancers. The gluten-free toast should not be made in the same toaster used for standard breads, and the sandwich should be prepared on a paper towel or surface not used for other breads (to prevent cross-contamination). Ask that the rice is not cooked in broth with unknown gluten-containing seasonings, the French fries are not cooked in the same oil as the breaded chicken, the hamburger is 100 percent beef (with no fillers) and not cooked on the same surface as the toasted buns.

Some athletes travel with their own gluten-free pasta and request it be cooked in fresh water, in a clean pot, and drained into a clean colander. This all requires a patient waiter and an understanding chef.

Everyday Gluten-Free Sports Food Suggestions

Even the hungriest Ironman triathletes need not go hungry on a gluten-free diet. The trick is to eat less processed foods and be a good label reader. Here are just a few suggestions of foods you'd find in standard grocery stores.

Breakfast ideas: Fruit smoothie with Greek yogurt; rice cakes with banana & peanut butter; scrambled eggs, hash browns, and fruit salad; Rice or Corn Chex, milk and berries.

Lunch: Tuna salad with baked corn chips; 100 percent corn tortilla with melted cheese and pinto beans, Crunchmaster Multigrain crackers and hummus.

Dinner: Baked chicken, potato and beets; salmon, sweet potato and peas; omelet, corn and tomatoes; baked potato stuffed with cottage cheese and salsa; Mexican beans and rice; shish kabob, rice, salad with oil & vinegar; frittata (potato, onion and egg "pancake"); meals with rice, corn, and quinoa.
Snacks: Apple and cheese, fruit and yogurt, baked potato chips, corn chips, Blue Diamond Nut Thins, rice crackers, trail mix (nuts and dried fruit), peanut butter and banana, baby carrots and hummus, popcorn, corn nuts, raisins, grape juice and all fruit juices, smoothies.

Commercial sports foods: Ensure, Gatorade, Powerade; Bakery On Main Granola Bar, Bonk Breaker Bar, Bumble Bar, Clif Nectar Bar, Clif Builder's Bar, Enjoy Life Snack Bar, Elev8Me Bar, Extend Bar, Go Raw Bar, Hammer Products (Heed, Perpetuem, Bar, Solids), KIND Bar, Lara Bar, Nonuttin' Granola Bar, Odwalla Bar, Omega Smart Bar, PB&Whey Bar, Perfect 10 Bar, Pure Bar, PureFit Bar, thinkThin Bar, Quest Bar, Clif Shot Bloks, Gu, Jelly Belly Sports Beans, Sharkies.

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Nancy Clark, MS RD CSSD (Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics) counsels casual and competitive athletes at her private practice at Healthworks, the premier fitness center in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts (617-383-6100). Her Sports Nutrition Guidebook, Food Guide for Marathoners, and Cyclist's Food Guide and  are available at Also see for information about her online workshop.



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