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Teenager Going To London

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My 14-year-old is visiting London for the first time with her grandparents this coming April. She is 7 months gluten free and normally does very well. She knows how to read labels and how to ask for things in restaurants, and her grandparents have been well prepped. They're staying in a flat with a kitchen, so breakfast will not be a problem, and I have scouted out several restaurants in South Kensington, where they will be staying, that have gluten-free options. They will make a trip to Whole Foods to buy supplies. I wonder, though--are the food labels the same in England as they are here? In other words, if it doesn't say "wheat" or "barley" in the ingredient list, is it definitely safe? Do they have gluten-free Chex cereal in England? Best place to buy Genius bread, which I've heard is great? Another concern is when they're out all day--lunch! At home she takes either a gluten-free sandwich or a thermos of something hot to school. Where can she safely eat while at a tourist venue? Are there any quick-service chains that she should be okay at? Any restaurant suggestions would be great, too.

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I have not had the pleasure of traveling to the UK yet, but I have been following the blogger www.glutenfree20something.com for awhile as he travels and blogs about trying to eat gluten-free in other countries. I had a post about the UK and also Ireland, which interested me very much. You might puruse thru his posts.

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ljgs, I know it's a while since you posted this question ... I've only just discovered the international section been so busy on the pre-diagnosis bit.

My 16yr old son's been gluten free for around 5 weeks now so I am a novice really but I do live in London. If they are self catering any of the larger branches of our supermarkets (Tesco, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Morrison's) will have a Free From section where you'll find Genius bread (the best in my opinion) Warbutton's bread and rolls (not too bad) gluten-free pasta, cakes, biscuits, cooking sauces, and condiments. Waitrose is the best I have found so far and has extras like gluten-free pretzels, bread sticks and canned soups. The smaller branches of supermarkets tend not to have gluten-free food. There are some good independent whole food stores in London but I wouldn't recommend our main chain Holland and Barratt - their Gluten Free selection is very meager and expensive.

I don't know South Kensington very well but it's a good up market area and will probably have a decent Sainsbury's or Waitrose nearby.

Ive heard of a new Pizza chain in that area called Hell Pizza that does gluten free pizza that have had good reviews.

I've never been to USA so I don't know how the labeling compares, but I have had no problem so far. My son struggles with it all a bit as it's quite new to him but if she knows her stuff I think she will be fine.

Eating out at lunch time is a bit of a problem though - I think Subway which is a high street chain of cafe/takeaway has started to do a gluten-free sandwich. I think packed lunch might be advisable. Ther are chains called Pret a Manger and EAT which although may not have specifically gluten-free stuff, they are knowledgeable about what their foods do contain.

I've never heard of Chex, gluten-free or otherwise but as I said I am a newbie and have a lot more to discover. I hope your daughter has a great time in London, I am sure she will manage fine. Let me know if there is anything else I can help with.

Lola

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Hey there.

I went to London last year. I found it a bit difficult for the first day or so but this was manily due to the fact that I didn't have acsess to a kitchen.

As for lunches most starbucks do a gluten-free sandwich- tuna,spinach and sundried tomato. I went to south kensington once, I found hard to find a place advertising gluten-free but a lot of the restaurants did things like baked potatos with cheese. La tasca is a tapas chain that have gluten-free items.

As far as supermarkets go as the above poster said waitrose is good. I also recomend the genius bread. Most tescos and sainsburys carried gluten free items.

Marks and spencers were also so fairly good, many of the prepackaged desserts they have had gluten free on the label.

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My 14-year-old is visiting London for the first time with her grandparents this coming April. She is 7 months gluten free and normally does very well. She knows how to read labels and how to ask for things in restaurants, and her grandparents have been well prepped. They're staying in a flat with a kitchen, so breakfast will not be a problem, and I have scouted out several restaurants in South Kensington, where they will be staying, that have gluten-free options. They will make a trip to Whole Foods to buy supplies. I wonder, though--are the food labels the same in England as they are here? In other words, if it doesn't say "wheat" or "barley" in the ingredient list, is it definitely safe? Do they have gluten-free Chex cereal in England? Best place to buy Genius bread, which I've heard is great? Another concern is when they're out all day--lunch! At home she takes either a gluten-free sandwich or a thermos of something hot to school. Where can she safely eat while at a tourist venue? Are there any quick-service chains that she should be okay at? Any restaurant suggestions would be great, too.

I have been to London many times and went last Fall again and stayed in Kensington. Renting a flat is the best way to go but you will find that dining out for dinner in London is relatively easy to do. Many places have gluten-free menu's or can easily whip up a meal that will be safe. I am an extremely sensitive, diagnosed Celiac so am very picky about what I eat on vacation. Never had a problem. Kensington is a wealthy area with many nice restaurants but they may not necessarily be on the cheaper side....that's the only downside. But the food was phenomenal and I never got sick.

Genius bread can be found at the Whole Foods Market on High St., Kensington. Get off at the High St. Tube stop and it's just down the street on your right. You will find everything you need there for a gluten free vacation. Labeling is not an issue. Genius bread is fantastic! I brought 3 loaves home in my carry on!

Gluten-Free London Carluccio's was a good restaurant and there is one near to Whole Foods, off of the High St. They had an extensive gluten-free menu.

Tell your teen to relax and have a wonderful time....it's pretty easy to eat gluten-free in London.

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I lived in London for a year, and was just back for a vacation at a friend's flat. Celiac awareness is generally better in the UK than it is in the US. Food with wheat/barley/rye has to be labeled as such and a lot of companies include the "CONTAINS:..." message, but not all do. I am not 100% up on all of the labeling laws anymore, but this page and other info from the Coeliac UK group will probably be helpful:

http://www.coeliac.org.uk/healthcare-professionals/diet-information/allergen-labelling

Definitely second LolaK in recommending Waitrose, they have the best gluten-free sections, with brands that are definitely safe. They also maintain a list of all of their private label foods that do not contain gluten. I have eaten many things on the list without trouble, except a possible reaction to the gluten-free sausage links. Sometimes they don't have a copy of the list in store, but if you contact the South Kensington branch they can get one ready for pick-up. Waitrose has lots of pre-packaged salads and cut-up fruit, and some of their private label cold cuts are gluten-free, so your daughter could put together "picnic lunches" to take with her while out and about during the day. That is how I handled lunch on my recent trip. I also used the flat's oven to cook dinner in foil packets with ingredients from Waitrose - like pre-cut vegetables and small salmon fillets that can just be plopped into foil and roasted if the restaurants don't work for some reason.

Unfortunately no Rice Chex over there, but Kallo Rice Puffs are a good substitute to look out for.

Hope she has a great time!

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Starbuck's and Marks and Spenser offer some gluten free sandwiches (limited choices but useful for a quick lunch).

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The above posts seem to cover most of it.

I move back and forth between Canada and the UK. Generally the UK has better labelling, but the products differ a lot, so it is a learning experience going from one to the other. One difference I found is that oat products are labelled as containing gluten there, and I didn't find 'pure oats' though they may exist.

I find it easier to eat gluten free where I live in the UK than where I live in Canada, though that my be a factor of 'where I live'.

I've found some wonderful gluten free food in Canada that I couldn't ever duplicate in the UK, but generally the UK is better overall, IMO.

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Finding a Holland and Barret is a very good place to start for gluten free snacks and breads, though some of them have a very limited range.

Supermarkets, my favourites being Tesco and Asda, have a very good range of gluten free foods, snacks and breads and things that can be useful to you. Most supermarkets, ift hey are big enough, have a section at least.

Foods here will generally state on the label if they contain barley or gluten, under the Allergy Advice heading usually in a separate box to the ingredients. Not all of these will have one though, and I would suggest reading the ingredients of anything that is not in the freefrom section as a precaution.

Genius bread is available at most supermarkets, like the ones listed above, and I promise it is brilliant.

As for gluten free chains, to be honest, I have yet to find any with good alternatives other than Subway (salad bowls) and even then the meat selection is poor (roast beef or chicken...lol) and the sauces are limited (ketchup, bbq, chilli or ranch), so there arent many around. If your kid is happy to eat suchi or any kind of salads and other non-typical fast food things, there are usually quite a few little shops about the streets.

Also, if you find an english speaking chinese food stand, many of them use rice noodles and rice paper now =]

I hope this advice isnt too late.

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