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Eating in Banff with Food Allergies

Eating in Banff with Food Allergies - amanda macgregor - food allergy blog

Our honeymoon to Banff was one of the best vacations when it came to my food allergies. I thought no place would be able to top our vacations to California, but Alertba, Canada, you took the "food allergy eats" prize!

Managing a corn allergy can be tricky here in the United States. Along with my canola and soy allergy, the type of oils a restaurant uses can be a problem, which is why we mostly stick to sushi or Italian, since 99% of Italian restaurants use or have olive oil.

However, eating in Banff with food allergies was a whole new experience for me. We dined at a variety of restaurants and even went to my first, and then second, steakhouse. We also tried new products we found in stores, which are all listed below.

For more about what we did each day, visit Our Banff Honeymoon Recap blog post.

What's our best advice when dining out or traveling with food allergies? Having an EQUAL EATS card! Use our code "AMACGREGOR10" to get 10% off your card!


Eating in Banff with Food Allergies - amanda macgregor - food allergy blog

What we ate while in Banff

Leading up to the trip, we spent countless hours researching, emailing, and planning. Below is a list of places we dined at, products we purchased, and things I brought along with me to have while out and about.

Click on any of the items below to jump forward to that part in the post:


Eating in Banff with Food Allergies

Air Canada - Eating in Banff with Food Allergies - amanda macgregor - food allergy blog

Air Canada

We traveled to and from using Air Canada. To my surprise, there ended up being a lot on the plane I was able to eat. I know some people reading this may be allergic to nuts, so I do disclaim that they did serve an assortment of warm mixed nuts on our flights.

Going to Alberta, we caught an earlier flight, so our plane was serving breakfast. After speaking to the flight attendant about my food allergies, she offered me a bowl of strawberries and grapes, since nothing else on the menu would be okay for me to have. As you can see in the picture above, I soaked them in water from my water bottle just to be extra safe.

Coming home, we were on a later flight that was serving dinner. Same as the first flight, I spoke to the flight attendant about my food allergies and they served me a plain salad with an olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing I was able to have. They also handed out snacks during this flight and they had a vegan chocolate I was able to eat. And since it was our honeymoon, we enjoyed serval glasses of champagne on both flights.

Our day in Downtown Banff, we stopped here for lunch. The staff was very accommodating with my allergies. Our waiter took my Equal Eats card and went to the back to discuss it with the kitchen staff. He returned with the exciting news that they would make me a salmon with herby rice and sauteed zucchini. He also confirmed I was able to have the hummus and we switched the pita bread, which it is normally served with, for carrot and celery sticks.

Eating in Banff with Food Allergies - amanda macgregor - food allergy blog

This restaurant was one we emailed before our trip but never heard back from. Knowing they had grass-fed steak on the menu, we figured we would try talking to them in person. Luckily, they were very knowledgeable about food allergies, which allowed me to feel safe to be a walk-in guest. It was the first time I ever enjoyed a steak in a restaurant; It was such a great experience. Along with the grass-fed steak, they also made us roasted carrots and left the seasoning on the side for my discretion.

Eating in Banff with Food Allergies - amanda macgregor - food allergy blog

This cozy little restaurant, nestled in the town of Canmore, was one Joe emailed before our trip and had a conversation with the chef. The restaurant offers a unique blend of Canadian cooking with international influences, and they sure met the mark with both our dishes. They made me a salmon with asparagus, on a bed of lentils, with a citrus blend on top.

Located at the Silvertip Golf Resort, this dining experience was my absolute favorite of the entire trip. Between the rustic decor I adored, the Rocky Mountain views, and the wonderful service, I would have opted to dine here every night. If I wasn't in love enough, they were also fantastic with food allergies. We had a grass-fed steak with wild rice and sauteed veggies. They also made a gravy I could have with my steak.

Whenever Joe and I visit a new area, we love to check out the nearby cities, which is what we did for Day 5 of our trip. While in Calgary, we stopped to eat at JOEY Eau Claire because the food looked good and mainly because of the name (Joe can't resist a Joey opportunity).

This was one of the restaurants I reached out to before our trip, felt reassured, and ended up making a reservation. However, when we got there, our reservation wasn't in the system. My food allergy anxiety kicked in, panicking now that my allergy notes weren't made aware. To our luck though, our waitress also had multiple food allergies and was a huge help with explaining my food allergies to the kitchen staff with the help of my Equal Eats card.

After our day in Calgary ended quicker than we planned, we headed back to the mountain-lined streets of Canmore and had an impromptu dinner at a local sushi place, Mii Sushi. In the words of Joe, it wouldn't be a "Mandy and Joe" outing without stopping for sushi.

We originally looked into a couple of different places we could eat at, but ultimately landed on the sushi decision. We enjoyed our sushi rolls surrounded by the modern setting with Asian interior details. It was a delicious ad-hoc stop on our trip.

Grocery Store Finds in Banff

As we typically do, we got a room with a kitchen, meaning we started our trip at grocery stores, getting food I could eat. Having never traveled outside the country, we needed to do a lot of research to find brands sold in Canada that I could eat.

Some brands we discovered were La Tortilla Cauliflower Wrap (gluten-free, nut-free, corn-free, made with cauliflower and cassava flour), McLean Meats Roast Beef (made from grass-fed beef - which we ordered $50 USD of because our conversion math wasn't quite right, but a happy mistake as it lasted us until our Johnston Canyon hike!), and Whistler Brewing Co.'s gluten-free pale ale and lager (made with sorghum and rice).

Dinners in our Room

After also finding Tinkyada spaghetti while grocery shopping, we decided to pick up a bunch of veggies and make a Pasta Primavera in our room the night we arrived. This ended up being a great decision since there was a bottle of wine waiting for us in the room that paired perfectly with this meal.

We had dinner in our room after day 1 and day 3's explorations. For dinner after day 1 at Moraine Lake and Lake Louise, we did tuna wraps, using cans of Wild Planet Wild Tuna I packed in my luggage and the La Tortilla Cauliflower Wrap we found in the store. After the Athabasca Glacier Guided Tour on day 3, we returned to our room for beers and a dinner of lamb and butternut squash fries.


On The Go Bites in Banff

We did pack some pantry foods in our luggage, just in case we couldn't find a lot in the grocery store I could have. Typically, I would just buy a lot of fruit in the markets to hold me over for meals I don't have anything else for. However, with the vast majority of this trip having long hikes or extensive walking, I wanted to pack shelf-stable items that would keep me full and energized.

Early Morning Eats

These to-go packages of oatmeal from The Gluten-Free Brothers were my breakfast all seven days of this trip. I did pack multiple flavors, but the Fruit, Nuts, and Seeds one was my favorite. I also added sliced banana and maple syrup to it.

Traveling Snacks

I also packed MANY snacks in my luggage, that were consumed over the 7 days. From grass-fed beef jerky to fruit & nut bars, and a lot of 88 Acres granola bars. I particularly also carry 88 acres on the plane ride. Even though I can have nuts, I am cautious of consuming nuts in enclosed areas, in fear someone else may be allergic. For that, I snack safely for me and for anyone else nearby who may be feeling uncomfortable.

Hiking Eats

Our lunch while on our hikes was a roast beef wrap, using the La Tortilla Cauliflower Wrap, McLean Meats Roast Beef, and sprouts we bought at the grocery store. We would find a nice spot when we were halfway through our hike to take a break and fuel up with food.

Coffee & Tea

We needed all the coffee and tea I could get to get me through the week. Here are some highlighted spots:

  • Tea at the Lake Agnes Tea House - after hiking 3.5km up a mountain, a warm cup of tea at the infamous Lake Agnes Tea House was exactly what we needed. The tea house staff, made of university students and new graduates, live at the tea house for the summer before school starts with the family that owns the house. There is no electricity, running water, or wifi. Supplies runs are twice a year via helicopter for all of the flour, sugar, propane, and dry goods that are too heavy to hike. All the fresh supplies are brought by one of the staff members after their day off. After learning all that, I wasn't going to bother asking about accommodations and just enjoy a nice cup of tea while admiring the view. Joe did get a blueberry crumb dessert with his tea.

Eating in Banff with Food Allergies - amanda macgregor - food allergy blog

  • Whitebark Cafe - we started our second day at this cafe before setting foot to explore the town of Banff. It wasn't the warmest day out, but the outdoor area was too cute not to sit out there and have our breakfast. Being that I had my oatmeal in the room before heading out, I only had a cup of coffee. Joe tried one of their signature baked breakfast items and a latte.

  • Blondies Cafe - we discovered this cafe the day we arrived and went on a stroll outside our resort to see what was around. Between the light blueish teal mugs that have "Have A Blonde Moment" printed on the side and the sasquatch positioned right outside their front door, I loved the vibes and knew I wanted a cup of coffee from there, as well as purchasing a mug, which I did and now drink out of almost every day.

Lunch during our Athabasca Glacier Guided Tour

When researching for our trip, we came across this guided tour to the Athabasca Glacier. It was almost a full-day adventure and they provided lunch with the cost of your ticket. When booking, we noted my food allergies and had an email thread with the organizer about my lunch. We finalized with a plain salad, no dressing, no chicken, just cucumbers. I packed my Pearls Olives To Go and a homemade salad dressing I made with the spices and olive oil we bought in the store for cooking in the room. They also packed me an apple and a gluten-free package of cookies I unfortunately couldn't have but greatly appreciated the gesture. We then enjoyed our lunch in one of the pit stops, surrounded by this incredible view.

Eating in Banff with Food Allergies - amanda macgregor - food allergy blog


Joe's Eats

We couldn't leave Canada without Joe having a plate of poutine or leave Banff without having him try a Beavertail at BeaverTails. Even if I cannot eat with him, I get to smell his food and have him describe every bite to me. 😆

Extra Eats

I was excited to find these Allergy Smart Double Chocolate Cookies in the cafe at the top of the mountain for the Banff Gondola Ride we took on Day 2! Was an exciting sighting for me!

By the end of the trip, we were exhausted, but well-fed and thrilled to have gotten to explore Banff!

For our full Banff trip, visit our blog post here! Check out all our blog posts about traveling with food allergies here! Get your Equal Eats card with 10% off here, using our code AMACGREGOR10

Until next time...

Hugs & Cookies

Amanda & Joe

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