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How to Plan a Soy Free Italy Trip | What To Eat At Every Meal

Have you been dreaming of an Italian vacation, but wondering if it’s possible to plan a soy free Italy trip? Good news – it definitely can be! With the right planning and awareness, you can savor the flavors of Italy while steering clear of soy. Read on to learn how to travel soy free in Italy and what to eat at every meal to ensure a tasty and confident culinary experience. 

Curious to learn more about traveling to Italy with food allergies? Check out my Italy food allergy country guide as well as my blog posts on traveling to Italy while eating gluten free, nut free, egg free, or dairy free. 

 

Planning a Soy Free Italy Vacation

Soy is often used as an alternative for dairy, such as in soy milk, cheeses, or yogurts. However, soy can often be found in items that are gluten free, such as flour used for pasta and pizza. Soybean oil is not typically used in Italy, but it is always best to do your research ahead of time and ask questions to double-check on the ingredients being used at each restaurant you visit and in each meal you order. Be sure to take your food allergy chef cards in Italian. Having soy, soy protein, and soybean oil written on your card as allergens can help you be more direct with chefs and staff so you can have a positive restaurant experience. 

If you are shopping in Italian grocery stores, soy is often found in many gluten free products as well as other items as a preservative. It’s important to know what to look out for on food labels. The Italian word for soy is soia

Soy allergies often coexist with other allergies such as nuts, gluten, dairy, and more. When you are avoiding other allergies (especially dairy and gluten!), soy often comes into play as a substitute or alternative. Therefore, you must be careful when reading food labels and menus. Soy itself is typically found in processed meats, soups, and sauces. Overall, food made with seasonal ingredients doesn’t tend to contain soy. In Italy, there are a lot of fresh ingredients used, so you can typically find great soy free options, but again, do your restaurant research, ask questions, and double-check for cross-contamination. 

 

Do They Use Soy In Italy?

Soy is often used in dairy free options and products, such as soy milk in cafes or in grocery stores. Therefore, it’s best to research and confirm the use of soy in products, especially those tasty coffee and tea drinks that Italy is well-known for. Generally, a lot of fresh ingredients in traditional Italian dishes don’t use soy

 

Soy Free Italy Meal Guide

With a better idea of the use of soy in Italian cooking, let’s take a look at some great options for soy free Italy meals at any time of day. Whether you’re looking for soy free Rome or soy free Florence meals, this will be a great starting point to go off of. 

Breakfast

At breakfast, soy can be found in soy milk and certain types of yogurt. Be extra cautious of cross-contamination with milk frothers. Soy can also be seen as a “may contain” ingredient for pastries or breads, and also found within many of them. Bread is one of the items I highly recommend taking with you from home due to the difficulty of finding it in shops. Soybean oil isn’t commonly used in Italy, so opting for eggs, fruit, etc., should be good options. However, it’s always a good idea to double-check. Be careful when it comes to cold meats, as they may use soy in preservatives, spices, or flavorings. Double-check the bread as well as any chocolate products, since soy can be found in those items as well.

fresh fruit for breakfast while eating soy free in italy.

 

Lunch

Italians like to go all out for lunch, often serving up 3+ tasty dishes. This typically includes a primo (a soup, pasta, or risotto), a secondo (a meat or fish based dish), and a contorno (a vegetable side dish). Oftentimes, you’ll top off your lunch with a light dessert or espresso. While pizza is a famous Italian dish, it’s not typically served at lunch (except for by-the-slice in touristy locations) since it takes a while to fire up the wood-fire pizza ovens. 

When choosing lunch options, look out for soy in meats, gluten free pasta, flour, sauces, and more. Since soy is an allergy that can be found in a variety of places that are dependent on replacing certain ingredients (like dairy and gluten) with soy products, this can be a challenge for someone who has both a gluten or dairy allergy AND a soy allergy. Your best bet will be to opt for freshly made pastas like spaghetti (double checking if gluten free) and fresh foods, such as meat, fish, and vegetable dishes. 

eating soy free in italy for lunch and enjoying a freshly made pasta dish.

Dinner

Similar to lunch, Italian dinners follow the same set of dishes (primo, secondo, and contorno). Therefore, the same guidelines and considerations apply when it comes to asking for fresh dishes and pastas that are free of soy as an ingredient or preservative. Pizza is the most iconic Italian dinner, with the unique wood-fired pizza taste. Since many restaurants may use soy as a replacement for dairy or gluten in their pizzas, do your restaurant research ahead of time to ensure the ingredients (especially in the crust, seasonings, meats, and cheese toppings), don’t contain soy. Always ask about the risk of cross-contamination as well. If you want to steer clear of pizza, you can opt for fresh dishes made from fresh meat and seafood and seasonal vegetables, fruits, and herbs. These options will typically be soy free. Also, if you are down in the Amalfi Coast, opt for fresh seafood.

fresh pizza for soy free dinner in italy

While soy can be a tricky allergy to navigate, especially if you have multiple other allergies as well, with the proper preparation, planning, and research, you can plan a memorable soy free Italy trip. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, reiterate your needs using your food allergy chef card, and stay vigilant about understanding the ingredients and cross-contamination risk. 

Depending on your full list of allergies, this may include cooking more in an apartment accommodation, especially if you plan on going to smaller towns. However, every family, list of allergies, and comfort level is different, so if you have questions specifically about your family, set up a consult below on my contact page.

If you’d like help planning or consulting on a soy free Italy vacation, I’d love to help you! Visit my contact page to book a consultation and inquire about my full service travel planning, perfect for food allergy families and travelers!

 

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