Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Top Ten Gluten-Free Meals and Snacks on the Road

When my dad was sick the past few months we did a LOT of traveling and eating on the road. As we all know when you eat on the go it can be expensive, (for gluten-free folks, especially) it can be hard to find, and it can be super frustrating when you have a variety of food sensitivies and/or allergies.

On our recent trips I have found quite a few options for eating gluten-free on the road! In no particular order here's my favorite top ten snacks and meals I eat when we're traveling:

  1. boiled eggs -- you can either make boiled eggs or you can find them pre-made at many different gas stations and grocery stores. A single serving portion of a healthy, lean protein. 
  2. fruit -- bananas and apples can generally be found at most gas stations and can ALWAYS be found in grocery stores on the road. Again they are automatically in single servings and travel well and have a healthy punch of fiber and natural fruit sugar. 
  3. nuts/seeds -- super awesome protein and fiber all rolled into one delicious bite-sized, travel friendly package! Also can be found at most gas stations and grocery stores. Watch sodium counts though, as some are absolutely loaded with salt. My favorite? Roasted cashews. 
  4. Go Picnik Gluten-Free Meals -- These meals have been an absolute LIFESAVER over the past few months. Not only have they saved me money by not eating out, but they are portion controlled, shelf-stable (no refrigeration required!), contain no high fructose corn syrup and contain healthy servings of protein, fiber, and fruit along with a piece of gluten-free chocolate! Make SURE when you are buying them to purchase the GLUTEN-FREE varieties! 
  5. Glutino crackers with Sunbutter (or peanut butter) -- If the Go Picnik meals are out of your price range you can just take along a jar of sunbutter and a package of glutino crackers  -- still a bit pricey, but overall cheaper than the Go picnic meals and everybody loves "peanut butter" sandwiched crackers! Quick, easy, shelf-stable and relatively healthy! 
  6. gluten-free beef jerky -- READ THE LABELS! Many varieties of beef jerky are NOT gluten-free, but quite a few ARE and they are becoming easier to find in gas stations and grocery stores. One brand in particular that I like is: Jack Links Beef Jerky.
  7. Wendy's chili and a side salad or baked potato -- When I want a hot meal on the road Wendy's is one of my favorite places to go. I generally go for the simple and frugal options of a small chili and a baked potato. Wendy's also has many salads that are gluten-free and you have many of the grilled sandwich options without the bun. Check out the Wendy's gluten-free menu options for more information. 
  8. Chick-Fil-A grilled chicken nuggets and waffle fries or a fruit -- My other favorite choice for a hot meal on the road! I generally have grilled chicken nuggets with a side salad and/or a fruit cup and their homemade lemonade. Chick-Fil-A also offers gluten-free FRIES because they cook their fries in a dedicated fryer. If you are unsure of the actual store policy make sure to check with a manager before you order (and check their gluten-free menu), but I've never had problems with cross-contamination at Chick-Fil-A. A definite winner for the gluten-free community! 
  9. KIND Bars or Glenny's Fruit & Nut Bars -- It's now a rare trip when I don't see KIND bars or Glenny's Fruit & Nut bars in gas stations on our trips. KIND bars are generally about twice as much as the Glenny's bars, but I love both and always enjoy having them as an option when we're traveling. I've seen these most often in Sheetz gas stations and in the healthy/organic sections of grocery stores. 
  10. McDonald's scrambled eggs, breakfast sausage, and fruit smoothies -- Yep... McDonald's...the bane of the American industrialized food industry... but honestly (especially since I've been gluten-free) having the option of ordering scrambled eggs & sausage on my way to work has been a huge help more times than I care to mention. Is it healthy? NO. It's an option... and sometimes you just WANT an option. So take or leave it... know it's available and when you're dying to get breakfast on the road. And the smoothies rock (and you can ask them to leave out the yogurt if you are intolerant to dairy)... probably have more sugar than a coke... but there you go. Feel free to check McDonald's allergen statements frequently as products can change. 

Do you agree? Disagree? What are your favorite gluten-free GO TO foods when you're traveling? Share in the comments below! 

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