Being Celiac, one of the biggest challenges is the need to constantly be prepared. We're a bit unlucky when it comes to the ease of picking up a bite to eat on the go, since the world as we know it is gluten full! Sometimes we're left with less than healthy options such as candy bars or chips at a convenience store, or a less than appealing plate of lettuce being conned off as a salad while our beloved ones get to chow down on that indulgent sandwich or drool-worthy bowl of pasta. Personally, I get pretty hangry (hungry + angry = not a pretty combo) when I go too long without anything to eat, so it's best for myself and everyone around me when I'm properly fueled!
One of my favorite hacks is keeping a mental stash of restaurant chains that I can rely on for a GF meal. Here are a few of my favorite go-tos:
- Chipotle is always a reliable option since they have so many locations everywhere, and the only gluten hiding in that place is within their tortillas. I always ask the crew members to change their gloves before preparing my salad bowl. Most times, they will happily oblige, but every once in awhile I encounter a less seasoned person who looks at me like I've just spoken another language in which case I just need to explain my "gluten allergy" in a way they will understand.
- I also love having a few safe pizza options at California Pizza Kitchen which are prepared using strict guidelines from the Gluten Intolerance Group.
- When in a pinch, I will venture to a Whole Foods salad bar. I find it surprising that their entire salad bar, in addition to their line of prepared foods, offer the warning that foods are prepared on shared equipment with common allergens. For a place that focuses so much on a healthy lifestyle, I would think they would have dedicated preparation areas, but that's a rant for another post. However, if there is a Whole Foods close by, I will stick to a salad bar salad and keep it simple.
When you're not in control of the drive, it pays off to BYO-food along for the ride. Try and pick foods that can be kept at room temperature so that they can be eaten for hours without going bad. My favorite go-to snacks include:
- Pre-packaged bars such as Larabars or the Perfect Bar
- Mini peanut butter cracker sandwiches
- Fruits and veggies
- Homemade trail mix and granola
For something more substantial, below are some GF breakfast and lunch ideas that travel easily. You may want to invest in a cute little cooler tote to take with you, so refrigerated items can last longer if you won't be eating right away. I also love packing salads, or other loose items in mason jars which make for a super fun container to travel with, and makes your food look even more delicious!
- Hard boiled eggs
- Smashed avocado with tomatoes on GF toast
- Peanut butter and banana on GF toast
- Yogurt with GF granola
- Sandwiches such as peanut butter and jelly or banana; tuna salad, rotisserie chicken salad
- Salads could be your favorite veggies, pasta salad, tuna or chicken salad over lettuce and veggies (great low carb option!)
What is your favorite way to ensure you are fully prepared while on the go?