Spring break is coming up in our area soon. It seems that the place to go if you live in the Atlanta area is the beach. Most people with kids that we know go to Destin, FL for spring break. Like any other trip, some people on restricted diets tend to get anxious when it comes to traveling. Some people will actually go to great lengths to avoid travel when possible. However, more and more of us are not only traveling, we’re eating some great food along in the process. The days of it being unsafe to ever eat out if you have celiac disease are long gone, but it does require some planning to find the best places to dine out. Of course, there are no guarantees that a meal will be gluten-free, unless it’s being served in a completely gluten-free restaurant.
Even if you map out where you’re going to eat every meal while vacationing (or traveling for other reasons), there will be times when you need some type of food or snacks in between meal times. It’s less expensive – and less worrisome – to pack your own safe food for such occasions, than to worry about where to buy such items at your destination. It’s great that Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are popping up pretty much everywhere, but vacations tend to be more fun if they’re not full of stress about what you’re going to eat and when.
There are two great websites that cater to gluten-free consumers in need of travel sized foods. Minimus.biz now has a small gluten-free selection, but many items available there are actually gluten-free and not marked as such. Some of the dressings from Ken’s and Kraft are examples of such items. The ingredients are clearly listed for each item on the website and if you are unsure of the gluten-free status of an item, you can contact the manufacturer to confirm. Other examples of gluten-free items that are not necessarily in the “gluten-free section” on Minimus.biz are honey, mustard, mayo and bbq sauce packets – to name a few.
The most exciting travel food website at our house is Go Picnic. That site sells pre-packaged gluten-free “meals-in-a-box”. The two meals we rarely leave home without (for extended trips) are Explore Munch and Zesty Break. The Explore Munch meal contains a turkey pepperoni stick, Snapea Crisps, strawberry applesauce, Mrs. Mays Sunflower Crunch, white cheddar cheese and Surf Sweets gummy bears. The Zesty Break meal includes turkey pepperoni slices, Sheffa Zesty Snack Mix, dried apricots, asaigo gourmet cheese spread, Mary’s Gone Crackers, mine Larabar and a mini chocolate bar.
The gluten-free meals from Go Picnic are not only gluten-free but they are free of refined sugar, artificial ingredients and MSG. Though MSG is gluten-free, not everyone agrees on how healthy – or unhealthy – it it might be generally speaking. These meals are not only perfect for traveling, they are great for gluten-free kids. The boxed meals remind me of lunchables, which all contain gluten and therefore are off limits for gluten-free kids of all ages. All the individual items might be small enough to get through airport security, in case you are traveling by air. We take the food items out of the Go Picnic box in order to save room when packing. Since the meals include a folding spork, all you need to do is add a drink and you’re good to go!
Other easy-to-pack gluten-free travel snacks include energy bars, crackers, pretzels, cookies and dried fruit. Don’t forget to check out the Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide for places to eat in the U.S.!