In the midst of Spring Break and convention season, airports become an unavoidable obstacle for many gluten-free eaters. Even with the advancements that airlines are making, airports have always been a hub for food that comes in a wrap, between slices of bread or with another form of the looming danger of cross contamination.
Over the next few weeks we will be covering your best bets for gluten-free dining options at some of the country’s most popular airports including LAX, ORD, SFO, JFK and LAS. In the meantime, there are a few options that hold true no matter which airport you happen to be passing through.
Of course the safest option is always BYO. While the thought of a unrefrigerated-for-several-hours GF turkey sandwich will leave nothing but less than pleasant thoughts in your mind, there are some travel friendly snacks that don’t take up much space, pass through that security screen and are still appetizing.
Before heading out, pack up your own snack box with things you actually want to eat. Some favorites are granola or snack bars, roasted chicken or pork (sliced into bite-sized pieces), kale chips, dried fruits and veggies, homemade trail mix with assorted nuts and chocolate, and pre-packaged string cheese.
In case you’re running late or find yourself on a last-minute trip, Hudson News stores in airports across the nation now have gluten-free Go Picnic pre-packed snack boxes for you to pick up on the go. These can also be bought at a Target ahead of time. The gluten-free options include black bean dip and plantain chips, almond butter and crackers, three-bean dip and rice chips, turkey pepperoni and chips, salmon and crackers, sunbutter and crackers, hummus and crackers, and turkey stick and crunch. Accompanying these “main courses” are additional snacks such as trail mix, gluten-free crackers, cookies and chocolate.
Hudson News and other magazine and sundry stores, offer things for gluten-free eaters. There are plenty of staples like dried fruit, nuts and gluten-free bars like Kind and Bumblebar. At the very least it’s enough to tide you over for a quick layover or delay.
Chain retailers like Starbucks that you find in most airports offer fruit, energy bars and salads. Be sure to ask questions about what’s included if you have a bad feeling or want to be extra sure. Salads are tricky. If they are topped with meat remember that much mass produced lunch meat is not gluten-free nor are the salad dressings. Many are pre-packed with croutons on top and even if they come in a separate bag that’s sealed, there’s always the big risk of cross contamination.
Check back here soon for specific gluten-free dining options at your favorite airports.