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What are your must-have gluten-free food items you take on trips?

5 replies [Last post]
administrator's picture
Joined: 01/08/2013

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Kimberly's picture
Joined: 04/16/2013
Have Food, Will Travel

So, you've decided to leave your home... maybe for a day trip, maybe for a weekend. Even the shortest trips can be disastrous when you don't prepare ahead of time. For this reason, I always always ALWAYS bring food with me. No matter where I'm going, and no matter what I'm promised when I get there (learned from experience, not everyone exactly understands what gluten-free, or even vegetarian mean; IE: "There's no meat in it, just chicken stock.")

Whether I'm traveling solo, or with my GF/CF/Soy-Free son Andrew, I pack a cooler. Sometimes two coolers. Heck, sometimes just a trip to the beach requires two coolers. We're well fed and well hydrated people! A typical cooler would contain 2 containers of cooked Tinkyada penne and sauce for my son. I'd cook more but it doesn't stay fresh-tasting for more than a day in my opinion. Also in my cooler- So Delcious coconut milk yogurt. It's completely safe for my son and he loves it! Also, if you refer other forums I've posted, you may know how I bake and freeze individual servings of muffins. I always grab a few from the freezer for trips, and they defrost nicely by the time my son finds them. Juice and Westsoy Vanilla Rice Milk are the two drinks I always bring everywhere for Andrew. Can I find juice on the road? Of course, but I hate paying $1.50 for one juicebox, and there might not be my son's favorites where I am. If I have made gluten-free granola bars, I'll grab some of those too! That's pretty much it for the specialty foods, otherwise you'll typically find apples, carrots, bananas, celery, hard-boiled eggs- I have mentioned I'm a health nut, haven't I?

If I am traveling for more than a day, the food I pack increases drastically! First and foremost, I cannot travel anywhere overnight unless there is a kitchen. I don't expect my son to live off of foods that aren't cooked fresh. And with his extreme sensitivities, even a salad I grab on the road can wreak havoc on his system. I usually have at least one large bag filled with a variety of Tinkyada pastas, canola oil, salt, Frontier garlic and onion powders, a jar of pasta sauce, Glutino original crackers, peanut butter, Westsoy Vanilla Rice Milk, gluten-free Rice Krispies, Gluten-free Chex, and maybe some Wylde GF pretzels by EnerG, or some Vanilla Honey Graham cookies by Enjoy Life if I want to be over-prepared. Other than that, if there is a refrigerator, I would definitely bring more yogurt. Fruits and vegetables can always be bought, as well as eggs- all of which we both eat regularly.

I think it's pretty safe to say I have a good amount of obstacles compared to most people reading this. Some of them I've chosen (vegetarianism), others chose me. I confess, it took me a few years to master the art of food on the go, but I promise everyone can travel and still manage to stay fed.

Kimberly gf mommy
Andrea's picture
Joined: 04/15/2013
My Suitcase

I guess when I think about taking a trip I think about suitcases. I like to go on road trips and I usually eat on the road. What can I pack in a suitcase that doesn't need refrigeration and won't get completely destroyed? Granted, the items probably won't fit in every section of MyPlate, but you can get pretty creative if you try.

Let's start with fruits and vegetables. Anything dried/dehydrated is great for me. Raisins are pretty good for you-- high in potassium and have fiber although they can be high in sugar. The boxes are small and easy to pack. Dried peas are a favorite of mine as well, and a great source of protein. I really like wasabi peas-- just have to make sure that the wasabi is gluten free.

Another favorite protein of mine that's full of fiber and simple to pack-- sunflower seeds. I LOVE raw sunflower seeds, and you can't get any smaller or easier to pack! Any other seed is an easy choice as well. I can't eat any type of nut product, but nut/peanuts would fit into this category as well.

When it comes to snacking, I think of Pop Chips (rice crackers/chips), pretzels, and crackers. Here's where you can get your grains! There are tons of gluten free options out there, so take your pick! They are all easy to pack and keep in the boxes or in the bags.

Something else that comes to mind is tuna fish. Not the cans... the kind that comes in the pouch now! You can even get Hellman's Mayonnaise small pouches, tear them each open, mix up a little tuna and mayo, and grab some of those pretzels or crackers you packed and dig in! I've done that on road trips and it's a great, cheap option. I actually got the idea from those ready-made tuna/cracker lunch packs that they sell in the supermarkets.

Dairy is hard to take on trips without a cooler. Since I'm a teacher, I do see what's packed in a child's lunch everyday. The string cheeses are left in lunch boxes for a few hours during the day and I guess that's ok. I wouldn't eat it... or anything dairy... without refrigeration.

Dessert you say? I have to eat gluten free, peanut/tree nut and coconut free, so you'll definitely see some Junior Mints or York Peppermint Patties in my suitcase as well.

GFDustin's picture
Joined: 06/28/2013
Re: What are your must-have gluten-free food items you take ...

I've learned several things since moving to Korea last year to teach English. The most important thing is that if you have any cravings for candy often, you better bring that over to the country you are visiting. They might not have that item that you so love.

One thing that I missed the most when I went to South Korea were Reece's Pieces. It's really random, I know. I just crave it every once in a while, but when I do crave it, the urge takes control of my body until I can find some. When I had friends visiting me from America, I told them to bring me some to silence my insatiable craving. I lived in Korea for 6 months. When I came back to America, I consumed so many Reece's pieces that I no longer crave it even a year later.

As for within the country, I always make sure I have gluten-free protein bars. The specific brand that I enjoy is called Quest, and their chocolate chip cookie flavor is AMAZING. If you heat it in the microwave oven for 15 seconds, it comes out as soft and delicious as a freshly baked cookie. Whenever I get a craving, I reach for one of these. I began doing that because on the road, it is often difficult to find a snack that is gluten-free at gas stations and convenience stores.

Another thing that I make sure I bring with me, especially to sushi restaurants and Asian restaurants, is gluten-free soy sauce. It exists, and it is delicious! It is one of my favorite gluten-free inventions, and I appreciate the person who invented it. Sushi is just not the same without soy sauce, in my opinion! Neither is fried rice.

Andrea's picture
Joined: 04/15/2013
Re: What are your must-have gluten-free food items you take ...

Hi GF Dustin,

I second the gluten free soy sauce! I keep the packets made by San J in my purse AT ALL TIMES in case I need them!!

KatrinaP's picture
Joined: 07/02/2013
Re: What are your must-have gluten-free food items you take ...

I make lots and lots of snacks for road trips. The first thing that comes to mind is GF granola. I like to make my own from a blend of grains, nuts, and fruits, but you can buy lots of GF granola already made at most grocery stores.

Fresh fruits are really good to take, especially ones that don't require refrigeration (ie: bananas, apples, oranges, etc.). They are packed full of vitamins, a sweet and tasty treat, and don't take up cooler space. If you have a small cooler, grapes are always a favorite.

A jar of peanut butter is always available for road trips. Fat, protein, and high calorie in a small amount. Perfect for travel and in a compact size.

The other thing I do is a bit bizarre, but we always really love it. I will roast a whole chicken before we go and put it in a cooler for the road. We'll pull off the meat and nibble on it for most of the car ride. It also works particularly well since our travels are usually going to visit my boyfriend's family (who is also gluten-free), and we have dinner already made for when we get there. Just warm it up with a few veggies and you have a chicken dinner.

- Katrina