Travel season is here, which means a little extra preparation is needed for those of us who are on a gluten-free diet. In my 5 Tips for Gluten-Free Travel, I talk about keeping food with you while you travel as well as packing food in your suitcase. The following list of gluten-free foods is great for both.
Gluten-Free Foods that are Great for Travel
Some of these foods are not always gluten free, so be sure to read labels or buy a gluten-free brand that you trust.
Nuts, especially mixed nuts, are my #1 go-to snack for traveling or even just running errands. Nuts contain healthy fats as well as protein, fiber, and nutrients. A handful is all you need to stave off hunger.
For snacking, I usually buy salted mixed nuts. However, even if the ingredients list is gluten free, many nuts are processed on equipment that also processes gluten containing products. I have had reactions from this kind of cross contamination. For that reason, I mostly buy Planters, which does not include wheat in their shared equipment statement, and which I have never reacted to.
2. Nut Butter
Peanut butter or almond butter is easy to pack. It’s also easy to find at stores during your travels. While you can simply eat nuts, sometimes it’s nice to spread nut butter on gluten-free bread or crackers, celery sticks, cucumber slices, or apple slices.
You get the same benefits you do from eating nuts but you’re adding other food to it. It’s not quite as easy to eat as nuts, but it’s still doable for travel, and it’s more popular with kids. You can even find a variety of nut butter packets (like this Barney Butter) that you can squeeze onto your desired surface.
3. Fruits and Vegetables
Wash, cut, and bag fresh fruits and vegetables and keep them in a cooler or an insulated lunch bag with a cold pack or some ice. If that’s not possible, most will be okay for a number of hours without being kept cold.
The same foods you might use in a packed lunch work well for this. For veggies, think sticks of carrots, celery, zucchini, and peppers, slices of cucumber, and/or grape tomatoes. For fruit, you can pack them whole or cut (but remember to wash them beforehand). Apple and pear slices can be tossed in a little lemon juice mixed with water to prevent browning. Clementines are easy to take along whole and peel when you’re ready to eat. Grapes are easy and kids like them.
Dried fruit is another great option for traveling. Unfortunately, it often has sugar added to it, but it can be easy and space saving.
Although cheese does need to be kept cold (or at least cool), it can be another great snack that combines well with other foods like crackers, fruit, and veggies, and it doesn’t take up a lot of space. Choose cheese sticks (especially for kids) or presliced cheese that is easy to eat on-the-go.
As long as you can tolerate dairy, cheese is a good snack to help fill you up and keep you going.
Various types of bars are among my favorite travel foods. And just as I mentioned with nuts, I use them all the time for days when I’m busy and have a long stretch between meals.
My favorite bars to purchase are Larabars. They are fruit and nut bars, and I think all of them are grain free. Another great option, which is not grain free, is Pamela’s Whenever Bars. When I was eating grains, I found them to be very satisfying. My family likes them too.
If you are grain free or paleo, you might like my Banana Bars, Banana Nut Bars, or Paleo Granola Bars. Also, These Energy Bars are grain free and are a lot like Larabars (and one of my husband’s favorites).
6. Trail Mix or Granola
This suggestion is similar to the bars I mentioned above, but instead of a bar, you have a loose mixture to eat. Enjoy Life has a couple varieties of Seed and Fruit Mix that I like (they are nut free). There are different brands of gluten-free granola. My husband likes some that ALDI sells.
You can also make your own versions of these. I don’t have my own recipes for you, but a favorite trail mix recipe that I make all the time comes from my friend Shirley. It’s called Harvest Trail Mix. I made batches of this for Christmas gifts and everyone loves it!
7. Jerky (Gluten-Free Brands)
I find that jerky makes a good high protein snack and works well eaten along with some fruit or veggies. In a pinch, it can be made into a meal. But you have to be careful about jerky because a lot of it is not gluten free. Krave makes beef, turkey, and pork jerky in a variety of flavors, all of which are gluten free.
I’ve also gotten Kirkland Signature Steak Strips, and we like those. These steak strips are thick and not completely dry like most jerky. I find it to be a more pleasant eating experience. And just so you know, they need to be refrigerated within three days of opening.
While this list is not exhaustive, these are the 7 gluten-free foods we most commonly eat when traveling. Even if you have meal plans, it’s always helpful to have snacks with you when there are long days of travel or excursions involved. These ideas will keep you from getting to the point of being ravenously hungry, which will help you enjoy your trip more!
What are your go-to travel foods?