Many people love long roads trips; listening to music, watching the scenery, seeing new places. Well, I am definitely not one of those people. Cramped cars, traffic, and roadside stops where nothing is gluten free? No Thanks
I have found the most life saving tip for traveling when you can’t eat gluten, assume you will not be able to eat anything. I know it sounds extreme, but the better prepared you are the easier your travels will be. While most of the food I bring on the road is not the healthiest it’s a better option than possibly getting glutened while in the car! After traveling from Massachusetts to Florida every six months for the past few years, I’ve become quite skilled at packing to ensure I always have a gluten free snack!
I cannot travel without granola bars. They’re the perfect breakfast, and a great snack to eat with one hand while driving. I buy Udi’s granola bars, since all of their products are gluten free I don’t have to waste time reading labels. I also make sure I have either apples or oranges with me so I can start my day with something fresh. I tried bananas once but they make the car smell, so now I stick with less odorous fruits.
The first road trip I made gluten free I was excited to find out Subway can make all of there sandwiches into a salad. While a great option, it was never filling and I ended up paying too much money for sandwich lettuce with tuna on top. I then realized tuna from the store doesn’t need to be refrigerated. Now I always make sure I have a Starkist packet for every day I will need lunch. There are so many flavor options it prevents lunch from seeing too repetitive. When we stop for lunch I just steal a fork from a fast food chain, spread my tuna on a rice cake and I’m refueled for the rest of my journey.
Now dinner is always the hardest part of the road trip for me. I’m sure many people go out to dinner while traveling. But once I’m at my hotel for the night I don’t want to get in my car again until morning. If you are the type of person who likes to go out I’d say stick to the big chains. At this point so many chains have gluten free menus and options for you, but keep in mind there is always the risk of cross contamination in these restaurants.
My favorite part of staying in a hotel was always the room service, but now I find I do not trust room service anywhere. I cannot even count the number of times I’ve called room service and asked if something was gluten free and people didn’t know! I stayed at one big chain hotel, that I won’t name because that’s rude, and the chef had no idea what gluten even is! Hello, it’s 2015 this is no longer uncommon.
Since most hotel have microwaves I always travel with a Taste of Thai noodles. These noodles were my go to meal all through college just because they are delicious. (As delicious as microwavable noodles can be). Bonus points for being gluten free! Finding out I could still eat their peanut noodles was a game changer for me. Microwavable food that doesn’t need to be in a freezer is extremely difficult to find so these noodles are perfect for travelings.
However, eating noodles for dinner multiple nights in a row definitely becomes unsatisfying. This trip I had a brilliant idea, sweet potatoes! Sweet potatoes don’t need any refrigeration and can be cooked in the microwave, score! I topped mine with a package broccoli cheddar soup and was so happy with my decision. The potato provided the freshness I miss out on whenever having to rely so heavily on packaged foods.
Hopefully soon roadside stops will have more gluten free options, but until then I hope these tips help you with your travels!