For many people, summertime means that it’s time to hit the road, the beach, or the trailhead. However, when you’re gluten-free or have a gluten-free family member, stopping for food at a restaurant or convenience store on the way to your summer destination may not be ideal. Instead, along with some sunscreen and bug spray, you’ll need to bring along gluten-free snacks that will travel well, are convenient to eat on-the-go, and that will be enjoyed by everyone, including family members who aren’t gluten-free.
Depending on the length of your trip, you’ll need to bring a cooler or two for snacks and drinks that need refrigeration. For serious outings, a large cooler in the back of your car along with a smaller insulated bag that can ride up front may be the way to go. Some naturally gluten-free snacks to stock your coolers with include:
• Yogurt (in tubes or cups)
• Cut up fruits and veggies (grapes, carrot sticks, and apple slices)
• Cheese (sticks, cubes and mini-rounds)
• Peeled hard boiled eggs
• Fruit and applesauce cups
• Deli meat slices
• Single serving sizes of juice, milk (or alternative milks) and water are a must, too
If you’re taking a short trip and just need to grab a quick gluten-free snack to keep you going, consider stocking the car with foods that don’t need refrigeration such as:
• Gluten-free granola, trail mix, or cereal
• Gluten-free snack bars
• Fruit leather, whole fruit, and jerky (double check the label to make sure it’s gluten-free!)
These snacks are perfect for tucking into your beach bag, your day camper’s lunch bag, or in your backpack before leaving for a hike; however, you don’t need to rely on premade gluten-free snacks. Making your own can help you stay on budget and will ensure that no gluten accidentally gets in your food. Going the homemade route can also be a fun family project! For example, homemade trail mix is something that’s easy enough for the kids to help prepare. With an adult’s help, they can combine their favorite gluten-free cereal with ingredients such as a mix of nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, dried fruit, and shredded coconut.
You can also make your own dried fruit, fruit leather, and beef jerky in a dehydrator. There are dozens of recipes online, and it’s much easier to do than you think. You may want to make your own gluten-free snack bars, too!
Finally, when packing your snack bag or cooler, don’t forget a roll of paper towels or napkins, reusable spoons and containers, and a trash bag or two. Gluten-free snacking on-the-go can be easy if you plan ahead, but you’ll want to be prepared in case it gets messy, too!