Planning a gluten-free road trip might sound stressful at first, but it really doesn't have to be! Whether you're new at the whole gluten-free thing, or a seasoned pro, these tips will help you stay healthy on the road!
How to Plan Your Gluten-Free Road Trip
Pack delicious snacks. Raw nuts, fresh fruits and veggies (oranges, apples, carrots, celery), cheese, peanut butter, and popcorn are all yummy treats that are gluten-free. You can also pack snacks from brands like Annie's, Udi's, and other brands you know and trust. One fun snack we like to pack is trail mix. It gives some variety, while providing protein and flavor, without the gluten.
Find a gluten-free hotel. Hotels that are gluten-free can be expensive (Fairmont, Ritz Carlton, Hyatt, Hilton), but finding a budget hotel with a kitchenette (Residence In, Extended Stay) is another way to prepare all of your meals to ensure you're eating a completely gluten-free diet. We like to head to the local supermarket and pick out a few of our favorite foods when we are arriving at our destination, so we don't have to worry about doing it later.
Be organized. Map out the route you're going to take for your trip. Circle the cities you plan on stopping - whether it's for gas, to stretch your legs, or to eat. Then, go to Google and search "Gluten-Free Restaurants (CITY NAME)". Add those stops to your trip, and always have back-ups just in case the restaurant is closed or no longer offers those gluten-free options.
Tip: If you're in a bind, you can stop at Wendy's for a gluten-free meal. Their baked potatoes, chili, (most) salads, and Frosty are all gluten-free. It's not some place that you'd want to eat every day, but it's good to know since it's a chain restaurant available in most areas.
Keep eating out to a minimum. We always do breakfast and lunch either on the road or at the hotel, and then have dinner at a nice restaurant. To save money, you could reverse this: have (free) breakfast at the hotel, have lunch at a restaurant, and then have dinner at the hotel or on the road. Packing your own snacks and food is a great way to save.
Be flexible. When planning anything around being gluten-free, it can be somewhat difficult if you aren't flexible. Sometimes, things will come up, and you will need to make changes. Just roll with it. Again, if you are prepared with snacks and by mapping out your trip you can really save yourself a lot of headache.
Every man for himself! Pack individual snack bags for each kid (and adult!), so you don't have to worry about passing everything back and forth. This will also help reduce (but not eliminate) spills and fights and is really helpful to avoid cross contamination.