Gluten Free Snacks and eating on the run

Travel Snacks Gluten Free

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Snacks – don’t leave home without them.  There is nothing worse than getting stuck in a situation where you are hungry,  your will power is waning, and there is nothing to eat but fast food.  You think to yourself; “Oh, how I wish I had put some snacks in my bag”.  Below is a helpful list of ideas for packing snacks as well as eating on the run ideas, put together from reading on line different fast food restaurants about their ingredients in the food, and trying to make the best decision for gluten free that I could.  Of course ingredients may change, restaurants may change their recipe at any moment, and therefore I encourage you to ask questions (as you are use to doing already) about the specific item you choose.

First off, its easier and cheaper to carry snacks with you.  Load up your back pack with Raw nuts – they last a long time and of course need no refrigeration.  A small handful of raw nuts could make the difference in assisting your will power.  Apples, baby carrots, Celery sticks, dried fruit, nuts and seeds, zucchini sticks, kale chips all travel well enough for a day or so.  Peanut butter and almond butter are sold in little packs similar to ketchup packs,  thereby making them a very easy for dipping  carrots, apples, or celery into on the go.

Chick-fil-A: will sell you a grilled chicken breast without the bun, or a salad with grilled chicken.  Last checked, their chicken was gluten free.

Boston Market has many options for gluten free, rotisserie chicken, fruit salad, green beans, corn, cinnamon apples, and they state that non of their gravies, or dressings contain gluten.

Chipotle Mexican Grill: order the bowl with any meat, veggies and sides – just no tortillas.

Chili’s bar and grill:  they have a gluten free menu here.  Last I checked their ribs were on this menu.

Red Lobster has a gluten free menu.

Jasons Deli caries gluten free bread for their sandwiches, and has a delicious salad bar.  I can’t help myself sometimes to a sandwich, but I always remind them about the allergies, and to please keep it from touching the prep board.  Actually I say, “I understand that you guys know what to do with gluten allergies, and are good about changing the gloves and keeping my sandwich free of gluten crumbs.  I appreciate that.”

On the subject of salad bars, I am often dissatisfied in the placement of the crouton bowl. As it goes with people reaching for things with little plastic tongs, bits get dropped on to other things and no one would think this is problematic.  Crumbs from croutons seem to hide and stick to anything.  As you know it’s not just a crumb.  It has already been studied that 1/8 of a thumbnail size of gluten is enough to set off the inflammatory response.  It does matter!

As far as eating steak, chicken or any other protein source for that matter, you need to ask about marinades, and seasonings.  Often they may use soy sauce for instance in their marinades, and or use a dusting of flour prior to grilling, as if often the case with fish.  The chef knows the answer to these questions.  I have been surprised lately to see things that I would have assumed were naturally gluten free; such as grilled Asparagus listed as not gluten free.  It just depends on what they have put on it, and or where it was cooked.  Many restaurants do not have a separate kitchen, and therefore cross contamination with certain foods may be the reason it’s listed as not gluten free, when you think it should be.

Enjoy the healthy benefits of cooking at home as much as possible, and when out and about, be prepared, and always ask questions before consuming.  Chefs and ingredients may vary, be aware.   

 

 

 

The Pizza experience

gluten free pizza

Gluten free pizza and Red Bridge Beer

The Pizza Pub experience

Sometimes you are just in the mood for a great pizza.  Sometimes you are in the mood for that whole neighborhood quaint pizza pub environment as well.  There is something about the smell of garlic, fresh bread, melting cheese, exposed red brick walls, high top pub tables and stools, and a cold beer.  Okay, so I’m a bit of a romantic looking for more than the big chain pizza store experience.

Once gluten free you may think these environments and foods are a thing of the past.  However, we happened upon just such a place one evening, or at least close to it, at Palio’s Pizza cafe at Preston and Park.  They claim to have put in the hours of research and development choosing just the right gluten free crust, and not just choosing the “typical” gluten free crust,  the one size only version that  every one else serves – that we are so tired of by now.  We decided to give it a try.
There were several options including vegetarian, as well as more of the gourmet toppings that are more to my liking, and what I try to create at home.  I recommend the Cade & Blake Pesto.  BYOB if you wish, and enjoy.
Let’s talk beer, since it seems to be the beverage of choice alongside pizza.   For those of you wondering if there is a beer that is gluten free, there are a few.  Often Red Bridge is available where they sell gluten free pizza, and serve beer, and in a very cold frosty mug – it passes. If you can get more options or can bring your own, I prefer Green’s dubbel dark ale, as I was formerly in love with dark ale beers before giving up gluten.  There is a beer on the market that uses low-protein barley that has enzematicly broken down the gluten and proteins.  In my opinion, I feel that the immune system will still create an immune/inflammatory response in many.  
When I create a pizza at home, I use Udi’s frozen pizza crust, a homemade pesto, goat cheese, roasted garlic, such as mushroom, and olives, artichokes etc.  The trick to using the frozen crusts is to push it off of the baking sheet in the last few minutes to the wire rack of the oven to really crisp up the crust.   
It should be noted that Palio’s does not have a separate kitchen for their gluten free pizza cooking, and though they make every effort to keep it safe for us (such as using clean gloves, and clean utensils) cross contamination is always possible in this kind of situation.