Friday Blog: Kid-Friendly – Gluten-Free on the Road
This month’s “What’s Up Doc?” article comes from Amie Valpone, HHC, AADP. Amie is a Manhattan based Private Chef, Culinary Marketing Consultant, Whole Living Expert, Professional Recipe Developer and Food Writer specializing in simple Gluten-Free ‘Clean’ recipes for the home cook. Amie is also the Publisher and Marketing Director of the online gluten-free magazine, Easy Eats. Chek out Amie’s blog: The Healthy Apple!
Some say it may be tough. But I find traveling ‘gluten-free’ pretty fun and easy. It’s not so hard when you’ve been prepping snacks for flights, road trips or a day of on-the-go business meetings for many years. I’ve been packing food bags for my travel adventures for over ten years now. Who knew my methods also work well for traveling with kids.
Lots of fresh veggies, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, Greek yogurt, hummus, organic salt-free turkey slices and salsa. Create kale and nori wraps with these ingredients, roll them up and take a bite. You can also cook up a large batch of gluten-free grains such as brown or wild rice or quinoa. Toss them into containers and drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and fresh herbs for an easy and quick eat.
Not in the mood for grains? How about some beans? There are more beans out there in the food stores than you’ll know what to do with. Cook them up; toss them into a separate container, mix with salsa and guacamole and serve wrapped in your kale leaves or nori wraps – Simple, easy and healthy. You can also slice or chop up some sweet potatoes, place them onto a baking sheet with cinnamon, then bake to create your very own potato chips or fries. Serve with a side container of hummus or Square One Organics mango puree and you’ve got a great snack to hold you over during a lay-over.
How about packing a few toasted gluten-free tortillas with an individual packet of nut butter? When you’re tummy starts rumbling, simply spread the nut butter onto the corn tortilla, sprinkle with chia seeds and wrap for a protein-packed nosh anytime of the day.
My Ziploc bags of veggies shown consist of leeks, fennel, sweet bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, eggplant, zucchini, jicama and lots of fresh, flavorful herbs. I bring a separate plate, fork and knife with me when I travel so I toss these veggies onto my plate, top with some avocado, chia seeds, salsa and Greek yogurt and have a nice little feast with myself and my kids.
My other traveling staples are fresh lemons (for hot tea and salads), Traditional Medicinals roasted dandelion root tea, Amazing Grass Wheat Grass packets, green tea, Navita’s Naturals Maca powder and Stevia.
Before I head out on a trip, whether it be for pleasure or business I always hop on the internet and search for the nearest Whole Foods Market, get directions and make a plan to stop there before hitting the hotel. Then, I call my hotel to request a microwave and fridge in my room; gotta love eggs and veggies in the micro and I keep my perishable goods chilled in the fridge to make sure they last throughout the trip. Sometimes there’s a small fee associated with these amenities, but they’re usually on the house.
My best advice to you or someone you know who suffers from food allergies or intolerances is to jot down a list of the foods that you enjoy eating and make you feel good. This is likely to be veggies and fruits, possibly nuts and seeds, nut butters and lean proteins such eggs, poultry and tofu.
Sometimes it can be tough to find a gluten-free protein source when you’re stuck at the airport, on a train or in a car…plus, unless you have a cooler, those eggs, Greek yogurt and turkey sure aren’t going to last long. What do I do in this case?
I simply bring a large bag of chia seeds with me and sprinkle them atop my snacks n’ meals. It’s a whole lot easier than carting around hard-boiled eggs, yogurt and poultry in a cooler. That’s for sure.
I’ve been laughed at, looked at funny and smiled at a whole lot while we snack and travel, especially when the person sitting next to me catches us eating our ripe avocado with a spoon. Hey, it’s good and ya know what? My tasty avocado is a heck of a lot better than what they’re eating…the processed cookies and burger served in the snack car sure takes a lot more guts to eat than a pure avocado.
Wouldn’t ya say?
I’ll stick with the avocado.