Planning has been essential since going gluten-free back in March. Planning for road trips is even more essential when you have dietary restrictions. When I drive to Cincinnati, I’m usually fine without bringing a snack since it’s not so far. I just bring my water in my reusable water bottle.
My first real planning experience with being gluten-free was back in April when I did my Gluten-free Cooking Day the day before we went to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Georgetown, KY. I packed up all that food I made along with some fresh fruits and veggies because the year before, there were a lot of noodle dishes sold that are now off-limits for me. And it was easier to have the food on hand for my husband so he didn’t have to run to go far for a food break between tea demos.
My next test with planning was our trip to Chicago in May. It is a 5 hour drive up I-65 and frankly, there isn’t much along 65 in Indiana other than corn and soy. Except for Edinburgh and Indianapolis. Our goal was to get to Chicago before rush hour so it wouldn’t take us an hour once we hit city limits to get to my cousin’s place. Not knowing where I’d be able to eat along the way, I decided to pack some salads for our lunch. Not only economical and a time reducer for our lunch break, but I knew for a fact it was gluten-free.
We decided to pack our lunch again for our trip to Chicago last weekend even knowing there were places we could stop for food in Edinburgh and Indianapolis. Last time, I fixed the salads because we had a lot of lettuce from our CSA. This time, I had a lot of roasted eggplant and hummus. I chopped up some extra veggie sticks to take with us to dip in the hummus (no utensils needed). Those were prepared the night before and all I needed to do was put them in the cooler pack in the morning.
I made veggie sandwiches with the roasted eggplant the next morning to keep the bread from getting soggy. The eggplant is just roasted with some olive oil and I added tomato slices and green leaf lettuce. I was eating them with avocado slices for lunch that week, but I knew it would be a little too messy. Also, I used some of the hummus as a spread on one piece of bread. Much healthier than other condiments and it adds more flavor. That is Katz Gluten-Free Wholesome Bread that I used. I have to thank Carrie at Ginger Lemon Girl for introducing Katz to me. It is pricey, but the breads I chose from them (Wholesome Bread and Whole Grain Bread) do not have any added sugar of any type. Given that I continue to decrease the amount of grains I consume, the bread lasts longer than a few days.
I also took some of my favorite gluten-free crackers by Mary’s Gone Crackers. They are made from brown rice and seeds. Mainly, seeds. They are savory and addictive! Not really a cracker, but cracker-like enough and much healthier, too. I sliced up the remainder of my cheese to take to eat with the crackers.
Lastly, the Larabars. O. M. G. Have you tried them? I had my very first one last week Wednesday on my way to work from having my blood work done. Halfway through the drive to work, I really started to feel like I was starving and pulled out the Peanut Butter Cookie Larabar. I’m telling you, it was better than a peanut butter cookie. All it is, is fruits and nuts. Raw. Unprocessed. Good for you stuff. I wasn’t so fond of the Coconut Cream Pie, but I’m liking the Peanut Butter & Jelly and Apple Pie. Oh, the Jocalat is pretty awesome. Pure chocolate. No sugar added. Heaven!
It was a lot of food to take with us, but it was worth it. The only trash we had to throw away after lunch was our napkins and the leftover hummus and veggies we took with us on another mini-road trip to East Peoria to see some family.
I had to fuel us up for the long day after all that planning and packing. I was craving a breakfast sandwich the night before. I toasted some gluten-free English Muffins in my toaster oven (no gluten allowed near it!) while I fixed some eggs and sautéed mushrooms and onions. I added a little slice of cheese that you can’t see since it’s underneath the eggs getting all melty and gooey.
Having dietary restrictions doesn’t mean you have to travel without!