Any gluten free foodie will be able to tell of a time when they got caught short needing lunch when they were out and about with no food to hand and it can feel like a real nightmare.
Most people living on a GF diet will be well trained as to what they can and can’t eat, where the best places to get food are and will more often than not come prepared to avoid these situations altogether, but in the early days when you’re still getting used to things, it’s easy to get caught out.
I’ve been gluten free for nearly a year now and still end up miles away from home at lunchtime with nothing to eat, so I’ve picked up a few top tips along the way to make sure I can eat food that is safe for me and most of the time, not too unhealthy without having to turn around and head home.
I’m going to be sharing with you everything I think you need to know and remember about picking up lunch when you’re on the move.
Pre-Packed GF Sandwiches Do Exist Now
Although the selection is still limited compared to the regular selection of pre-made sandwiches, gluten free ones do exist now and many supermarkets sell their own range. Marks & Spencers, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Morrisons all have a selection on sale in most stores, so it is always worth checking where the regular sandwiches are before starting to worry you’ll have nothing to eat.
Because GF sandwiches are a relatively new addition, it can sometimes be easy to forget that they’re a thing now and although they’re not always super readily available, it’s always worth a check.
Make Your Own Sandwich
It probably won’t be the best sandwich you’ve ever experienced, nor the prettiest but when needs must, making your own sandwich will do.
Most stores will sell sandwich fillers and GF bread, so if you can get those two things, then you’ve got a sandwich. You might be thinking a sandwich without any sort of butter or spread may be a bit dry but if you pop in plenty of filling, it will be fine for an emergency lunch.
If you’re near a Sainsbury’s with a bakery, their GF mini rolls are super tasty, easy to tear open and fill with meat or cheese and makes a quick and easy sandwich on the go.
It Doesn’t Have to be a Sandwich
I’m guilty of getting fixed on the idea that a sandwich is the only lunchtime option and I think its because that’s what everyone else is having but there are plenty more options available.
Whether you pick up a pre-made salad or just grab something like a packet of cooked meat or vegetable sticks with houmous, there’s always GF options that will fill you up for lunch that aren’t a sandwich.
Snacks Are Your Friend
As much as we all want to be able to pick up a healthy and balanced lunch on the go, it isn’t always possible when you’re gluten free and in those situations, snacks are your friend.
Even the most limited of service stations will have some kind of snack you can have that will tide you over until you’re either home to all your usual foods or somewhere with a better selection.
My go-to snacks include Kettle Chips or Pombears, a chocolate bar such as a Twirl or if you’re trying to stay healthy, it’s normally easy enough to pick up some fruit.
It’s Always Worth Asking
I often find myself suffering silently when I can’t find any food that seems suitable, whether that be in a shop, cafe or restaurant but sometimes asking a member of staff can see you finding something you can eat that you’d missed.
If you’ve scoured the shelves and feel as though you’re having no luck, ask someone who works there if they know of any GF food they have in, or if you’re in a cafe that seems to have no suitable options for you, ask a member of staff if they do have anything or if there’s any way that they can make something for you.
More often than not, people who work in the food industry are more than happy to help and will accommodate where they can and even if that brings you no luck, it was better to ask than potentially miss out on something.
These may be ‘stating the obvious’ tips but for people who are just adjusting to this lifestyle, they may be able to help when you’re struggling with food on the go.
I’d love to know what you’re go-to foods and tips are when you need to find lunch out and about, so share them in the comments.