Thursday, January 5, 2012
Eating wheat-free while on the road
I have a crazy lifestyle that involves a lot of long car rides thanks to living in the Boondocks so we pack snacks, and have meals on the road as needed. It's not always easy to find wheat-free meals for me when the family is along for the ride. Earlier this week we had one of those nights. We had to go to LA and were driving home about 7pm so dinner was definitely a "must" at that point. When I'm by myself, I eat Mexican food because it's easy to find a taco stand in So Cal and get something on a corn tortilla. When it's just Ross and I we do Asian, typically Thai or sushi. When it's all of us it's usually Panda Express, Subway, or Panera. It's almost impossible to be wheat-free at Subway (yes, they have salads...but ick!) and I'm burned out on Panda, so it was Panera this time.
If you aren't familiar with Panera it's a temple to BREAD and WHEAT (so you would think I would avoid at all costs) but I was able to have a wonderful meal that made both my taste buds and tummy happy. I had the "You Pick 2" with the Vegetarian Black Bean soup and the half Thai Chopped Chicken. My side was a bag of the sea salt chips (fried in olive oil so quasi-healthy). I knew the soup was gluten-free, and therefore wheat free. So I was OK there. The Thai salad has a dressing with soy sauce in it which means there was a little wheat (which I'm OK with in soy sauce, but plain old bread makes me sick) and I asked them not to add the won ton strips. I had no ill effects afterwards, so skipping the won tons was the right call and the wheat in the soy sauce was negligible. You can check out the nutrition info here, and for those interested in watching their calories, it was about 330 for the soup and salad but the sodium is over 1500.
One final tip - Starbucks is a regular quick-meal-on-the-road spot. I skip everything in the pastry case and look below in the cold case for wheat-free and gluten free items. The Greek yogurt parfait is good for a quick protein boost and I just don't add the granola or I add a handful of gluten-free granola from the snacks I pack. Sometimes they have string cheese and chocolate soy milk. I also like the Fruit and Cheese bistro box - throw out the crackers and you have a nice lite meal. When I'm really on the run, I get a Kind Bar and a banana to go. I wish Starbucks would offer a few more gluten-free options, but at least it's a start.
I recently downloaded 2 iPhone apps for finding gluten-free menus at nearby restaurants. I'll review the apps in a future post.