Several of our registered dietitians share their gluten free travel tips:

gluten free travel tips

Following a gluten-free diet can make it hard to eat on the road. And no matter the time of year, we always seem to find ourselves on the road again. Gluten-free travel tips will require a little extra planning, packing, and precision.

The Do’s and Don’ts for Gluten Free Travel


Pack Snacks Ahead of Time for Gluten Free Travel

  • Your favorite fruit with nuts or nut butter
  • Trader Joe’s dried cheese puffs
  • Trail mix with your pick of dried fruit, nuts, and chocolate morsels
  • Pre-popped popcorn
  • Roasted fava beans or edamame 
  • Roasted chickpeas 
  • Fruit and nut bars 

Some convenience stores have more gluten-free options than others. For example at WaWa you can order a customized omelet bowl that can be made gluten-free. Wawa also has freshly cut fruit, boiled eggs, and carrots with hummus in their refrigerated case. But preventing cross-contamination may not be guaranteed. 

Carefully Choose Snacks Along the Way for Gluten Free Travel


Check the refrigerated section for individual yogurts. Remember to check the label for the sugar content! A good goal is to pick a yogurt with less than 10g of sugar per serving. Try reading the ingredient label to pick out sources of added sugar. If an ingredient ends in an “-ose”, it is a sugar. For example, sucrose, fructose, sucralose, and dextrose are all sugars

Gluten-free protein bars

A gluten-free protein bar can keep you full if you don’t have time to stop for a meal right away. Many gluten-free bars on the market now have “Gluten-Free” printed on the front of their package. So they try to make it easier for the customer. Try to select a bar that is balanced with fat, protein, carbohydrate, and at least 3 grams of fiber. 

Be a Label Detective

Fresh food can be hard to come by on the highway. You’re more likely to find 24-hour convenient stores to be your main snack stop. Unfortunately, most of the food that you will find at these stops are processed and packaged and have wheat as the main ingredient. If convenience stores are your main source of quick-nourishment, you can use your food label detective skills to get through this trip gluten-free!

For example, here are a few examples of snack items that can be found in convenience stores. Let’s look to see if they are gluten-free…

Chex Mix

Chex mix travel snack Chex mix travel snack label

This snack contains gluten! The first ingredient is wheat flour. This definitely would not be a snack you would want if you have to eat gluten-free. I also found rye flour listed as an ingredient, which also contains gluten. 

Don’t forget the Allergen List!

You can double-check your detective skills by checking the allergen list. The allergen list is usually in bold type and under the nutrition facts. This snack has wheat ingredients! 

Luna Bar

This snack doesn’t have wheat, rye or barley in the ingredient list, and it says gluten-free on the allergen list. This is a safe gluten-free choice!

Gluten free travel tips includes label reading:

Also, look for other terms for wheat:
  • Durum
  • Einkorn 
  • Emmer 
  • Kamut 
  • Spelt 



Don’t Forget About Hidden Sources of Gluten

Oats and oats products

Oats naturally do not contain gluten. But a lot of oats products can be cross-contaminated with gluten when they are harvested. It is safer to pick oats products that are clearly marked gluten-free. This will mean that the oats were harvested and processed in facilities specially designed to prevent gluten cross-contamination. 

Malted Barley Extract

Malted barley extract is an ingredient popping up in a lot of granola bars, cereals, and candies. It is used in small amounts to add flavor to products. Foods that have malted barley extract and also claim to be gluten-free can be safe to eat for someone who has Celiac Disease. These products with the gluten-free claim have been tested to contain 20 parts per million or less of gluten, which is a safe level to eat if you have Celiac Disease. 

However, if the item contains malted barley extract and is not labeled gluten-free it may contain more than the safe 20 parts per million of gluten. You would want to pick a different snack. 

Don’t be Afraid to Ask Your Server Questions at Restaurants

Restaurants want returning customers. So they are willing to go the extra mile to make sure you have a satisfying meal. A lot of restaurants nowadays have separate gluten-free menus, and you just have to ask for them! You can also ask to substitute bread on a sandwich for a corn tortilla, or lettuce wrap, or get a side of fruit or potatoes in place of a dinner roll.

Are you planning to travel soon? Give our trips a try, post and tag us on social media showing us where you went! 


Instagram: @marylanddietitians

Rebecca Bitzer loves to empower Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) and their clients.  Co-author of Welcome to the Rebelution: Seven steps to the nutrition counseling practice of your dreams and  Taste the Sweet Rebellion: Rebel against dieting.