When you have coeliac disease or are on a gluten free diet, planning a gluten free day out or road trip can often seem like a daunting task.
Not being able to eat certain foods can often mean that any day away from your normal routine can leave you in a state of minor anxiety about when you'll be able to eat.
But planning a gluten free road trip or day out doesn't have to be a complex or scary task at all.
There's no reason someone on a gluten free diet can't enjoy the same explorations and adventures as their 'normal' friends and family.
All it takes is a little bit of extra planning, and a gluten free day out can turn into a foodie adventure!
The perfect snack for a gluten free day out
In this post, I've teamed up with the wonderful Nairn's Oatcakes to show you exactly how to plan for a gluten free day out - with the help of a 'packed munch'.
Nairn's are a brand I've relied on since my early coeliac days, almost two decades ago.
I always carried a pack of their gluten free cheesy oatcakes everywhere with me (and I am still obsessed with them to this day!) but now their range has expanded with a fantastic array of snacks.
One of their latest additions are these Gluten Free Oat Bars, which come in three flavours: Cacao & Orange, Apple & Cinnamon and Mixed Seeds & Protein.
They have 40% less sugar than an average cereal bar, are vegan and taste amazing!
I find a lot of 'cereal bars' all taste the same but these really are on another level - the apple and cinnamon one is my favourite as it tastes just like apple pie, but chunks of dried apple too! Yum!
Tips for planning a gluten free day out
I absolutely love going on adventures, and lockdown has resulted in me exploring and falling love with my local area so much more.
For me, the best day out is just packing up a rucksack full of treats, strapping on my trainers and going exploring on foot.
Getting outside does wonders for my mental health and I love finding a nice spot to sit along the coastline and enjoying a packed lunch along the way.
For many, the idea of this might be daunting because they don't know what to pack, how many snacks to take or where to go.
If you're on a gluten free diet and not sure how to plan a gluten free day trip or road trip, here are some tips I live by...
Stock up on gluten free snacks
The most important thing for me is having a tasty and filling gluten free snack I can take a pitstop and enjoy.
I love Nairn's Oat Bars for this - they're the perfect portable treat to take with you wherever you're going.
They're not bulky, don't have to be kept cool and are small enough to even slip in your handbag or pocket.
Part of the joy of a day out for me is finding a place to stop, drink some coffee from a flask and enjoy a little treat like these Oat Bars.
I particularly love dipping them in a milky coffee too - the Cacao & Orange ones are perfect for this!
When it comes to these Oat Bars, I always make sure I have a ready stash too.
I keep them in my handbag, my main rucksack (anyone else live between several different bags!?) and also in the glove compartment of my car.
This one is especially important - there's nothing worse than being hungry and stuck in traffic, especially as service stations are notoriously bad for gluten free options.
Instead, find a nice viewpoint, pull over and enjoy the view while munching on an Oat Bar!
Always take a packed lunch
There are so many great spots to eat a gluten free lunch nowadays, with pubs, cafes and restaurants all offering gluten free menus.
But sometimes you can pick a spot where there isn't an eatery for miles - or you finally find one and they don't have anything gluten free.
So the best thing you can do is be prepared and take your own lunch!
Buying a Thermos flask and a cool bag have been my two greatest investments when it comes to taking food with me.
A flask means you can pack things like soup, chilli or even curries and take them with you - just make sure it's leakproof (I've learned that the hard way!).
And a cool box is also super handy for taking along things like sandwiches, pasties, salads, or anything else you've made up at home.
Think about protein
It's easy to end up packing a bag full of sweet snacks for a day out and then realise you don't have anything substantial to eat.
Making sure you have a good selection of food will be particularly helpful if your day is active or involves a lot of walking.
I particularly love the Nairn's Mixed Seeds & Protein Oat Bar for adventures like this, as I find it keeps me feeling fuller for longer.
I often have these bars before the gym if I'm doing an early morning session, as I find them filling but not too heavy.
So if you're gluten free day out involves an early start, grab some of these to eat to get your adventures off to a good start.
Use blogs and apps to suss out your destination
If you're going further afield than your usual walks, do your research in advance to ensure you don't go hungry.
There are some useful apps which list gluten free places to eat, and a quick search online should help too.
I also like to search the area I'm going to on Instagram beforehand to see if there is anywhere coeliac-safe to eat.
If you plan in advance, you can make sure you have a table for lunch or dinner booked somewhere gluten free-friendly, and it will take some of the worry away.
With a backpack full of snacks and plenty of research, you can't go wrong.
Keep an open mind!
You can do all the research and preparation in the world but sometimes plans change, and that's ok.
Be as prepared as possible with a stash of snacks and keep a positive mindset if something crops up along the way.
It's all a part of the adventure!
Where can I buy the Nairn's gluten free Oat Bars?
If you're ready for an adventure and want to fuel up with a 'packed munch' then make sure you give these Nairn's Oat Bars a try.
They're the perfect fuel for any adventure and I'd love to know which one is your favourite, and how you enjoy them!
The Nairn's Oat Bars are available from nationwide Morrisons’ stores, Waitrose, Tescos, Sainsbury’s, Asda, RRP from £2.50 for four bars.