GFCF Diet and Road Trips.....

Updated on May 26, 2011
H.D. asks from Allen, TX
6 answers


I have a son who is on the GFCF diet for his Autism. Problem is, I'm seriously stuck on how to feed him to be able to do a road trip. I have two trips I'd love to do; one is only 5 hours but the other is an 18 hour drive. I make everything from scratch and don't know how to pack food, meals I should say, without serving him the same sunbutter/jam sandwich for every meal. How do you do a road trip when you are confined to a special diet? Is there any websites or blogs you've ran into that may help me? I can't bear the thought of my child not experiencing a "great american road trip" because he can't eat gluten and dairy.


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answers from New York on

Get a cooler and pack his food.



answers from New York on

In my mind, this is really no different than packing for a "normal" kid.

For the shorter trips:
I do things like freeze the bread and then make the sandwiches so that the meats inside and condiments (usually mayo, in my case) stay cool. I also freeze juice boxes the night before for the same reason. It'll warm up by the time I need it and if not, the kids love the slushies! It eliminates the need for an ice pack. If you have something fluid you need to keep cool, put a large 1 gallon (or 2 gallon) bag inside a thermos and fill it with water and freeze it overnight. In the AM, pop out the bag, ditch the frozen water and fill. A good thermos will stay super-cold this way.

For the longer trips (like cross-country or hiking for a weekend):
Again, I find my freezer is my best friend. Anything I can do ahead - freeze cubes/blocks of mashed sweet potatoes, applesauce, blueberries and grapes, even pre-cooked chicken pieces - make the trip easier and control what the kids are eating. I also pre-pack things like baggies of oatmeal, appropriate crackers, etc. I have also invested in small plastic cups (a pack from First Years was a few bucks at Walmart) with interchangable lids. When I am going echo-friendly, I freeze in those and/or pack the loose stuff in them.

Also, unless you are backpacking, you most likely won't be soooo in the boonies that you can't get to a store to restock on the goods that are GFCF.

Plan ahead and then enjoy yourselves!



answers from Dallas on

Does your son have a pciky palette? I only ask, because my nephew is on the autism spectrum. He is incredibly picky and they have a hard time when they are traveling. I am on the same diet as your son. In my experience, I've played it safe by eating only meat, fruits, and veggies when we've traveled. The little diners and home cooking places usually had grilled chicken and all kinds of veggies. Another thing, is we ate a lot of mexican food. Any mexican place we went, we just asked them to hold the cheese. Have you ever heard of Go Picnic? They sell boxed lunches that are balanced and healthy. I bought a bunch of the gluten free ones, for when we are out and about.



answers from Dallas on

We just came back from a 11 hour road trip with a 2 year old toddler. went pretty smooth. Back to your question...we took a cooler full of ice with his fruit, milk etc whatever needed to be refrigerated for the long rides you will most likely run into those "Loves" or "TA" superstore gas stations and they are very nice, clean bathrooms, and you can use their microwaves to heat up meals. Just some ideas...



answers from Indianapolis on

I am gf and haven't had too much trouble when we travel, most restaurants now have gluten-free menus and are willing to accommodate you. If you are going to the zoo or an amusement park, you could pack snacks/lunch or check ahead and see what they have. I always check the nutrition/allergy menus on-line before I eat out anywhere because a lot of places wouldn't have them in the store and also so I could plan ahead and know what (if anything) I could eat there.



answers from Dallas on

My daughter has several autoimmune illnesses so we have been following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for a year now ( It's extremely restrictive especially at the beginning and she can't eat at most restaurants because there is too much junk added into the food (e.g. seasonings, sugars, margarines).

So last year at this time, I was worried how I'd pack for her juvenile arthritis camp about 2 1/2 hours away. I borrowed my parents' large cooler and made a meal plan for the three days we'd be away. I knew the dorm where we'd be staying had a working kitchen, so I took some pans, microwaveable dishes, utensils, etc.

Having the meal plan and making sure I had enough food for each day is what made it work. I also label everything - especially when I won't be there - so my husband could easily pull a meal together from what I packed.

My daughter has since gone on two YMCA Adventure Princess camps with my husband and we've been to Colorado twice. I do the same thing every time and so far we haven't had any problems - only thing is I pack too much food.

The bigger coolers are supposed to keep food cool for 3-5 days without having to replace the ice packs, though I've never tried it for that long. might have some meal ideas that would work for GFCF diets. It is for SCD followers - primarily kids with Autism and inflammatory bowel diseases - but SCD is gluten free and many people go casein free too.

Good luck. It will work out!

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