Allergen-Free Road Trips

Road Trip

With spring here and summer around the corner, I am starting to think of long weekend getaways. Road trips with the windows down, the wind and sun at my face, and my favorite music playing as I head to a relaxing destination. And then I think; where am I going to stop to eat?

When I was younger and my family packed ourselves into the car for the long road trip to my grandparents, one of my favorite parts of the trip was when we stopped midway for lunch at either Howard Johnson’s or Friendly’s. I would order a grilled cheese sandwich with potato chips and a coffee milkshake. It was pure heaven. But now with my dietary restrictions, finding food on road trips is harder to do.

So what are your options if your trip is longer than the distance between two meals, and you have a food allergy or intolerance?

Option one: Plan ahead and bring some food with you. On your way back, if you are near a food store, pick up items that are safe for you to eat.

Option two: Many fast food places are becoming sensitive to customers with food allergies and are including allergen free options on their menus. Some are also offering lists on their websites to help us figure out what we can eat without consequences. Additionally, there is an app that lists the fast food places which are gluten and allergen free called; iCanEat Fast Food Gluten Free and Allergy Free.

At most places you can order a salad, although you may need to skip the dressing. If you eat meat you can buy the sandwich and then skip the bun. Some places offer gluten-free bread, however, if you have celiac disease, you should be careful to check that there is no cross-contamination even if they state that the bread is gluten-free. Fast food places like D’Angelo or Mexican food chains have bowl options with the base made up of rice or lettuce allowing you to skip the bread all together.

Option three: Stop at convenience stores or gas stations with food marts. It is not ideal, but, depending on the size of the store, you might be able to scour the place for fresh fruit, cheese, hard-boiled eggs, nuts, popcorn, oatmeal, even potato chips will do the trick. I hate that feeling of walking slowly from aisle to aisle trying to find something to eat, but, every time I will find something. It might not be my favorite or healthiest meal but it will be enough to get me to my destination, without hunger or unpleasant digestive consequences.

Below is a list of fast food restaurants offering foods for those of us with allergies or intolerances. Do you have any safe fast food places that you can add to the list?

Arby’s (List of gluten free options and List of ingredients and allergens, Au Bon Pain, Boston Market, Burger King (List of gluten free options and List of allergens), Chick-fil-A, Chipotle Mexican Grill (List of allergens & gluten and List of ingredients), D’Angelo, Subway (List of allergens and List of ingredients) , and Wendy’s.

Photo taken by Aleksandr Koslovskii on Unsplash.


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