Preparation is key to staying gluten-free–with such a limited diet, you quickly learn to always pack your own gluten-free snacks and food so that you don’t have to go hungry and/or feel the wrath of your intestines later. But what happens when that snack is sitting forgotten on your kitchen counter and you’re so hungry your stomach is about to eat itself?
If you’re anything like 100 other million Americans, you’ll most likely look for food in the most convenient place:
the vending machine.
Although most write-off any gluten-free snack possibilities in a vending machine, I’ve forgotten my food enough times that I’ve discovered some of the hidden secerets of the on-the-go snack underworld. Here are some of the best gluten-free snacks I’ve found in a typical vending machine:
Although I’d be weary of some pre-packaged peanuts, cashews, pistachios and pine nuts all make an ideal gluten-free high-protein snack. Planters Nuts & Chocolate Trail Mix is also a filling gluten-free choice that gives you a bit of variety–something any gluten-free goer can enjoy.
Contrary to popular belief, many chips are not off limits. Frito-Lay manufacturers several different chip brands that have been labeled “gluten-free.” Although Frito-Lay does have a warning of possible cross-contamination on its website, I’ve yet to have any issues with the Baked Lay’s Original Potato Crisps or the Fritos Original Corn Chips. Mission Tortilla chips have also been deemed “gluten-free” by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA).
3. Fruit Snacks
Both Kellogg’s Fruity Snacks Mixed Berry and Welch’s Fruit Snacks are two low-fat, relatively low-calorie snack options commonly found in vending machines. Although slightly high in sugar, these fruit snacks are high in Vitamin C and tide me over long enough until my next meal.
OK, OK…so candy isn’t the healthiest snack option. But just admit it; sometimes, there’s no curbing that urgent need to take a big, satisfying bite into your favorite candy bar. Lucky for us, lots of candies are gluten-free even if they don’t sport the label. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness updates an extensive gluten-free candy list every October, but some of my favorites include: Raisinets, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Sweet Tarts, M&M’s and even 3 Musketeers! Be careful though: any candy with a cookie component (Kit-Kat, Twix Bars, Whoppers etc.) are NOT gluten-free and should be avoided.
Although vending machines aren’t an ideal source of nutrition for anyone, gluten-free goers can utilize them. As with any prepackaged food, as long as labels are double-checked you too can find a satisfying snack behind the glass.