Gluten-Free Food in Flight: United Airlines

By April 12, 2014 Gluten-Free Travels
United Airline Gluten Free Sample

Traveling all day blows, let’s be honest. The only thing that is worse than spending hours in an airport then hours on a plane is hearing your stomach growl while you’re 30,000 feet above the ground.

I recently took a trip and thought to myself, “Just eat breakfast before you go and pack almonds for the plane; you’ll be fine!” Yeah…right. Basically, if you’re flying somewhere, you should probably pack at least two “meals” and maybe a few snacks, because if you’re like me, you’re going to want to eat as you sit in your chair, bored out of your mind.

The thing that gets tricky about packing food and preparing for your flight is the part where you actually have to prepare. Let’s think about this – you’re going on a trip, so that means you are thinking about the clothes you’re packing, the shoes that match your outfits, and making sure you remember your toothbrush and retainer (or am I the only 25-year-old who wears a retainer?). Worrying about packing food to last you through hours of travel is the last thing that you will probably do and the first thing that you’ll forget to grab on the way out the door.

That’s where United Airlines comes in. These folks know what’s up because they’re in the process of getting their gluten-free options together so we don’t have to gnaw our elbows off while everyone else eats smelly (and sometimes gross) airport food.

United Airlines’ Gluten Free Options

United gluten free sample pack

I received a nice little package showing me some of the options that gluten-free travelers have when they take United. The options I received included:

  • Boulder Canyon Totally Natural Kettle Chips – obviously delicious, I love kettle chips!
  • Heritage Roasted Red Pepper Bruschetta – nice taste with a little kick (I ate it with a slice of Udi’s!)
  • Dairyfood USA Smoked Gouda Gourmet Cheese Cup – meh, I don’t really like cheese spreads, but I’m sure others love it
  • Haribo Gold Bears – the smallest package of gummy bears ever, but tasty of course
  • Two Degrees Fruit & Nut Bar – yet another bar that we can all fall in love with

The above products do not include all of the gluten-free options that are available on a United Airlines flight. For instance, I thought it was awkward that I got Bruschetta and cheese spread without anything to spread it on, but then I read through the breakdown of the “snackboxes” that United is promoting. It turns out they have gluten-free crackers as part of their snackboxes. Read the breakdown of the options below:

Tapas Snackbox’s Gluten-Free Snacks:

  • Olympos Pitted Green Olives
  • Heritage Roasted Pepper Bruschetta
  • Wild Garden Traditional Hummus Dip
  • Mediterranean Snacks Sea Salt Lentil Crackers

Classic Snackbox’s Gluten-Free Snacks:

  • Dairyfood USA White Cheddar Gourmet Cheese Spread
  • Boulder Canyon Totally Natural Kettle Chips
  • Haribo Gold-Bears
  • WOW Baking Company Chocolate Chip Cookie

Savory Snackbox Gluten-Free Snacks: this entire box is gluten free

  • Hormel Genoa Salami
  • Dairyfood USA Smoked Gouda Gourmet Cheese Cup
  • POP! Lite Gourmet Popcorn – Sunflower Oil and Sea Salt
  • Mediterranean Snacks Cracked Pepper Lentil Crackers
  • King Leo Royal Mint – Citrus

A La Carte Option:

  • Two Degrees Fruit & Nut Bars

While snacks are all good and fun, if you’re traveling all day, you may want more of a meal. Luckily, United has switched to gluten-free salad dressings on their premium-cabin flights departing from the U.S. to destinations throughout North and Central America. These same flights also have gluten-free soup available. How ‘bout that?

Gluten-Free Friendly Flights

While choosing flights when traveling, many people go strictly on price, but knowing that United will have your back when your stomach growls in the sky might make you think twice about your choice in airline.

I’m hoping that this move by United is part of a trend. I want to live in a world where I can purchase an overpriced gluten-free sandwich in the sky if I want to, gosh darnit! I’ve resorted to eating smashed fruit & nut bars from my purse far too many times. Let’s cross our fingers that the airlines begin making deals with our favorite gluten-free bread companies like Udi’s, Canyon Bakehouse, or Schar. Imagine this – eating a gluten-free turkey sandwich as you look out over the clouds on the way to your destination (hopefully one that is fun and relaxing)!

What do you think about United’s gluten-free options? Have you had a good experience eating gluten free on a flight? Let me know in the comments! 

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Ordering Gluten Free at Chipotle

By March 30, 2014 Gluten Free in Toledo, Gluten-Free Restaurants
gfree laura chipotle

Chipotle is one of my favorite restaurants because you can get it pretty much any time after 11 a.m. and, as I learned this past week, you can even walk in with fake sandals on after a pedicure and you won’t be judged.

While Chipotle provides gluten-free folks with the ability to order healthy “fast-food” in a convenient manner, there are some things that you need to know when walking up to the counter. Below I have outlined the steps that you should take when ordering your gluten-free Chipotle Burrito Bowl so you can ensure that you don’t end up getting glutened due to miscommunication.

To see Chipotle’s Special Diet Information, click here.

Gluten Free at Chipotle

1. Immediately request that the employee changes their gloves – Can you please change your gloves? I am gluten free. – don’t be afraid, don’t feel annoying, simply ask the employee to change their gloves as soon as you walk up to the counter. Explain that you are gluten free and they should know the steps to follow (unless they’re a newbie). If they don’t seem to know what you are saying, explain that you need fresh gloves to carry your bowl down the line and request that they seek the guidance of another employee. My experience at Chipotle is that when I tell the first person in the line that I am gluten free, they notify all others down the line that they will be taking the bowl all the way. They will also switch out utensils to help reduce the risk of cross-contamination.

Ordering gluten free at Chipotle

2. Keep an eye on all employees – I keep my eyes on my bowl like a hawk. If someone comes close to touching my meal with unchanged gloves that are covered in all sorts of gluten, I speak up. Don’t be afraid to be the “annoying person” that the employees talk about when they’re cleaning up the kitchen. When it comes to your own personal health and well-being, it’s better to be safe than sorry. The best part is, if you speak up once and the staff remembers you, the next time the employees see your gluten-free face, they’ll know that you mean business. It makes the process a lot less stressful!

Gluten free at Chipotle

3. Make sure Chipotle employees use the never-been-touched toppings – When it comes to the cheese and the lettuce that gets thrown atop your bowl, there are a lot of gloves that touch that biznass. Make sure the employees bring fresh ingredients from the back, or that they dip down below the counter to take the non-glutened toppings. It will only take an extra five seconds for the employee, but it can save you a lot of pain and suffering when it comes to the digestive woes you could possibly experience.

You’re in the clear once your burrito bowl makes it to the checkout counter. If you follow the steps above and keep your eye out for any gluten-intruding situations, you should be safe.

gluten free chipotel bowl

I live dangerously close to Chipotle, so my M.O. is to order my gluten-free burrito bowl and then scarf it down in the privacy of my own apartment.

Do you enjoy Chipotle as much as I do? What is your favorite burrito bowl combination? Let me know in the comments!

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