GF Product Reviews, Travel

Friday’s Find: Go Picnic Gluten-Free Ready-To-Eat Meals

14 Comments 20 January 2012

Friday’s Find:  Go Picnic Gluten-Free Ready-To-Eat Meals

Many of you have just returned from Christmas and New Year’s travels, and you may have been reminded of what a pain it is to fly when you are gluten-free.  Gluten-free or not, with new baggage fees, we’re all trying to pack minimally.  Is it possible to cram everything you’ll need for a week away into a carry on?  Not if you’re packing a cooler of gluten-free food.  And you’d better not even think of transporting anything that looks remotely like a gel or a powder or you won’t get past security.

We traveled barebones this Christmas, and when you’re packing Christmas gifts (unwrapped of course), that’s quite a challenge.  The Husband and I managed to share one checked bag that weighed in at 48.5 pounds, just under the 50 pound limit.  But thankfully we were traveling to see Gluten-Free Mom, so I didn’t have to bring the pantry.

For a quick flight, gluten-free eaters can get by with a gluten-free snack bar.  But if you have multiple flights or long layovers, it gets even harder.  Why?  Because then you need a real meal in the gluten-free desert called The Airport Terminal.  Unless you want a dry, prepackaged iceberg lettuce salad with a few carrot shavings and orange tomatoes, you’re going to arrive at your destination ravenous and cranky.

But times are changing.

I was pleasantly surprised while passing through the Atlanta Airport to find GoPicnic ready-to-eat meals in one of the convenience stores.  I had first seen GoPicnic at the Allergen and Gluten-Free Expo last Spring, so I knew that some of their snacks and meals were gluten-free.  Was it possible that these would be too?  A gluten-free oasis?  Thankfully, it was not a mirage!

We bought two, the Hummus & Crackers and Sunbutter & Crackers.  They were both all natural, gluten-free, and vegan.

Each box was $5.99, but compared to other airport food prices, and considering that the Husband would no longer have to deal with a crabby wife on the next flight, this was a good investment.  I did an iPhone photo shoot on my lap at the gate so I could share this great news with you.

GoPicnic meals come in small boxes that turn into a convenient snack tray.  I felt like a kid opening my first McDonald’s Happy Meal!  I couldn’t have cared less about the nutritional value of my cheeseburger and fries in 1979, but the packaging was ingenious.  I was thrilled to find that the GoPicnic boxes contained some of my favorite high quality food brands like Enjoy Life, Crunchmaster, Endangered Species, and SunButter.

I completely enjoyed my Hummus & Crackers box.

But it didn’t just contain hummus and crackers.  Look at the variety!  Edamame, fruit and nuts mix, and even a square of dark chocolate for dessert.

The Husband chose the SunButter & Crackers.  I love that he chooses to eat gluten-free so that we can share our meals, especially since he usually shares more than I do!

Crackers, SunButter, dried fruit, seeds and nuts, and a double chocolate cookie. (He even shared the cookie!)  Now that’s much better than a dry airport salad.

GoPicnic has created four other gluten-free ready-to-eat boxed meals:

I’m thankful to have stumbled upon GoPicnic in the airport.  I hope they’re in the next airport I’m traveling through.  Just in case, I’ll be ordering a few to keep in my pantry.  The boxes are no bigger than a novel, so it will be easy to toss one into my travel purse.  You can order them online and maybe even try this GoPicnic Gluten-Free Variety Pack!

Your turn to share:

  • Have you found other gluten-free gems at an airport?
  • What are your gluten-free travel tips?
  • Need to gripe? What’s your worst airport food experience?
  • Which airports carry gluten-free food?  Let’s start a list… Atlanta, Nashville…please add in the comments and I’ll update the list.

Your Comments

14 Comments so far

  1. Gigi says:

    I’m sharing this on my FB page for my readers… very good info. I’ve tried the Go Picnic, as well as another “on the go” mini meal that is similar, but I find a lot of folks haven’t seen either, so great work sharing this!!

    Gigi 😉

  2. Janet says:

    My concern is that many of the varieties of their products say that they have parts that are manufactured on equipment that also processes peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, soy and wheat. There was hardly a single product that didn’t have at least one element that I can’t or wouldn’t feel safe eating (I’m also allergic to soy). I’m glad someone is starting to think about this sort of thing, but, personally, I don’t expect to be buying any of their products. I would prefer that all their components are certified gluten free, not just made without gluten with no guarantee of being free from cross contamination.

    • Heather says:

      Thanks for sharing your comment, Janet. I struggled with this for years. Finally I determined that i would risk trying a product ONCE if it claimed to use good segregation/cleaning procedures between batches. If I had trouble, I would know immediately and never try it again. My reactions are fairly immediate, and they last for a few days. But if your reaction is incapacitating, I wouldn’t risk it at all.

    • Lauren Russ says:

      Heather, thank you so much for the great post and on behalf of GoPicnic, we are very appreciative of all of the comments on your blog. Other than saying thank you, we did want to let you know that we hear your visitors. GoPicnic works closely with the producers for all of the GoPicnic products to ensure that they meet testing to the proposed FDA requirements of 20ppm for gluten-free products. We know that some folks with gluten-free sensitivity avoid products that are manufactured in facilities that process gluten ingredients, which is why we launched Sunbutter + Crackers. Our goal is to continue to offer choices that meet the needs of the whole gluten-free community, which is one of the many reasons why feedback like Janet’s and others are so helpful and shared among every person on our team.

      • Heather says:

        Lauren, thank you so much for commenting. This is why I blog. I appreciate that my experiences and opinions, as well as those of my readers, are heard, and changes are made! Thank you so much for listening!

        While researching for this review, I read posts written by other bloggers from just six months ago who had complaints about GoPicnic contents that have already been corrected. GoPicnic changed the contents of their products to provide safer meals for the gluten intolerant.

        We look forward to products that even the most sensitive celiacs are happy with.

        Thank you, Lauren! Thank you, Go Picnic for listening and responding!

  3. Lindsay says:

    Thank you so very much for sharing this!! I am actually headed on my first flight since becoming GF a year ago… And we just so happen to have a connecting flight and layover in ATL! I have seen these little “boxes of gf joy” in magazines and I cannot wait to try them. 😀

  4. gfcfliving says:

    I love this post! So helpful! I am flying through Atlanta in March and it is so good to know there are gluten-free options out there. I hope other airports join the trend! Some good brands inside those boxes too. Thanks for the great info!

  5. DB says:

    Hi! I just found your blog and have been enjoying it for about half an hour now. Great stuff! I am allergic to wheat, but the increasing attention to gluten-free living has helped me find foods that I can count on being safe to eat.

    Question: Where in the Atlanta airport did you find these? Which concourse? I want some! :-)

    Comment: Your “Follow me on Twitter” button doesn’t seem to be working. Has it been tested in Safari? Maybe it’s just a temporary glitch.

  6. Dawn says:

    I have a family with three recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease. We have learned the hard way to stay away from any product labeled GF processed on shared equipment with gluten containing ingredients.
    We purchased 4 boxes different types of GoPicnic GF meals(24 meals in total). My family as so excited about having this option for traveling! I was extremely surprised to see so many of the items, that in my opinion, should not be considered GF and felt deceived that it was not clear without looking at very fine print. This might be acceptable for someone on a GF diet for non medical reasons but for someone with Celiac Disease it simply is not worth the risk, especially if it disables you. Unless GoPicnic changes the products to all not processed on shared equipment my family will not be taking the risk. I hope they choose to make this change.

    • Heather says:

      So do I! Thanks so much for commenting, because companies like Go Picnic listen! Hang in there. The first year is the hardest, and then you just get into the swing. Blessings to you and your family!

  7. olwen says:

    those are not meals, those are snacks!

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A Curious Girl in the Gluten-Free World

I'm a curious girl, wife, teacher, fitness fanatic, gluten-free foodie, high-raw vegan, and Mama Cat living in NYC. I've made the transition from baking and cooking gluten-free to creating raw vegan recipes that are naturally gluten free. My gluten intolerance opened up my diet to a whole new world of nutritious plant-based foods. While I'm not 100% vegan, it's my favorite way to eat, and making and sharing raw foods makes me giddy. Living in the City has its joys and challenges, and I enjoy sharing my experiences with you.

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