Ah, summertime. The barbecues, the pool club, the road trips and the beaches. And it all revolves around food. For vegans, snacking on the go can be tricky. Sure, you can munch on potato chips at the beach with your friends or pop open a bag of pretzels when you stop at the gas station on a road trip, but these, of course, are not the healthiest of options.
And when you throw in a gluten sensitivity on top of that, snack time can seem even tougher.
Have no more snack time fear! Here are some tips for surviving some of the most common summer snacking situations with grace (and health!)
Scenario #1: On a road trip with friends or family, everyone wants to stop at a fast food chain or a gas station for snacks.
Isn’t that the worst? Even the salads at most fast food joints have bacon bits or cheese on them these days, and munching on iceberg lettuce won’t exactly fill you up, either. Same situation at the gas station – doughnuts or hot dogs, anyone? Yikes.
Check the menu (and aisles) for veggies or fruit and dip options. Many fast food chains are putting these on the menus and a number of gas station and convenience store chains are offering up grab-and-go produce options. Of course, you might need to skip the dip to avoid the dairy and gluten, but you can make up for lost protein with a small bag of plain almonds. Plain popcorn is another good choice to satisfy a salty craving.
Scenario #2: At the beach with friends and family, everyone is passing around bags of chips and sandwiches.
Potato chips are gluten free, but are they healthy? Of course not – that would be too easy! There is nothing wrong with indulging in a few chips for that beloved salty sensation, but the best plan here is to pack your own snacks.
Fresh fruit and veggies might already be a staple in your beach cooler. Slice up some watermelon and pack frozen grapes for a super refreshing beach snack. Bell peppers and carrots with hummus may satisfy a savory craving in the sun and protein from hummus and nuts will keep you full. Bring enough to share – chances are your friends will be envious of your delicious and nutritious snacks.
Scenario #3: At a family barbecue, everyone is grilling burgers and throwing back beers.
Cookouts can be a nightmare for vegans, but even the most innocent BBQ staples, like pasta salad, can be off-limits if you’re allergic to gluten. One of the best ways to sidestep these awkward (and hungry!) situations is to bring your own dish that is vegan and gluten free for you and others to enjoy!
However, there will always be situations where you are forced to make do with what’s there. At a typical cookout, you might be able to enjoy a veggie kabob on the grill, dip veggies into hummus and enjoy homemade guacamole or salsa.
As for the booze (a true summer staple, if you ask me!), you can always bring your own gluten-free brews or indulge in a rum, vodka, tequila or gin-based cocktail. As long as you’re using whole foods and real juice as mixers, you’re good to go!