A few weeks ago, Michael and I headed to Texas to visit his brother who just had the cutest twin baby boys. I’ve traveled before since I have been gluten-free. In fact, I went on a whole adventure in Ireland soon after I found out I had celiac disease. But, this was the first time I’ve traveled since starting my gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, yeast-free, sugar-free diet.
(Side note.. can we just make a name for this diet? It’s exhausting to list out. Someone work on that for me please?)
It was hard. I’m someone who doesn’t eat out a whole lot because I don’t know what’s in the food at restaurants and feel sheepish asking about 10 different allergies and never know if I should risk it or not. I honestly should have done a little more to prepare but it all turned out okay. I ate plenty and had a great time!
There are a few things I learned from this trip and because I know you all are just dying to know what those tips are, here they are:
- Be Prepared. Let’s face it. You’re going to have to plan ahead. Make snack bags of nuts and seeds, healthy muffins, portable fruits and these grain-free granola bars (see what I did there? tie in to today’s recipe – woohoo!)
- Do Research. Find out which restaurants are allergy safe ahead of time. Michael and I realized that I was not going to be able to eat anything at the breakfast buffet, but we weren’t prepared and had issues finding a restaurant that I could eat at for breakfast.
- Find a grocery store. As soon as you get to your destination, find a grocery store and stock up on healthy snacks to get you through your trip. It’s not fun when your stomach is constantly growling. Michael and I found a nearby Target and I was able to get a lot of food for the weekend.
- Try to book a room with a refrigerator or kitchen. I didn’t even think of this at all before we went on our trip but our room ended up having a refrigerator and a kitchen. Score! This definitely helped up as I was able to pick up bacon, fruit, almond milk, cereal, and gluten-free chicken tenders and store them in the room.
I wish I had known all of these tips before going on this trip. The little preparation that I did do before hopping on the plane was make these awesome grain-free granola bars. Boy am I glad we had them because they are so ridiculously good! The only issue was that they were my first trial run and there was definitely not enough binder in them so they kind of fell apart. Never the less, I tossed my granola bar remnants into a large ziplock bag which we happily ate all weekend. This stuff is addictive! Now I think I have the recipe just right. There is just enough binder to hold the bars together while still keeping the sugar content low. My favorite way to eat these granola bars is straight from the freezer. They hold together best this way, but you can eat them at room temperature as well – they just be a little bit more crumbly. Next trip, I know I’ll be packing these grain-free granola bars for sure!
- 1 cup cashews
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1/4 cup pecans
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 3 tbsp chia seeds
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup cacao nibs
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1/4 cup almond butter
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Line a 8x8 inch baking dish with parchment paper.
- In a food processor, combine cashews, almonds, pecans, walnuts and sunflower seeds. Pulse a few times to break up the nuts, but you still want to have some larger pieces. Pour processed nuts into a large bowl.
- Add shredded coconut, chia seed and cacao nibs to the bowl.
- In a small pot over medium low heat, stir together honey, almond butter, coconut oil, salt, vanilla and cinnamon until melted together.
- Pour honey mixture over the nuts and mix immediately.
- Press granola into the parchment lined baking pan.
- Freeze for 30 minutes or until firm.
- Lift the granola bar slab out of the baking pan by lifting up the parchment paper. Cut into 10 rectangles.
- Serve straight from the freezer or defrost for 15 minutes.