We anxiously have awaited the nice weather in the Pacific Northwest. We had a long and wet winter that seemed to linger on and on.
I am not a huge fan of summers having spent the majority of my life in the hot California heat. Here in Washington State though- the summers are welcomed and loved.
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Once the nice weather finally show’s itself, I embrace it. I love spending as much time as possible out in nature. We love to go to the park, go for walks and I love to garden. We have a small lot though, so it is hard to get everything planted that I want. I dream of someday having a greenhouse with lots of room for fruit trees and blackberry bushes.
One of the most adored summer activities for my family is a picnic. Being gluten free and dairy free-when we leave the house for a day outing- I must pack everything we will need to eat for the day. We like to find a picnic table or a nice shady area in the grass to have a fun picnic in the warm breeze.
We often do this at a local park. I sit and enjoy the day while the kids run and play. They come back and forth to the picnic blanket eating and snacking.
Over the years we have tried many gluten free snacks. Some are great and some are not worth the cost. I wanted to share with you what we are packing every time we head out of the house for a fun day or a picnic.
It is so very important to plan ahead when you have food allergies or intolerances. You can’t just stop and grab something or expect there to be food that will be safe nearby. There are a lot more options and places now than previous years, but it can still be a challenge.
I keep my picnic blanket in the car ready to go along with sunscreen and extra hats/sunglasses. Those seem to disappear a lot so having a spare is important when you are sensitive to the sun like we are.
Before we head out I always pack our lunch bags and here are our favorites that make the cut.
· Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches with Franz bread and Wild Friends peanut butter. The kids love a good pb&j and they are simple to make and throw in a lunch box. When it is a full day out I will even make one for myself because they are so good with Wild Friends creamy peanut butter. The Franz bread makes a perfect sandwich because it is soft and moist and doesn’t crumble or have a ton of holes like other gluten free bread on the market. I also love that my local Costco carries the Franz bread making it affordable. If I am feeling spunky, Wild Friends also carries a chocolate coconut peanut butter (ooooohhhh yaa) and a honey sunflower butter if you can’t have peanuts or need to bring peanut free food (some schools are now peanut free facilities). I also love that Wild Friends has on the go packets. These are nice for picnics because my kids love to dip their sliced apples in peanut or almond butter. I can keep the packet and then just squeeze some in the container that the apples are in for a quick and healthy snack.
· Milton’sCraft Bakers Chips and Crackers. Everything they make is amazing and delicious. When I went dairy free though, I was sad to not be able to indulge in their crackers anymore. My boys still snacked and enjoyed them very much. They recently came out with a line of chips that are dairy free and OMG they are soooo good. My favorite is the Green Chili Salsa and Red Chili Salsa. They have a spicy kick and I LOVE that! My daughter who is lactose intolerant loves the Himalayan Sea Salt. My Son who can have dairy loves the cheddar crackers but went crazy for the Nacho Cheddar Chip (think Dorito’s but way better). I always fill up a ziploc for each of us and have these in the lunch box.
· Anthony’s Goods Organic Mango Strips. These healthy and organic mango strips are Heaven! My kids love them and they are nothing but organic mango. They taste like candy, but you know what you are giving your kids is a healthy treat! These are great for taking out for the day because the kids can grab them and snack without you have to deal with a sticky mess from regular mango. You can also cut it up into cubes and make a trail mix with it or put it on top of your yogurt.
· EnjoyLife Cookies and Snacks. I love Enjoy Life. I love that one snack is safe for our entire family and we can share with our friends who have tree nut allergies. Our favorite cookies are the Soft Batch Double Chocolate. I like bringing these along wherever we go because you never know when other parents are going to pull out treats and you need reinforcement. When I have these cookies on hand my kids are not upset that they can’t have what the other kids are having. I divert them with the box and they head over happily to get their cookies and move along with no complaints. I am absolutely guilty of eating the last cookies out of the box too (snacky hour-happy hour for mommy).
Of course seasonal fruit and carrot or veggie sticks are always fun to bring along too. We love apples with Wild Friends nut butters, watermelon and berries.
Glutino– They have the most delicious cookies and pretzels. The chocolate chip cookies are hands down my favorite. They also have the chocolate or vanilla crème sandwich cookies, and they are my kids favorites. The pretzels are buttery (dairy free) and taste amazing. They also have chocolate covered, caramel covered and yogurt covered pretzels. I can no longer have them since they contain dairy but they taste amazing. The boys in my house definitely over indulge on them.
In the beginning, having to always remember to have enough snacks to get us through an outing was a challenge. We were notorious for just grabbing some fast food. Going gluten free caused us to re-evaluate what we were eating and how much we were spending. Packing out food and being prepared for our day has definitely helped to keep us healthier, mindful and on budget.
What are your favorite snacks to pack for an outing with the kids?