When it comes to snacking, it’s in a celiac sufferer’s (or those who just intolerate gluten) best interest, to always be prepared. Let’s face it, that doesn’t always happen. The best planner will still find themselves running on an impromptu errand or filling up the gas tank and realize they’re starving. The nearest gas station or small convenience store is not the place to stop. Or is it? It’s easy to assume it’s a snake pit of food you can’t eat, and starve until you get home. Surprisingly, those shoulder height shelves are lined with some options that won’t make you sick. We’ve created this helpful guide so you can easily navigate to a safe, emergency gluten free snack.
Frito Lay has worked hard over the last five years to convert products into safe alternatives for their gluten-free customers, and have tested since 2011. Lays, Ruffles and Stax potato chip flavors as well as Cheetos contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. For a complete list of products, click here.
All flavors of Kettle Chips, Food Should Taste Good, and Cape Cod chips are also gluten free.
For the Sweet Tooth
A lot of people avoiding gluten justify candy splurges by simply saying “I don’t eat any candy with cookie layers in it.” But that doesn’t take into account cross contamination or the unexpected gluten ingredients that may be holding the sweet bar together. Here’s a long list of candy bars that you can snag from a Jiffy Stop shelf without worrying. Also, just so you know, most licorice candies DO contain gluten, so write those off right away.
Original Flavor Butterfinger Bar
Wonka Pixy Stix
Wonka Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip
3 Musketeers Bars (all flavors)
Milky Way Midnight Bar
Milky Way Caramel Bar
Plain Dove Chocolate products Snickers Bars (all flavors)
Cella's Milk Chocolate Covered Cherries
Cella's Dark Chocolate Covered Cherries
Charms Blow Pops
Charms Super Blow Pops
Fluffy Stuff Cotton Candy
Sugar Daddy Pops
Sugar Mama Caramels
Almond Joy (all)
Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar, only in the 1.55 oz. size
Hershey's Milk Chocolate with Almonds Bar, only in the 1.45 oz. size
Hershey's Air Delight
Hershey's Milk Duds
Regular Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
Reese's Pieces (all except for Reese's Pieces Eggs)
Rolo Caramels in Milk Chocolate (all except for Minis)
Skor Toffee Bar
York Peppermint Patties (all except for York Pieces, York Minis and York Shapes)
Mike and Ike's
Jelly Belly jelly beans
Other Snack Options
Aside from chips and candy, there are a couple handfuls worth of options at a gas station that you can indulge in.
Nuts are full of protein, filling, and have a nice crunch. They’re naturally gluten free, however, not all nuts are processed equal. Blue Diamond Almonds are gluten free and processed on separate machinery, so grab those little bags if you spot them. (We like to stock up on them from Amazon!) A great tip to reduce risk of contamination is to purchase nuts roasted in their shells.
String cheese and hard-boiled eggs are a couple quick grabs that won’t bother your stomach. Additionally, fresh and dried fruits are usually a great option.
Another regular find in gas station are energy or protein bars. Balance Bar’s Dark bars, bare bars and Original Chocolate Raspberry Bars are all gluten free and processed separately. If the gas station has them, Bumble and Lara bars are also great options with no worry in the wrapper.
Also check out 8 Simple and Delicious Gluten-Free Kids’ Snacks
Jerky is a great protein boost and are always hanging somewhere in a small convenience shop. It’s easy to assume they all are good, but artificial flavors (especially those with soy) tend to contain wheat in the marinade. Oberto and Jack Links original and pepper flavors are safe, with testing done regularly and product handling being done to minimize contamination.
Wash it Down
Keep in mind, most of these snacks are processed and not super healthy, and you’re probably going to want a drink. Those rows of refrigerated cases might be a bit daunting. Juices or tea are your best bet.
Coca Cola has made major strides in creating drinks that test below 20 parts per million and have contracts with other companies for production as well. These include Fuze and Minute Maid.
Gatorade's simplest flavors are all great options, especially on hot days.
Other juice companies that claim ALL their juices are gluten free are Arizona Iced Teas, Snapple, Dole, Simply Orange, Sunkist sodas and juices, V8 blends, and Welch’s.
In recent years, coconut water has edged its way into many small stores and refill stations. It’s popularity isn’t a hype. It’s a natural way to get more electrolites and is naturally gluten free. A big bonus is most major brands you’ll commonly find ONLY make coconut water, so there’s no need to worry about cross contamination.
Do you have a corner store favorite to add to the list? Please share it in the comments below!
Just because smaller stores stock up on junk food doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find something you’re sensitive intestines (and body) can handle. Companies big and small are becoming more and more aware of Celiac and gluten-related illness, and thankfully, shop owners are considering all types of customers. Armed with this read, you’ll feel more confident stepping into one and walking out with a safe and tasty snack.
What's for lunch? Tips (with Food Options!) for Packing a Gluten-Free Lunch