Gluten free on the go: picks for a quick bite

For a spontaneous adventure-loving gal, one of the most frustrating parts about being gluten free is how much advanced planning it requires. As much as I always try to have snacks on hand, it’s incredibly helpful to have a few places where I know I can grab a quick, filling, relatively healthy and affordable meal. Here are the (mostly local–yay!) chains in and around Boston where I like to grab a quick bite.

Sweetgreen: Founded in DC, Sweetgreen is hands-down my favorite salad place in Boston. I’m not a huge lettuce fan, so I love that their base options include shredded kale and organic arugula. Toppings-wise, from spicy quinoa to local feta, roasted sweet potatoes, avocado, wild rice, and tons more–Sweetgreen has something for everyone. Their endlessly customizable menu is almost entirely gluten free and their seasonal salads are to die for. One quick warning: their “warm grains” contain farro, which is NOT gluten free. Otherwise, they provide a fantastic grab-and-go salad option in Back Bay, Chestnut Hill, and Fort Point!

Hearty salads and delicious iced tea from Sweetgreen
Hearty salad and iced tea from Sweetgreen

Chipotle: Ahhh, Chipotes. How I wish I didn’t enjoy you as much as I do. Chipotle is the only national chain on this list for a reason. When I’m really hungry (think 8:30 p.m. post-workout hungry) Chipotle always hits the spot. Their salads, tacos, and burrito bowls are GF, with easy veggie and dairy-free options. Plus, they do their best to serve local, organic, sustainable “food with integrity.” This is a great travel tip too, since they’re all over the country. Eat burrito bowls and be merry!!

Clover: Clover is a Boston area chain, boasting both trucks and brick-and-mortar restaurants. They serve up some of the healthiest “fast food” you’ll ever eat: delicious snacks, drinks, coffee, and healthy meals in under five minutes or so. Pop in for an egg and eggplant or chickpea fritter platter, and I promise you won’t be disappointed. While they don’t maintain a segregated facility, the staff is super helpful and there are great GF options. Direct from their website: “We hear a lot of questions about gluten-free options. Our kitchens are not gluten free. The falafel recipe does not have any wheat flour (unlike most falafel), instead we use GF corn flour. At the restaurants we have platters available without bread. At the trucks we have “boats” which is a sandwich without the bread. We are exploring a GF bread option.” We’re looking forward to it, Clover!

Egg and eggplant platter with carrot salad from Clover
Egg and eggplant platter with carrot salad from Clover

Boloco: Along the same lines as Clover, Boloco is a grab-and-go local “fast food” chain that serves up all kinds of smoothies, burritos, and salads. The name even stands for BOston LOcal COmpany–how cool is that? The best thing about Boloco in my book is that you can get pretty much anything on their menu in a bowl, meaning no tortilla and for the most part, no gluten. Details are available here. There are locations all over the Boston area (and beyond!), and their website meticulously lists out the ingredients for all of their menu items. I highly recommend the soy berry shake with peanut butter added for protein–and anything with guac.

Do you have any quick and easy gluten-free options you can’t get enough of? Shout em out!