Tuesday, March 19, 2013

GoPicnic Ready-to-Eat Meals

GoPicnic Ready-to-Eat Meals
think of them as the gluten-free answer to Lunchables

On a recent trip to CostCo, My husband and I were dawdling in the snack aisle, and I noticed a stack of these GoPicnic lunches. "Ready-to-eat? Shelf-stable? Wouldn't it be amazing if they were gluten-free as well?" I thought to myself. As I headed over to investigate, my husband pointed out the gluten-free label on the side of the box--I couldn't believe my eyes or my luck, and I knew then and there I would soon be blogging about this product.

What are they?
For about $10, you get a box containing 4 ready-to-eat meals--2 each of 2 varieties. The Hummus & Crackers lunches contain hummus dip, crackers, a fruit and nut mix, a seed mix, and a small piece of dark chocolate with sea salt. The Turkey Stick & Crunch lunches (which I seem to prefer) contain a turkey snack stick (similar to a Slim Jim, but better), barbeque Popchips, a seed and fruit mix, peel-a-part fruit, and a small piece of dark chocolate with rice crisps. Everything in the lunches is individually wrapped and free of gluten, high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, and added MSG. (Note: One fruit and nut mix includes peanuts.) As an added bonus, each lunch comes in its own small, cardboard box about the size of a good paperback, so they're highly portable.

Why do I care?
If your experience has been anything like mine, you probably recognize how amazing it is to have a cheap, portable, and complete gluten-free meal. At $2.50 a pop, these totally fit the bill.

Here is how I where I have utilized (and enjoyed) them so far:
  1. Quick, portable lunch for a crazy day at work High-stakes testing days are nightmares for educators like myself, so my friend and I took our lunches to a nearby hiking trail for some much-needed stress relief. My GoPicnic lunch was the perfect option for dining al fresco.
  2. A charitable lunch for two A week or two ago my friend Nicole and I decided to spend a few hours reorganizing the toy cupboards at our church (trust me, they needed it). I knew we would be at it for a while, so I brought two GoPicnic lunches, some fruit, and two water bottles. After a few hours of work, we had an impromptu picnic on the floor of our nursery classroom, and then got back to it.
  3. Road-trip insurance policy After 8 years of marriage, my husband finally managed to drag me into the wilderness to go camping. I initially brought several GoPicnic lunches for a back-up to campfire-cooking, and, although dinner went splendidly, I happily busted into a Hummus & Crackers lunch on the ride home. Mobile dining, anyone?
  4. Sure beats the mystery of a hospital cafeteria Yesterday, my husband and I spent the day at the hospital with my darling son, Brannon. Although he went in for a minor procedure, a scheduling delay lead to hours of waiting. By the time they took back to the surgery suite, I was exhausted, anxious, and ready for some easy-to-eat comfort food--enter GoPicnic Turkey Stick & Crunch! Man, I love these things.
Do they taste good? 
Yes, they taste good--whether you have celiac disease or not. I am personally delighted with them (obviously) but both Stephanie (anonymous friend mentioned in #1) and Nicole can attest to the deliciousness of these meals. Better yet, they leave you feeling satisified but not weighed down. Steph even plans to buy some to take hiking (she's very active and healthy that way). 

Are they nutritious?
I think they're pretty nutritious, too, but you can decide for yourself:
  • Turkey Stick & Crunch Ready-to-Eat Meal: 300 calories, 8 grams of protein, 3 grams (more nutritional info-scroll to the bottom)
  • Hummus & Crackers: 380 calories, 19 grams of protein (not a typo--19), 7 grams of fiber (more nutritional info-scroll to the bottom)
Where can I buy them?
I bought them in a pack of four (2 of each variety) at CostCo for about $10, which makes each lunch about $2.50. However, I couldn't find any information or links to the product on Costco website, so you'll need to check with your local store.

If there are no CostCo's nearby or your store doesn't carry it, check out the manufacturer's website, gopicnic.com. The prices are rather higher, but it offers a wide-variety of read-to-eat meals, including both gluten-containing and gluten-free options. Before you order, double-check that the items you're purchasing are gluten-free options.

Another option is using GoPicnic's store locator. Simply type in your zipcode, and the store locator will give you a list of stores nearby which sell GoPicnic products. Apparently, they are available in some Targets and in many airport gift shops!

If you find this product anywhere else--in-store or online--please post a comment and let us know!

Where would you take your GoPicnic lunch?
Share your answer in the comments area.

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