GoPicnic – for healthy meals on-the-go

How often have you been hungry and in a hurry but the only food available was fast food? Whether it’s scurrying through the airport to catch a flight or stuck in the middle of a work project, it can be tough to eat healthy.

Now there are affordable, nutritious and delicious choices.

GoPicnic offers a variety of shelf-ready, delicious on-the-go meals

GoPicnic offers shelf-ready meals in a box that need no refrigeration, heating or prep time, and combine premium brands that use high quality ingredients.

Made without trans fat, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), no added monosodium glutamate (MSG), and no artificial flavors or colors, these quick healthy meals come in a variety of selections – all natural, gluten-free, kosher, vegetarian, and vegan. They also have selections for folks on special diets.

“These (meals) are for those times where your alternative is something that doesn’t fit into your diet or taste buds,” said Julia Stamberger, founder and CEO of GoPicnic.

The Sunbutter and Crackers - one of GoPicnic's delicious All Natural selections

Launched in 2006 as a “for purchase” option on airline flights, GoPicnic branched out with meal boxes for hotels, tourism, corporate events, and college and camp food service program. Last year, they launched their GoPicnic Care Packages which lets you send packages of yummy food to folks far away.

This month, GoPicnic debuted eight new, ready-to-eat meal boxes specifically for retail.

I tested several of their gluten-free meals that I’d carried with me on flights during my Christmas holiday. I was surprised on a number of levels.

First, the food was top quality, tasted fresh and delicious. The Sunbutter® and Crackers meal contained Sunbutter Creamy Sunflowerseed Spread, multi-grain crackers, a seed and fruit trail mix, tropical fruit “gummies” and an Enjoy Life Double Chocolate Cookie.

The Hummus anc Crackers meal features edamame (soy nuts) that may be non-GMO

The Hummus and Crackers meal included Wild Garden Hummus Dip, Multi-Seed Crackers, Seapoint Farms Dry Roasted Edamame (soy), Baja Blend Fruit & Nut Mix and an Endangered Species Dark Chocolate Square.

Both meals were all-natural, gluten-free and vegan and the hummus meal was Kosher. Both were under 500 calories and they left me feeling surprisingly full.

“There’s a careful nutrition balance for the number of calories that are inside (as well as) protein and fiber,” says Stamberger.

“Some of our more mainstream meals (like their salami & crackers) provide good energy and fuel in a controlled portion,” she said. “And they keep you from overeating too!”

One aspect I wasn’t thrilled about was that some of the packaging, though not all, was difficult to open.

GoPicnic's Peanut Butter ready-to-go fun meals

Some of these are a manufacturers defect, said Stamberger. “We’re making sure they’re tweaking meals so that they’re user friendly,” she said.

Another was that the edamame (roasted soy nuts) weren’t non-GMO. Approximately 94 percent of soy in the U.S. is genetically modified.

Their suppliers often have problems with getting enough non-GMO soy, said Stamberger.

“Every manufacturer is struggling with the non-GMO issue as a commodity,” she said.

With further research, I discovered that Seapoint Farms, the growers of the soy used by GoPicnic, states on their website that it “uses only non-GMO (non-genetically modified organism) soybeans.” Odd that this wasn’t included in the GoPicnic packaging.

Stamberger has nine years experience serving people on-board flights.

“The whole shelf stable food concept came about as a way to ensure there could always be enough food for everybody,” she said.

One of GoPicnic's deli selections

Part of the beauty of these packaged meals is that there’s no waste.

“We have a lot of people who call these “healthy Lunchables for Adults,” she said.

People keep them in their desk at work, send them to school with their kids, and even give them as gifts. Stamberger mentioned giving them as a gift to a pregnant mom who was heading to the hospital to have her baby. Perfect food for the long wait, then again for after the special event was all over.

GoPicnic’s meals shelf life is up to six months from manufacture. The “due” date is listed on the back of the box.

Currently in selected Target and all Super Target stores, and starting this month at 7-Eleven’s, plans are to expand GoPicnic’s retail availability. Stores wishing to carry these handy meals can contact the company via the website’s “Contact Us”.

These delicious, resealable meal boxes come is new Variety Packs, 6-pack singles and now through an online subscription service. You’ll find them at many airports nationwide, including at Hudson News stands and a lot of independent airport chains and online at Amazon, Drugstore.com and GoPicnic.com.

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