Thursday 26 July 2012

Your Olympic London gluten free cheat sheet: Part 2: Sandwiches

As a coeliac we are denied many things but one that gets me surprisingly often is this: we can't have foods that you can eat at the same time as walking.

They are all bread based - people stroll between meetings munching sandwiches, wraps, panini's, even a slice of pizza or a croissant. And when you are a busy person running around town, having to stop to eat a salad can be quite frustrating. Especially when you are with a group of people who are all happy to grab a sandwich and get going.

Perhaps more accurately it's foods that you can eat without cutlery: hand held food stuffs that you can pop in your handbag and eat whenever you want.

Without further ado - places to get handheld food stuffs for all of you busy busy folk (namely Sandwiches):


Spot the tiny gluten free label! 
Thank goodness for the gluten free sandwich at Starbucks. It's saved me at airports, in train stations, and just rushing around town. 

It's subtly labeled gluten free on the packet so you have to look closely. The flavours are on rotation every three months or so. I curse it when it's the cheese and coleslaw one. But the rest - tuna, chicken and pesto and the very tasty (and quite healthy) ham and mustard are delicious. And I'm sure someone likes the cheese and coleslaw one. Anyone, anyone?  

And, obviously, there are Starbucks EVERYWHERE.

p.s. there's also a gf brownie, cake, and salad box.

Marks and Spencers 

Marks and Spencers, for those visiting from foreign climes, is a department store that has a supermarket division called "M&S Simply food". It's bigger stores have food halls within them also. 

They offer great gf sandwiches in distinct lime green packets in their sandwich section. Annoyingly the brand is called "made without wheat" but it's all gluten free. ( I mean, it's like launching a line of fruit-free drinks and calling them "made without pineapple". Would a fructose intolerant person go near that?!?!).

I like the ham salad one, and there's also an egg salad variety. 

Not all locations stock them, but I've found most London ones do. The full list is here. They also stock them in loads of train stations. Conveniency food slam dunk! 


Another british supermarket. Waitrose have plenty of london stores, and sell a prawn mayo and an egg mayo sandwich. Basically if you don't like mayo then you're screwed. But if you love mayo, then you're in heaven!

As you can see the packaging colours are different but the "gluten free" is easy to spot. 


Wasabi is a japanese chain that offers sushi and japanese curries and noodles. They do have an allergen sheet; basically the currys and noodles are a no go, the majority of the sushi is fine. BUT the BEST thing about wasabi are the ingenious Onigiri - one of which (see warning below!) is gluten free: the tuna and mustard. 

These little triangles are balls rice with a filling in the middle,  surrounded by seaweed nori that only comes into contact with the rice as you unwrap it. Thus there is the most satisfying crunch when you bite into it. Easy to hold in one hand and munch on, so even when it's pouring with rain and you have an umbrella in the other hand you can rejoice at eating on the go (I've been doing that a lot this rainy summer!)


For some reason that I cannot fathom, on the allergen sheet they have a tick saying contains gluten next to the tuna and mustard onigiri.  Now, I know that the seaweed, chicken and salmon have soy sauce in the fillings (it says so in their descriptions) , but the tuna and mustard - well, I have no idea what would have gluten in. I've asked at the counter and none of the ingredients are glutenous. Even on the allergy sheet you can see it's not soy sauce (soyabean isn't ticked, unlike the others) I've been eating them for about five years now without a reaction, but if you are very very sensitive best to avoid. 


  1. I am the one the likes cheese and coleslaw!

    Sometimes my handbags like picnic hamper.
    So sandwiches are exciting news.
    As a veggie and new coeliac I welcome any veg sarnie.

    The marks cheese /salad sandwich is a bit dry but better than no options.
    I like mayo not a fan of egg Is it a school trip thing ?M ight need to try it afresh.
    Thanks for your great site.

  2. I'm so glad that someone likes the cheese and coleslaw! One day, we will have a choice all the time.

    What do you think about Warburton's gf doing a deal with Pret A Manger? I think that would be brilliant.

  3. I like Cheese and Coleslaw too... but I'm not supposed to have cow dairy..... I have to say - THANK YOU for this survival guide in 3 parts. I live in London and I'm newly diognosed... so it's a GOD-SEND - I was in Leon today and was telling the lady behind the counter about your reccomendation - she gave me a free piece of GF Pecan Pie! RESULT!!! Please don't stop with the reccs... I'm going to be bashing my oyster card and heading all over London (mainly for fish and chips!).
    Pret being gluten free would change my life :)

  4. I'm wondering if anyone can help me. I was in Starbucks this week and wanted to buy one of the gluten free salad boxes (as I have done for more than a year). They no longer have any salad boxes with 'gluten free' labels on them. Is the sandwich all that Starbucks offer now?

  5. C.F. Suggest emailing Starbucks.. their customer services is generally very good.

  6. The news about Starbucks doing a gluten-free sandwich is music to my ears. It's a pity this news is wasn't better advertised as I walk past the place everyday and would never have believed it. It is so very hard to find eateries where people even know what you're on about. The Mark's sandwich is one very small round for which you'd have to take out a mortgage I'm afraid. And I wonder why stores mistake being gluten-free with being vegetarian as it seems only cheese is all that's on offer. Find me an authentic gluten-free pizza and I'll be a happy bunny.

  7. Mustard can contain flour, beer, or malt vinegar so is often not gluten free.

  8. Sandwich from starbucks, tuna very nice. Also sanwich from M&S with cheese is great. Now at M&S glutenfree christmas pudding and cake with topping!

  9. Do Starbucks still do the gluten free sandwich? I've been in a few that haven't had them - maybe they had just sold out.

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