Always being prepared is the name of the game for those of us with celiac disease. I, for one, hate finding myself in a situation that I am not ready for. Take a peek into my backpack and get to know my top 10 celiac essentials: 

1. Nima Sensor

Since getting my Nima in 2016, I never walk out of the door without it. I am so grateful for the peace and confidence Nima gives me at mealtimes. Though there will inevitably always be a layer of anxiety associated with having celiac disease, having the Nima with me helps me feel more comfortable about eating out. Carrying the Nima sensor with you ensures that you won’t find yourself in food situations you can’t handle. And don’t forget to also pack the charging cord! A dead Nima is not a helpful Nima. 

2. Gluten Free Snacks

I wouldn’t be caught dead out of my apartment without at least a few gluten free snacks. Check out a few of my favorites:

Protein Larabars

These naturally gluten free and vegan bars are known for their super clean and minimal ingredient lists. The newest Larabar line, protein bars, not only are delicious but pack a pretty heft protein punch. 

Simple Mills Soft Baked Bars 

These gluten and grain free bars are like little travel-friendly pastries. I love these, especially when I am in a rush in the morning and need a quick breakfast on the go. 

Justin’s Peanut Butter Packs

I don’t know about you, but I am admittedly guilty of eating peanut butter straight out of the jar with a spoon. These packs are the perfect size to slip in my backpack and satisfy my random peanut butter cravings. The best part: as individually wrapped serving size packs, you can be 100% sure that no one cross contaminated your peanut butter with a gluten-y knife. 

3. Digestive Enzymes

We’ve all been there: you’re eating out with friends and your worst nightmare comes true. You start to feel the aches and nausea only gluten can be responsible for. Or worse, the waiter admits that they confused the orders and you’re now eating gluten. Panic. For me personally, the only thing I want to do after eating gluten is to lay in bed forever. But if I am out and can’t get home right away, taking a gluten specific digestive enzyme can help slow the symptoms and buy me some time. These have helped me on many occasions. A friendly reminder: these enzymes do not, by any means, make it safe for celiacs to intentionally consume gluten. They can simply offer some symptom relief when gluten is accidentally consumed.

4. Wallet with Medical ID

Did you know many medications contain gluten as a filler? Carrying a medical ID stating you have celiac disease and/or a gluten allergy helps alert any medical professionals in an emergency of your needs. Better safe than sorry.

5. Vitamins/Supplements 

Because staying healthy is trendy. Bonus points for having a cute pill box like my favorite one from Port and Polish.

6. GF Lip Balm

Lip balm has gluten in it? Whaaat? I know, very strange and totally unnecessary but it’s the truth. Before you reach for the generic brand “Chapstick” (which can’t confirm or deny if their products have gluten in them), try something like Evanhealy or Alaffia as safer options. 

7. Gum

Another tricky place where gluten often hides. But also the secret to seriously focussed studying sessions.

8. Silicone Straw 

There seems to be this terrible trend lately of making straws and other cutlery out of wheat! I am all for saving the trees and being nice to the planet, but I don’t think wheat straws are the way to go. I like to keep a foldable silicone straw with me to enjoy my Starbucks chai while studying. 


9. Travel Size Deodorant

Because no one wants to be that person everyone dreads sitting next to in class. Do yourself and everyone a favor by carrying a gluten free deodorant. My go-to is vanilla coconut scented…so I can daydream about spring break beach vacations during midterms. 

  1. Portable Charger

The only thing on my list not associated with celiac disease…well actually…if your phone is dead you can’t look up nearby gluten free restaurants. And therefore, a portable charger is a celiac essential, *wink.



Catalin is a Nima College Ambassador and celiac warrior. Catalin studies Function Medicine & Medical Anthropology and one of her favorite activities is learning to accommodate local recipes to be safe for people with celiac disease. She has been a Nima user since 2016.
Catalin Varela
College Ambassador