This Is Our House: Bringing Food to the Patriots

Courtesy of Boston.com
Courtesy of Boston.com

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to attend the Patriots vs. Colts AFC Divisional game at Gillette Stadium. And, just in case you missed the 43-22 win, LeGarrette Blount had 4 rushing touchdowns – a postseason record for the Patriots!  Now, the last time I went to a Patriots game (January 2013), I had just been diagnosed with Celiac Disease two days before.  I brought my own food, and when I arrived at security they stopped me.  Apparently, bringing in your own food is a big no-no.  Fortunately, the guard was nice enough and after a bit of explaining he let me bring in my own food.  But this trip, a year later, I took a little different approach.

Why Bring Your Own Food?

Honestly, Gillette Stadium has some fabulous options for gluten free food.  There are some great blog posts on eating safely at the stadium from Celiac and Allergy Adventures and Urban Tastebuds. However, I find it to be not worth the bother.  When I go to the Patriots game, I’m not focusing on food.  I certainly don’t want to spend my precious moments in the stadium debating whether there was cross-contamination or waiting to receive food that I know is safe. 

How to Bring Your Own Food

Bringing your own food to the Pats is game is quite simple.  About a week before the game you email the Director of Operations with your food allergies/medical reason to bring your own food.  She’ll email you a letter to bring to the game with you authorizing you to bring your own food.  Then all that’s left is to pack your meal (in accordance with the NFL bag policy) and remember the letter!  The official policy reads as follows:

“Please submit an email at least 48 hours before an event requesting permission to bring in medical supplies or for special dietary needs to Kelly Way at kellyw@teamops.com. You will hear back within 48 hours of sending your email.” –  Gillette’s Security Protocol Page

What I Packed

  1. Little Earth New England Patriots Clear Zip Tote Bag from Dick’s Sporting Goods: In accordance with the NFL Stadium Bag Policy, all bags must be clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and no larger than 12″x 6″x 12″. I really appreciated having a zipped bag during the downpours and rain pellets of last night; however, you can also bring in a gallon size Ziplock.
  2. Rain pants: I love my rain pants! They have a bag in the pocket, so halfway through the game when I wanted to take them off, I just folded them into the bag and put them away.
  3. Quinoa Salad: Great compact filling dish for traveling! My recipe is in my previous blog post, Fall/Winter Quinoa Salad.
  4. Skinny Pop: I love Skinny Pop!  While popcorn is easy to find gluten free, I’m also allergic to safflower oil.  I tend to eat Skinny Pop, Popcorn Indiana, and BoomChickaPop. Here, I chose Skinny Pop because you can buy the 100 calorie bags, which are convenient for traveling!
  5. Odwalla: Much better than squishing fruit, and it was cold enough out to stay refrigerated!
  6. Letter from Kelly Way: Like I said, makes your life much simpler when trying to bring food to the game

What would you bring to the game?!

10 thoughts on “This Is Our House: Bringing Food to the Patriots

  1. Kaila! You’re a genius! I’m going to an NFL game this November and was just thinking about how I would finagle this situation…I have a doctors note about my celiac and need to bring food in I always carry on me BUT the bag situation is tricky, I didn’t know dicks sold the clear totes! I’ll have to check! Also, I didn’t know where to find the contact information so I could get an approved note like yours but now I have a starting point 🙂

    1. Awesome! I’m guessing you’ll be at MetLife, so if so, they allow food for everyone. There policy is…

      “Guests are welcome to carry-in the following items into MetLife Stadium:
      Food of any kind that is contained in a clear plastic bag
      Factory-sealed, plastic bottles of water or soft drinks that are 20 oz. or less in size (caps will be removed by Safety Services team members)”

      Here’s the link: http://www.metlifestadium.com/guest-services/guest-policies.

      The clear plastic bag is a whole NFL league thing since last year I believe. 🙂

      Have fun!!!

      1. nope, Ralph Wilson Stadium! So if you know their policy, that would be fabulous 😛 seeing as I cannot find a statement besides this:
        · Clear bags smaller than 12″ x 6″ x 12″, one gallon clear plastic freezer bags or small clutch bags approximately
        the size of a hand (4.5″ x 6.5″), with or without a handle or strap.
        · Food – unopened, single serve containers carried in an approved size clear plastic bag
        SO I don’t know if your “quinoa salad” would be allowed, and I’m tryna bring REAL food, not just snacks!

    2. You’re right! They’re not as specific as the Patriots. I emailed Guest Services, and they quickly replied.

      “Thank you for taking the time to write in to us about your preparation for an upcoming game! You can certainly bring in special food for medical reasons, we would just need to add you to our special needs list to alert security at the gate. Here is the info we would need from you:

      Name:
      Phone #:
      Seat Location:
      Gate Entering:
      Estimated Time of Arrival:
      Description of Items Being Brought In:

      Once you let us know that information as well as which game you will be attending I will add it to the list!”

      I forwarded you the email, but I thought it might be useful for others reading this post to include a comment here as well. 🙂

  2. This is so helpful, I was diagnosed celiac yesterday and already freaking out about the Pats game I am going to next month. Thank you!

    1. I’m so glad! Let me know if you have any questions about being a celiac in the Boston area. Be sure to email them at least 48 hours in advance. (You could even do it now!) I have messed up, and they’ve been fine when I give them less notice too. But, I don’t recommend it! 🙂

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