Traveling With Food Allergies

I am thrilled to be heading out tomorrow to the Relevant Conference for Christian women who are bloggers, but I am also excited that

both my DH and my Certain Little Someone will be coming with me! They won’t be attending the conference, naturally, but they will be there with me in their own way, and having their own fun bonding time together.

The only problem is that it adds an extra element to my planning! As all you food allergy mamas know, it can be very stressful to take your child anywhere where you don’t know what is or is not safe for them to eat. Your choices are:

-go on a wing and a prayer and hope you can find some safe food somewhere, anywhere.

-bring food with you, but be open for safe options where you go.

-bring food with you, and only allow him to eat that food.

It really depends on your personal situation, your child’s allergies, and even your personality, which one you choose. In the past, I’ve gone more for option #3, but this time, we’re going with option #2. Now that we know more of his limits, and have more experience dealing with restaurants and food preparation, we know what we (and he) can handle and what we (and he) can’t.

In any case, planning is certainly useful. It helps to eliminate stress, knowing you have safe food prepared for your child in any event. Here’s what I did to prepare for our short trip this week:

1. If you’re staying in a hotel, find out ahead of time what amenities will be available to you.

We’re staying in the conference hotel, which thankfully has a refrigerator in every room, and a microwave available 24 hours to all guests. I would recommend, if at all possible, finding a hotel with at least that much to offer, so that you can store and prepare the majority of your child’s food. It opens up so many food options, and allows you to bring more than shelf-stable foods. I’m planning to bring a small cooler with at least his coconut milk and coconut milk kefir.

2. Research nearby safe restaurants.

GPS’s are invaluable for this! If you have a safe restaurant where you know there are certain foods you can feed your child, look them up and see if they will be nearby. If you don’t have a GPS, a quick Google search will work, too, or you can simply go to a restaurant chain’s website and look up locations.

3. Be prepared in any case.

I have packed a box full of shelf-stable breakfast, snack, and meal items. He will more than likely end up eating most of it, although I’m certain his daddy will treat him to (more than) his fair share of safe french fries (from Wendy’s or Burger King) or other safe treats while out and about.

If you’re curious, here’s a brief list of what I will be bringing with us to feed him:

-Quaker instant oatmeal packets (the cinnamon spice flavor is safe for him)

-Nature’s Path EnviroKidz Gorilla Crunch cereal

-homemade granola bars

-Safe canned Campbell’s soups: Beans and Bacon, Chicken and Rice (I wish Walmart had Pork and Beans when I was there, because those are his favorite!)

-canned chicken

-Gerber’s Graduates turkey stew

-individually packaged canned veggies (carrots, peas)

-individually packaged applesauce

-fruit leathers

In a cooler, I will bring:

-a homemade lunch, depending on when we leave

-coconut milk (for drinking)

-coconut milk kefir

-some homemade meatballs or chicken fingers from the freezer

-if room, some homemade muffins or biscuits from the freezer

And I can’t forget other essentials, like:

-vitamins

-microwavable containers/bowls/plates

-toddler spoon/fork

-snack cup for on-the-go snacking

Your Turn: How do you plan for trips with food allergies? Any particular safe foods you can recommend that are great for travel?

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5 Comments on “Traveling With Food Allergies”

  1. Teri says:

    I will typically check the restaurants around us for their allergy menus so that I know before hand what the boys and I can eat.

    I also pack a lot of drinks (if we are driving,) because my allergies always get worse when traveling and this helps me stay hydrated. I also pack tea bags of the tea I can drink, so I don’t have to do without.

    Cleaning wipe, if you have to use a microwave or anything else that could have cross contamination.

    A lot of fresh fruit.

    I know your son can’t have any nuts, but I will pack soy nuts, almonds, or macadamia nuts for quick power snacks- for future reference.

    I will also make my own trail mix type snack. My kids are older and 2 of them can have soy nuts, so it is a good sweet/salty snack for them.

    • Great ideas – especially the cleaning wipes! And oh yes, I forgot to add that I am bringing a supply of fresh fruit as well. When my Certain Little Someone is older, I will make him some safe trail mixes, but right now, I don’t feel comfortable feeding him nuts or seeds (kind of difficult to have a trail mix without either!) and some dried fruits (these b/c of choking). I do want to experience with cereal mixes, using Chex and the like.

  2. Sarah says:

    Just recently found your site. My 3 year old DD is allergic to milk, eggs, and peanuts. I always pack all her food and don’t allow her to have anything other than what we’ve prepared. We don’t let that stop us from traveling, though. In addition to what you listed, I usually pack hot dogs, olives, sun butter, and bread. Oh, and don’t forget to pack the can opener!! I did once….not fun! 🙂

  3. Lisa Morosky says:

    I just went to the BlogWorld conference in Las Vegas a week or so ago. I’m gluten-free (with some sensitivities to dairy, though I don’t avoid it totally). So before I left, I packed some snacks (Lara Bars, some granola, some other stuff) to have on hand. I also stuck a list of safe restaurants in my BlackBerry. And when I went to an unplanned place, the first thing I did was ask them what I could eat.

    It’s all about preparation, I think. Have fun at Relevant!


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