For most of us, vacations are a great way to escape everyday stresses and to rest and relax and forget about the real world for just a moment. But, when you are dealing with food allergies, that whole escape-the-everyday-stresses thing goes out the window! Why? Because food allergies travel with us…
I have a child with 16 anaphylactic food allergies. Sixteen common, every-day foods could kill my kid. And we still leave the house!
It is a very rare occasion for him to be able to eat at a restaurant. In fact, he hadn’t done so in nearly four years until this past summer. We were vacationing in Houston, TX and the chef at the steakhouse in the lobby of our hotel offered to cook for our kiddo; paying strict attention to his food allergies. He prepared him a steak and raw spinach! Basic, yes – but a very memorable meal for my sweet kid!
I can’t help but wonder… as food allergies are sky-rocketing, what will become of restaurants? What happens when there are too many allergens for chefs to be able to contend with?
But, I digress…
For now, we are so appreciative of restaurants willing to take the extra care, time, and precautions it takes to prepare a meal for our family!
Since it is such a rare opportunity to be able to eat out as a family, I spend a lot of time meal planning for our vacations. I almost always choose accommodations that offer a kitchen or kitchenette of some sort. This gives us the ability to prepare allergen-friendly foods and either all eat together or to feed our allergy-kid before we go out to a restaurant as a family.
We are already planning for an upcoming (much-needed) trip to the beach and I have a few rough-drafts of my meal-plan going! I try to stick with easy to cook foods and I do as much of the prep-work as I can at home before we leave.
Here’s a snippet of some menu ideas I travel with…
- Pre-cooked smoked turkey breast is a quick allergen-friendly food that we pick up often from our grocery store. It is a great way to eat healthy whole food on-the-go! We love to slice it for sandwiches or salads, or serve it up with mashed potatoes and green beans for a quick dinner, or cube it up for snacking on the road!
- I also pre-marinate meats to cook on a grill, stove, or oven – whatever we will have access to. This time we plan to marinate a flank steak and grill out by the beach! The same with salmon. I can bring along my cedar grilling planks to grill it or bake it in the oven at the condo.
- My daughter had the genius idea to take the plastic containers that lettuces come in and pre-mix our salads right in the containers before we leave! We will make up our salad dressings as well and have dinner-ready salads!
- The same with hummus. Homemade hummus packed with pre-cut veggies and organic corn chips offer us a quick and easy snack or side-dish to a meal that is ready-to-eat!
- Oatmeal is another quick and easy food! I can set the oats up in the crockpot overnight and wake up to a nice hot breakfast!
- Whole fruits, cut veggies, safe chips, homemade beef jerky, and cubed cheeses and cooked meats make for great traveling snacks and I always travel with a good mix of good options!
My goal all of the time, but also when we travel, is to feed my family good wholesome foods. But, while vacationing, I don’t want to spend all my time in the kitchen. That’s why I do as much prep-work ahead of time as I can and I keep our meals pretty basic and easy to prepare.
I’m sure there are other traveling food-allergy families out there! What tips have you acquired along the way to safely feed your kiddo on-the-go?