Food restrictions in the home add stress, while stepping outside of the home with your restrictions adds a whole new level of stress. Going out to eat for one meal is doable, but planning for a week of eating outside of the house is tough.
What about vacations? I’ve learned that with a little bit of planning, this is an easy obstacle to overcome.
It’s early one morning on our vacation. I’m enjoying a cup of coffee before we begin our day of sight-seeing. This has been an incredible trip, one I’m very thankful for! Vacations in the past were filled with fun memories, but always held days that someone was sick. It’s just what happened. We would bring medications and allow for “rest” days where nothing was planned.
Now that we know about our food allergies, there aren’t as many sick days. Traveling with food restrictions and allergies is tough, but with a little planning, it doesn’t have to be!
Plan, Plan, Plan!
The key is to plan.
Travel days – With family living 8 to 12+ hours away, we drive long distances every year. We have a cooler that fits between the front seats and we don’t leave home without it! I fill it with what we need for our week away as well as what we need for the drive. We also keep a case of water bottles with us. Have you noticed how much water bottles cost on the road and at tourist attractions? Yikes!!
- Eat in the car – Breakfast and lunch are eaten in the car. Sometimes we’ll stop at roadside parks. Most of the time I make sandwiches in the car and pass them out. Remember to bring all utensils you’ll need as well as napkins and trash bags! Tip: Collect mayo/mustard/jelly packets to use in the car.
- Find a go-to restaurant – If we are still driving in the evening, we have a go-to place we’ll stop. Here is where planning and our iphone comes in… Before we leave home, I know target spots where our go-to restaurant is on our route. About an hour before we want to eat, we search for it. It’s a chain with organic food. There is one meal I know won’t make me sick. We order on-line and when we arrive, we grab our bag and go! As fast as fast food, but healthy! Find a chain and know what specific meals you can eat.
- Snack grab bags – Because it’s a vacation, I allow junk food. We splurge and buy prepackaged foods – for the ones that can eat it. For the rest of us, dried fruits and homemade lara bars (what I call KimBars or KimBalls – you can search my website for those recipes) are our favorite snacks. If I have time, I make a car snack grab bag for each person. It holds enough snacks for the car. When it’s gone… well, they know to ration so that won’t happen!!
Kitchen – We cook our food instead of eating out. With how much money we save doing that, we are able to stay in condos or hotels with partial kitchens. Even if you just have a microwave, you can eat incredible meals from your room with this one simple tip – Bring pre-cooked, frozen meals. A week before the trip, I spend one day cooking. Before that day cooking, I plan.
- Make a menu
- Create two shopping lists
- Ingredients needed for cooking
- What to buy after arriving at destination
- Cook all meals at once
- Freeze meals (store in gallon freezer bags that lay flat to freeze – space saver!!)
- After arriving at destination, shop again.
This week, our menu consisted of chili dogs, chili, Zuppa Toscana soup, breakfast foods, white bean chicken chili, and tacos. Those are also the favorite meals of each child in the family! It just so happens they are almost all one-pot meals. All I had to do was heat the meal and set out condiments.
If we were staying in a hotel, a microwave is all I’d need. The biggest problem would be keeping the food cold. A cooler would work, but you would have to keep enough ice to maintain correct temperatures.
Problems with staying in the boundaries of your restrictions happen when hunger strikes. Once again, planning will keep that from happening! Carry snacks and water bottles with you!
A vacation just wouldn’t be a vacation without enjoying food relevant to the area. Restaurants that prepare their food from scratch can easily accommodate food restrictions. These restaurants tend to be a bit pricier, but with all the money you’ve saved by cooking, it’s worth it!
If you can plan to eat out during lunch hours, not only will it be cheaper, less crowded times make changes in meals and special accommodations easier. Tip: Asking locals or calling the restaurant beforehand is an easy way to find out if they can accommodate your needs!
Just a little planning beforehand and keeping the simple tips in mind will take the stress out of travelling with food restrictions!
Kimberly Vogel is new to blogging, but not to writing. She is working on her first book – children’s Bible study and picture book. This past year, she was diagnosed with food allergies and began the quest for healthy living. She home schools her four daughters and is very active with the children’s ministry at her church. When she’s not teaching, serving, writing, or cooking you might just find a crochet hook or knitting needle in her hand. Check out her latest activities at her blog http://www.kimberlyvogel.wordpress.com.