Thursday, December 22, 2016

Secrets for Traveling with Food Allergies

So how on earth do I travel? This was one of my first questions when I started living with food allergies/intolerances.  Here are some of my best tips from traveling over the past 10 plus years. I'd love to hear any of yours, as well!

  1. Bring a ton of snacks for the road and when you are out and about. I always feel better when I have a ton of food on hand. Snacks are great if your meal seems to not stick with you, or seems totally unappetizing when the time comes.  Some of my best snack ideas are: pistachios, cashews, granola (see recipe on site), Lundberg Farms Bean & Rice Chips, Gluten Free Pretzels with Raisins and Enjoy Life chocolate chips, pumpkin seeds, macadamia nuts, Ruffles potato chips, fresh fruit, dried fruit, veggies, chips and salsa, Trader Joes sweet potato chips, applesauce, apples and cashew butter, popcorn (Safeways organic microwave popcorn), refried beans and potato chips (I know, kind of weird, but I love it)  
  2. Bring a cooler in the car. I freeze water bottles to keep cold and you can refreeze or drink them when you get there. I also bring a smaller cooler that can flatten with an ice pack for day trips out.
  3. Meal ideas on the road. I often make gluten-free pizza the night before and eat it cold in the car. Other ideas are hummus with chips, rice tortillas or GF pretzels.  A chef salad also travels well. You can put the veggies in a container, and then a grilled chicken breast  and salad dressing separate. You can throw them together at the right moment for the freshest salad. ( has great salad dressing ideas) Fruit or berries cut up in a plastic container is always great, too. I've cooked up some "breaded" chicken the night before to take on the road which wasn't too bad either. Another idea is a sandwich with nut butter you can tolerate and creamed honey or jam. This here, here, or here would be good cold salads to take.
  4. Simple breakfasts to make in a hotel room. I bring cereal or granola with a milk substitute, a GF muffin, or Nutribiotic vegan protein powder, my blender and some bananas. 
  5. Make frozen meals in dinner size containers. Sometimes when I make a meal I throw a serving in a small freezable container and throw it in the freezer. Over time  you can have a lot of meals. You can throw these in your cooler and then if the hotel only has a fridge and microwave you can survive for days. I have survived for 4 or so days on these sort of meals alone.
  6. Get a hotel with a full kitchen, or a vacation rental with one.  Marriotts Residence Inn is my favorite because it is reasonably priced, yet decent rooms with full kitchens and dishwashers!
  7. Bring things with me that I may have trouble getting there. For example, gluten free pasta, herbs in small baggies for spaghetti or tacos, and rice bread.
  8. Plan dinners before hand and keep them simple. I do things I know by heart, or that are way easy. For example, spaghetti, hamburgers, chicken and rice, salad with grilled chicken, steak and baked potato with veggies sauteed in garlic and olive oil, or salmon with lemon, garlic, dill, and olive oil. Sometimes I cook up a bunch of ground beef the first night, one with taco seasoning, one with spaghetti sauce, and one into hamburgers. That makes other meals fast and simple.
  9. If allowed, bring a George Foreman grill or crock pot if they don't have a full kitchen.
  10. Research gluten-free restaurants or health food stores where you are going  (or will be passing through)before you get there and bring a list with you. If there is a Whole Foods at your destination, they may have a bunch of pre-made meals that you can refrigerate (or freeze) and reheat. Amy's GF,DF,SF mac and cheese is one of my favorites! Having these sort of options already known can make the trip so much easier. And even if you do them on occasion can be a nice break for you. 
  11. Bring along a Cecelias Marketplace shopping guide. As I mentioned in another post they are fantastic and have foods at major grocery stores all over the country with Gluten Free, or Soy-Casein-Gluten Free options. I took one of these to Florida and it made grocery shopping, even without a health food store, easy.
  12. Camp. Bring along your regular food prep equipment and there you go!
  13. Again, bring a ton of food. If I have one suggestion it's bring a lot. I bring an open box with all of the non-perishable stuff and a tall cooler that doesn't take up a lot of space. Knowing I have food on hand makes me way less likely to cheat, and way more likely to enjoy eating on the trip.

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