Traveling with Food Allergies

Mary Cornforth Cawood

This article, entitled Traveling with Food Allergies comes from Mary Cornforth Cawood at fruitamoms.com

We're about to take our first trip with both girls not being able to eat gluten. While I have become a seasoned veteran at traveling with dietary restrictions, I realize that the girls are a little less willing to deal with limited choices than I am.

I have certainly had to think about what we will be doing and how to keep everyone happy because upset stomachs on vacation are the last thing we need!

What is on the agenda? A day trip to Arches National Park. We can pack a picnic lunch and plenty of snacks while we take in the scenery and get some exercise hiking around.

Next up… a couple of nights in Denver. I did my research ahead of time and selected a hotel with a microwave and fridge, as well as being located near restaurants with kid-friendly gluten-free menus.

And if we can squeeze it in…one more day trip to a living farm and restaurant in Paonia. I read about the farm this past holiday season, but we never got the chance to visit. The girls will love visiting the farm, and springtime is always the best for seeing baby animals! The restaurant serves from farm to table, and their menu advertises many gluten- and dairy-free options for breakfast and lunch.

Having food allergies is no reason to be home bound! I remember when I was first diagnosed, I thought I would never travel again, but through trial and error, I have learned how to make the most of vacation time.

  1. Choose your hotel carefully. Once you know where you are going, look for accommodations that will allow you to store food because it is unlikely you will be able to eat anything at the complimentary breakfasts. Hotels/condos with kitchenettes or even fridges and microwaves will allow you to bring milk, yogurt, cereal, fruit and snacks so there is always something you are able to eat. Even if the hotel doesn’t list fridges in their amenities, chances are you can request one. Many hotels keep “medical” fridges on hand so that guests can refrigerate medicine in their rooms.

  2. Plan ahead. Scope out restaurants ahead of time. That way, you know exactly what your options are. There is nothing worse than searching for a place to eat when everyone is starving! I have found a couple helpful smart phone apps that allow me to search for restaurants with gluten-free menus based on my location. One even lists menus of popular chain restaurants, and another allows me to scan bar-codes on products at the grocery store!

  3. Pack plenty of snacks. Don’t count on gas stations, fast-food restaurants or the snack bar at the zoo or museum having food you can eat. Make sure you leave for your daily outings with plenty of snacks that can see your family through to the next meal. There is nothing worse than stopping what you are doing to search for food. I always make sure to have water bottles, fresh fruit, granola/energy bars, and if possible, a little cooler with yogurt or cheese.

  4. Invest in an electric cooler. If you plan on traveling a lot, this is a must. Our full-size cooler can either plug into the a/c adapter in the car or into a standard outlet in a hotel room. This is great for those times when you have a long drive or can’t find accommodations with fridges. It is also handy in the summer because we always have cold beverages readily available!

  5. Have fun! Don’t let food allergies stop you from adventuring! Do your research, plan ahead and you will soon discover that many hotels, restaurants and attractions are happy to make accommodations for you and your family.

Mary Cornforth Cawood is a Fruita mom who is married with two daughters. Read her Tuesdays on Fruita Moms.



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