Traveling with multiple food allergies and sensitivities takes a lot of preparation and planning. We are currently in the middle of a major adventure that has taken us through Washington State, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. I spent time planning ahead to make sure that we had things to eat no matter where we were in the trip.
First, I made a chopped taco style salad that traveled well in the cooler and could be assembled with little effort. The chopped celery, carrots, sweet onions, bok choy, and green peppers were prepared the day before and placed in a to go container with a tight fitting lid. I also added a can of black beans and kidney beans. This is one of those salads that you can really pick and choose your favorites. I used what I had in the fridge so I wouldn’t come home to expired produce in the crisper. I have to give Frito Lay a big “thank you” for this idea. I made a dressing by using salsa verde, rice vinegar and oil. I poured this over the veggies and placed it in the container with the tight fitting lid. I then chopped romaine lettuce and placed it in a zipper bag. We shredded goat cheddar and then the regular cheddar for those in the family without allergies, and placed it in zipper bags. I then chopped left over chicken tenders from lunch and placed it in a zipper bag. All of these items were placed in the cooler right before we left the house. After driving for 5 hours we stopped for gas and lunch. I took paper bowls with us but Frito Lay suggests that you can serve this directly in the lunch sized chip bags. Everyone had their choice of chips. You crush the chips and add the salad ingredients, stir and enjoy. It was cold and refreshing and don’t forget healthy. The kids enjoy having their choice of chips and cheese and they enjoy the veggies too. I am not paid by Frito Lay, I just follow their Facebook page and saw a video that had this idea, so I wanted to give them credit.
I also looked up Allergy Eats website. You can look up restaurants by location and they have links to allergen info. on most restaurant sights if it is available. They also allow for reviews by individuals so you can read first hand by others with food allergies. It was helpful to know what our choices would be ahead of time.
The other thing that was helpful was communicating with the friends we would be staying with along the way. Explaing ahead of time what we could eat saved a lot of frustration after our arrival. I think there will always be a few kinks but nothing we could correct easily.
Planning ahead we were able to pick up safe snacks as they were on sale before the trip. The hardest part with that was keeping the kids from eating them ahead of time. I can’t tell you how many times I had to say, “Please don’t eat that…those are for the trip!” Having the cooler in the car allowed for us to snack on veggies and fruit and eat safe lunch meat during the trip, which meant happy children. The other thing that kept everyone happy were the dual DVD players that can play one movie on both screens or separate movies on each screen. That cut down on the bickering since we were in the car for 10-12 hours a day on the first leg of the trip. We also had safe treats that we used as prizes every so often. That helped lift spirits. We had printed travel games ahead of time and bought some trivia games that we could all enjoy, our youngest is 10.
We have been at our destination for a couple of days and have really been able to enjoy ourselves and not stress over food, which is a nice feeling. I try to inform our hosts what the allergies are but also emphasize what we can eat. There are still alot of foods out there that are allergy free. Most are fruits and veggies and meat. People tend to look at us and think you can’t eat anything. It just takes a different way of looking at food and I guess until you live with allergies it isn’t something most people even consider.
If you are getting ready for a road trip. Please be encouraged that with pre-planning you can reduce the stress of “what will we eat?”. However, I can’t promise that you won’t hear, “Are we there yet?” Enjoy your trip and drive safe!