Five Plan Ahead Tips
Travelling this summer and have concerns around food? It can be stressful, particularly if you have little ones to worry about. If there are food allergies or intolerances to be concerned about, leaving the comforts of home can seem far from comfortable. Fortunately, travelling and maintaining an allergy-friendly diet doesn’t have to be as daunting as it sounds. Here are a few tips for a fun, food-safe trip.
Prevent problems and plan ahead. Prevention can be the best medicine. Get in touch with your accommodation contacts and any restaurants you plan to dine at ahead of time to prevent you and/or your loved ones from getting sick. Ask to speak directly with those preparing your meals (don’t be afraid ask to speak with the chef and kitchen manager, seriously) and explain any dietary restrictions. Be very clear about what your specific needs are and ask whether staff can accommodate you appropriately.
Bring a dining card. Make a small card (the size of a business card) on the computer, laminate it and put it in your wallet. The card should list any medical diagnosis you have (diabetes, celiac disease, etc.) as well as your diet type and food restrictions. Show the card to restaurant staff and anyone you purchase food from. Put it in writing and let them know you mean business!
Purchase, prepare and pack safe snacks. This goes without saying, however, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been lost without a decent snack! Ensure you have a good supply of safe snacks packed away—it’s better to over-pack rather than not have enough. What is preferable? Based on your needs, choose organic, naturally sweetened trail mix and protein bars, assorted fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, granola, cereals and other wholesome snacks you love. Think shelf life for freshness and think protein to feel satiated for longer periods of time. Make nutritious allergy-friendly recipes for your travels.
Request a mini fridge. Thankfully, many hotels and resorts are more aware of food allergies and dietary restrictions and therefore more accommodating. Although there is still a long way to go, we have a better starting point now than we did 10 years ago. A mini fridge will allow you to keep essentials on hand, such as milk (dairy-free or not), yogurt, eggs and other foods, so breakfast can be taken care of daily, if needed. It’s also a great way to store and preserve your snacks!
Pack a sandwich maker. A small electric sandwich maker can be a life saver when traveling. My very resourceful sister-in-law Sabrina Cantkier brought this to my attention last year and raved about how you can make so many different kinds of fresh, hot and delicious sandwiches right in your hotel room with the assistance of your mini fridge! Just make sure you have allergy-friendly bread and fillings on hand (it is usually preferable to keep allergy-friendly bread frozen if possible, otherwise refrigerate short-term). Your sandwich maker will knock another meal off your list!
Lisa Cantkier is a holistic nutritionist and lifelong celiac who specializes in food allergies and special diets. For more information, visit LisaCantkier.com