Traveling with Food Allergies

We had an amazing time in Boston with our family last week! There is so much to do and see in that incredible town. There was also so many things to eat! Had it just been Justin and I, we would have ate our way through every seafood joint in town, but that’s a little more difficult with 2 toddlers and food allergies on the mind.

In addition to all the fun, we also had to think about food.  One, we have food allergies and sensitivities to address, and two, our tummies don’t seem to tolerate “anything goes” food anymore. For better or worse, our bodies truly do crave nutritious fruits and vegetables, especially vegetables!

Last week I spent what felt like an eternity packing clothes, shoes, beach gear, and toiletries.

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Once those items were packed I had to focus on something else: food. Of course there were the usual snacks for the plane, but I also tried to bring as many “staples” as possible to avoid buying too much when we arrived to our hotel. So what did we pack and what did we purchase on site? Here’s our list…

We brought these items from home. Some were packed in my backpack and the “bonus stash” was packed in a suitcase:

  • Nick’s Sticks
  • Lara Bars
  • 2 apples for the plane
  • 4 “super butter” and jelly (almond butter) sandwiches for the plane
  • boxed organic raisins
  • organic fruit snacks
  • cashews
  • almonds
  • almond butter packets
  • almond butter jar (1/2 used and packed in suitcase)

When we arrived, we found the nearest health food store to pick up a few additional essentials. We took a short drive to Good Health Natural Foods in Quincy (amazing store!) to purchase these additional items:

  • fruit (bananas, apples, grapes)
  • organic baby carrots
  • jelly
  • bread
  • Enjoy Life cookies
  • almond milk
  • grass-fed butter (Justin is into Bulletproof coffee)

Good Health

At every chance possible we fed the kids fruit and veggies. There were several times Finn actually asked for an apple or a banana. The answer was always OF COURSE!

Apples

While there was a few Dunkin’ runs (when in Rome…) we tried as much as possible to eat as healthy as possible at every chance.

After the Children’s Musuem, we took a short walk to Sweet Green. I would say 50% of the people we passed on the way to the shop had take-out salads, and when we arrived the line was out the door. This was clearly THE SPOT! 

Sweet

Let’s be honest, if I didn’t have two fading toddlers and a long T ride back to the hotel, I could have stayed there all.day.long. The District Cobb hit the spot.

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My mom had the Kale Caesar which also looked incredible.

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A few days later we were back out and about in the city at the Aquarium.  We fell hook, line, and sinker for the “grass-fed burgers sold here” sign in their cafe. While it wasn’t quite the “healthy” vibe I had in my head, it was much better than it could have been and probably the best option within walking distance with two very tired and cranky munchkins. (The burger was pretty good.)

We went to the grocery store nearly every afternoon to pick up things for dinner that night at my Grandma’s.

Traveling with the ability to shop and cook is incredibly helpful while traveling, but if that’s not an option, be sure to consider the following:

  • Pack as much “handy” food as possible.
  • Request a mini fridge for your hotel room. This is almost always an option and worth a small fee, if there is one. (We stayed in a Hyatt Place which offered a mini fridge no cost in all rooms.)
  • Call the hotel manager/director and ask about any accommodations that might be helpful.
  • Find a nearby grocery store or quick mart for staples like fruit and vegetables.
  • As always, when eating out, ask the wait staff about possible allergens before ordering.

Have you found other tips to be helpful with traveling with food concerns? Are there other things you have done to make food travel easier with small children?

The New Food Economy

Robyn O’Brien is, without question, one of my heros. I was first introduced to her after Finn was diagnosed with food allergies. I was determined to figure out what really was happening to his body and why he was rejecting basic foods. My pursuit led me to Robyn, and life has never been the same! Her first TED talk literally changed my life.

She recently spoke at TedxFrontRange. Her message is clear and her questions important, the most important being: “Are we allergic to food or what’s been done to it?”

With 1 in 13 children diagnosed with food allergies and 41% of Americans expected to be diagnosed with cancer in our lifetime, it’s time we identify and fix the problem of health in this country. And I believe, that change starts with food.

The more I hear from Robyn, the more passionate I become about real food and making sure our family is as healthy as possible.  What do you take away from listening to Robyn?

Whole30: Wise Survival Recipes

Whole30 has been an incredible journey for me and our family. We’ve learned to eat cleaner and smarter. When I first committed myself to 30 days, I focused on all the things I could not eat instead of the wide variety of food I could eat. Along the way we found some new recipes and rediscovered old ones. Today I’m sharing our “go-to” recipes, as well as a handful of links that will keep variety flowing as you begin your 30 days.

Whole30 Survival

Breakfast

I mainly ate eggs, smoothies and meat for breakfast. As the kids ate something different most mornings (remember, Finn is allergic to eggs), Justin and I made breakfast for two. Justin was amazing and often made our breakfast, even making my smoothie first and then whipping his a little more to throw in almond milk and honey. It wasn’t perfect, but it worked well for 30 days.

Option 1: Bacon Egg Cups *

Option 2: Use your Vitamix or Blender to create a smoothie with the following ingredients: water, chia seeds, coconut oil, coconut flakes, raw almonds, frozen/chopped banana, mixed berries, and kale or spinach. Be sure to add enough water to liquify.

Option 3: Sauté green peppers and onions in ghee. Add two whipped eggs and scramble together. Add a side of pork sausage, if necessary. I always ate with 1/2 avocado and sliced tomato.

Option 4: Power Greens Breakfast Skillet (skip the parm)

Option 5: A variety of egg-based and egg-free recipes - 30 Days of Whole30 Breakfasts from Meatified

Lunch

Lunches are the hardest for me to “prepare” something. Between getting the kids lunch, picking up toys, unloading the dishwasher or car, and quickly checking messages, there’s little to no time before I need to clean the kids and the kitchen and put Evie down for a nap. Most of these lunches are quick! If I didn’t make one of these options, I often had leftovers from a dinner the night before. I usually added fruit and a raw veggie to my lunches as I have little time to “prep” or “cook” veggies at lunch.

Option 1: Slice a banana (length-wise) and add almond butter to the long sides. Top with crushed cashews and raisins. Add a side salad or baby carrots.

Option 2: Taco Salad using homemade taco seasoning

Option 3: Nick Sticks (turkey are my favorite), a LaraBar (double check ingredient labels as some are not Whole30-approved), and some veggies.

Option 4: Orchard Turkey Burgers (skip the brie and use EVOO and balsamic vinegar instead for dressing)

Option 5: Pan-fry a burger and top with avocado. Serve with fruit and veggies.

Option 6: For days you have a little more time to prepare lunch – think weekends – Meatified has 30 Days of Whole30 Lunches.

Dinner

As I’ve shared before, we all ate Whole30 for dinner because I’m not in the business of making separate meals for everyone! Here are some of our favorite and easiest recipes. I always serve dinner with a side vegetable. Options included: roasted or steamed broccoli, kale chips, roasted cabbage, side salad, asparagus, brussels sprouts, cooked carrots, etc. Vegetable side options are endless but you have to commit yourself to trying new things.

Option 1: Cilantro Lime Grilled Shrimp (we also did this to scallops)

Option 2: Hemp Crusted Baked Chicken Fingers

Option 3: Chicken Packets (no baby corn and used ghee)

Option 4: Healthy Homemade Chicken Fingers

Option 5: Chicken Bacon Avocado Salad with Roasted Asparagus * (use a high heat oil instead of butter to cook asparagus)

Option 6: Bacon Wrapped Meatballs *

Option 7: 30 Days of Whole30 Dinners from Meatified

Snacks

Whole30 really encourages three filling meals and to avoid snacking, but there were times (especially in the beginning when I wasn’t eating enough at meal time), I would be hungry and need a snack. Some of my favorites include:

  • unsalted cashews, raw almonds and unsweetened dried cranberries
  • almond butter and apples
  • almond or cashew butter with veggies (celery sticks and carrots)
  • mashed avocado and a spoonful of salsa with carrots
  • black olives and cucumber slices
  • Go Raw Original Super Cookies with almond butter
  • hard boiled eggs

Additional Links

Several bloggers have done an incredible job of documenting their journey with 30 days of recipes. Check out the following posts for more ideas:

Whole30 Eating Log from Good Cheap Eats
Whole30 Approved from The Foodee
The Round-up: 30 Days of Whole30 Recipes from Nom Nom Paleo
The Whole30 Recap: Every Single Day from Nom Nom Paleo (2nd Whole30)
A Month of Whole30 Dinner Ideas from Holly Would If She Could
30 Whole30-Friendly Recipes from The Clothes Make the Girl
30 Whole30 Slow Cooker Recipes from Meatified

If you are interested in starting Whole30, I encourage you to do the following:

  1. Purchase It Starts With Food.  Read it in full before starting your journey.
  2. Set a start date.
  3. Plan and prepare. Lay out the meals you will have (breakfast, lunch and dinner) for the next 7 days. Grocery shop and prep your food. Repeat.
  4. Find support. Join the My Wise Mom Whole30 facebook page for encouragement along the way.

Closing Thoughts 

This will likely be my last Whole30 dedicated post, as I believe I’ve answered most of your questions and shared our experience as a family and mine personally to date.  If there are things we’ve missed along the way, please reach out! And if you’re on your Whole30 journey, be sure to join us on facebook and keep me posted of your progress. I love hearing about your success!

I also love great recipes, so please share your favorite Whole30 recipe(s) in the comments!

* I found sugar-free bacon (Pederson’s Natural Farms) at Whole Foods. Be sure the look for the package that specifically says “sugar-free.”