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!


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! 


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 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?

Boston Family Vacation

Outside of the cities I have lived, Boston is probably my next most visited city. For many years I spent every other Thanksgiving there, as well as summers in Cape Cod.

Here’s the backstory: my dad grew up along the South Shore. He’s the oldest of 8 (6 boys and 2 girls), and most of our family still live in the area. My grandma (Beach Grammy, which Finn named her years ago) has 18 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. She also turns 90 later this year. My brother and I are the oldest grandchildren and my youngest cousin is 9, so we span lots of years!

While the 8 kids were born and raised just outside of Boston, they (and my cousins) are now spread out over Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, New Jersey, Washington, Massachusetts and Holland. This was the first time 99% of our family would be in the same city, so Justin and I knew a Boston family vacation was a must this summer. And as expected, we had such a fantastic time!

The kids did an amazing job on the flights. Evie took a little snooze as we made our way to the hotel to settle in. (Random: every time I drive in the tunnels in Boston I think of Princess Diana. Strange?)


We spent our first full morning at the Boston Children’s Museum. Because we are members of the Science Center of Iowa we paid $0! The partnership among museums in this country is really incredible! The kids LOVED the museum. In fact, LOVE might be an understatement for what Finn felt. He would have slept there if we’d have let him.


Finn quickly made it to the top of this rope tunnel at the entrance. Other kids were screaming and getting lost. He was killing it. Ninja skills.

RopesEvie loved the lighted Tetris-like dance floor. Girl has moves for days. Just look at her get LOW!

DancingIf this is a look into my future, I’m in trouble. I also have an outdated phone in my future. Let me upgrade ya!

E phone

There is an area called “Kids Power” where kids use their humongous muscles to make things move. I love the teamwork and facial expression on Evie as they work to fling a ball in the air. They were incredibly proud of each other and kept high-fiving!!Pull PushLater that afternoon we filled the kids up with some very necessary nutrition…

Pre dunkin

… before we took a family drive to Quincy to visit the very first Dunkin’ Donuts. I am well aware Dunkin’ is not the mecca of health, but it screams BOSTON, and it was a history lesson for the kids, right? Hard work, determination, franchising, etc… :) Some people take historic tours of architecture when they visit the East Coast. Our family? Historic donut buildings.


As you’d imagine, Finn and Evie didn’t give a rip about the history lesson, they were just THRILLED to get a donut. So thrilled, in fact, Evie sang her donut a song. Seriously. She straight up sang to it! By the time her song was done, Finn had already digested his entire donut and was licking his chops for more. Hello, sugar high!

Dunkin kidsHopefully we aren’t the only crew to have taken a family picture in Dunkin’? Family Christmas shot 2014 right here, folks! Just print it off now.

Dunkin family

We spent every afternoon with my family, including 2 of my girl cousins who happily scooped Evie up into their hearts.  Evie was smittin’ and keeps talking about “Wiz and Kawa” … Liz and Cara :) Cara made her bracelets, which Evie calls her “power.” There’s no quicker way to Evie’s heart than super powers and pretty jewelry! All 3 of these nuggets are my super heroes! Love them.

E Aborns

Cara also introduced Evie to Kim Kardashian. CARAAAA!!!! :)

E social

My younger cousins took Finn in immediately and he was in heaven. Between soccer, swimming and running around, he never wanted to leave!

F cousins

Finn swim

With all of my aunts and uncles and cousins, there were at least 34 of us gathered to celebrate my Grandma’s 90th birthday later this year. These are most of my cousins on my dad’s side (we are missing 2 cousins and my brother). Do you see now why the kids never wanted to leave this land of magical fun and playmates?!? Entertainment for DAYS!


The next day we took a trip to the New England Aquarium. It was amazing – Nemo and Dory live there, but let’s just say the Children’s Museum went over with a lot more excitement :)


While Finn has visited the ocean twice before, this was Evie’s first visit. This is a big moment for my beach-loving heart! I watched as she walked closer and closer to the (freezing cold) water. As expected, she fell in love!

Evie beach

Justin and Kids

EvieFinn and Justin

She wanted to jump and splash, while Finn preferred to “Superhero punch” the waves. He also accidentally took a big gulp (rite of passage) and exclaimed, “wow, that’s salty!”

Finn beach

Finn sand

Family beach

And no hotel trip would be complete without flying toddlers, right? I wish I would have recorded this laughter. It was hysterical!

Evie fly

Finn fly

We had such a great time enjoying the city and our family. Maybe some day we’ll buy that Cape Cod beach house and make this an annual trip. Big dreams :)

Until next time, Boston, we love you!


Have you gone on a family vacation this summer? Where to? 


My Mommy Mind

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  • Once again my dearest friend flies off to save the world.  Erin and her family left Afghanistan earlier this year, only to find a new destination in Indonesia. May they soar above it all! Always inspired by her.
  • I finally did it! Chopped my hair. Too many inches to count are in a trash can, and I couldn’t love it more.  FREEDOM! (In a few weeks when I’m whining about not being able to pull it into a wet bun, tell me to HUSH!)
  • All Evie wants before she sleeps is “a kiss, a hug and a high five” from Finn. Any other time of day, she rejects his love. If he’s not in the mood, watch out! Evie’s going to get what Evie wants. (This statement also translated into leaving a full cart at Trader Joe’s last week because Evie demanded a sucker… now… which she never did receive after a loooong time once we arrived home. We’re talking screaming and crying, laying on the floor, full-on fit! Whoa. Sorry, TJ’s!)
  • Speaking of Trader Joe’s, when I went back this weekend (solo) to refill my cart with the items left (grrrrr), I overheard this amazing dialogue between mother and son.
    Son: Can we have some cereal, mom?
    Mom: Yes, you can choose one box but it has to have 6 grams of sugar of less.
    Me: That is awesome! You’re a great mom!
    I seriously walked away in smiles and cheering.
  • We leave this week for Boston. Two kids, two adults, one hotel room, five nights, one rental car, and lots of family. The kids are going to have the time of their lives with all the cousins and family who will eat them up, regardless of how little sleep they (or we) get. We can do this!

What are your best tips for travelling with little ones? Spill the beans!!!