|We’ve had a long cold winter, can’t wait for all this snow and ice to melt!|
Last Wednesday, I decided I just couldn’t take the snow and ice anymore. I needed to escape to warmer weather, to get some sunshine, and take a break from the dirty snow banks lining the street, as well as the damage from a burst water pipe and ice dam from all the snow (nope, none of the repairs have been done yet!).
|A quick change of scenery and some sunshine was just what we needed!|
Fortunately, I had brought a single hamburger bun with me on the trip and had stowed it in my purse (only a neurotic mother would do that). After lunch, I realized that although the hotel was more than willing to accommodate my son’s food allergies, they really didn’t know how. My fantasy of having someone else figure out allergy friendly meals for my son quickly evaporated. I realized I was not going to be able to hand over the responsibility of my son’s food allergies to anyone else (how naïve, I guess it was wishful thinking!).
|My stash of allergy friendly foods from Whole Foods|
- A vacation is really not a vacation when you have a child with food allergies. You can run, but you can’t hide.
- Consider staying in a place with a kitchen if your child has severe food allergies. Even if restaurants say they can accommodate food allergies, the choices they offer may not work for you or your child.
- If you’re staying at a hotel, call them ahead of time and feel them out on their willingness and ability to accommodate food allergies. In my case, the hotel was very willing, but not necessarily capable of meeting our needs.
- Ask if the hotel restaurant kitchen is willing to store and reheat food you bring or purchase (I had no idea the hotel would do this, but it was a life-saver in my situation). Be sure to label your food and remind them to store any extra food items back where they belong. Alas, our bagels were no where to be found the second morning of our stay, which caused a meltdown at breakfast. Amazingly enough, the hotel manager took it upon himself to run out and buy more gluten-free bagels as well as some gluten-free muffins for my son.
- Don’t be afraid to make special requests. I asked the hotel restaurant to make a soy milk berry smoothie, which they were happy to provide.
- When you book the hotel, make sure they make a note of food allergies on your reservation and ask them to notify the hotel restaurants. Although this didn’t always work, I found it was helpful when the restaurants had a bit of warning so it wasn’t a surprise when I showed up. Be prepared to give an extra tip for any special accommodations. Send a follow-up letter to hotel management and thank the hotel staff for their extra efforts (you never know, you might be back).
- Before you book or leave on your trip, see if there’s a Whole Foods store or other natural foods market nearby in case you need to buy your own food and ask the hotel to reheat it.
- Bring a few foods to tide your child over for the plane ride and upon arrival, until you can assess the local restaurant situation.
- Check out restaurants ahead of time to see if they cater to special diets. I googled gluten-free restaurants in the area and reviewed their menus online. Since my son has multiple allergies, this wasn’t foolproof, but it gave me an idea of restaurants that might be more accommodating for food allergies.
- Be willing to make a few sacrifices (unless your child has such severe reactions that you can’t). e.g., the gluten-free chicken nuggets had egg listed in the ingredients, but I felt it was okay since his food allergies are not life threatening and it was just one meal.
For another story on traveling on a special diet (anti-candida in this case), read How I Spent My Florida Vacation by fellow blogger Ricki from Diet, Dessert and Dogs.