My home is my safe place. Leaving that safe place to enter another person’s kitchen who doesn’t follow the same strict guidelines that I do when I’m in my kitchen makes me a little uneasy. Not to mention, there are local restaurants in my hometown that I have found to be safe to eat at. But, as soon as I’ve left my normal geographic comfort zone, I’ve entered a new food world and suddenly I am just a few miles from my next reaction. I am sure many of you can relate. However, traveling and road trips are a huge part of living life that I certainly don’t want to miss out on. I’m getting ready to pack up for a trip to visit my husband’s family and I am putting more time into planning than I have in previous trips.
Here are a few tips that I’ve found to be super helpful when traveling allergy-free! Please feel free to comment below with any tips you have used during your travels!
- Meal planning! Get a head start by making the elements of your favorite meals that can be prepared early before you travel. I will be preparing a homemade spaghetti sauce, pre-mixing a pizza crust mix along with making the pizza sauce that goes with it, preparing a few fresh chicken salads and blending some homemade taco seasoning packets for our upcoming getaway. Make sure you have appropriate storage containers and a good cooler to keep everything cold during your drive. I love using Ball canning mason jars for sauces and seasonings since they come in a number of fun sizes! Rubbermaid food storage containers are also great for other food items that do not work well with mason jars.
- Bring your own snacks. There is nothing like overloading on junk food when you’re going to be on the road for several hours. But, if you are like me, you won’t find anything you can munch on at a gas station like most people. If you will be with family, you may also be around a ton of delicious gluten-filled treats during the visit. Do yourself a favor and pre-make a batch (or two) of your favorite cookies and visit your local health foods store to pick up a few of your favorite pre-packaged goodies. I love several of the Enjoy Life snacks which can even be found at your local Walmart. Fresh fruits and veggies can also be the best travel snacks as they are naturally gluten-free.
- Make a list of your food allergies/intolerances and of some of the brands that are safe. If you are visiting family, they will likely have a lot of questions/comments on what foods you are avoiding. This will make it a little easier for others to understand and maybe even might it possible for them to prepare a meal or dessert that you can also share in.
- Bring your own medications. It wasn’t until months after being gluten-free and still suffering from occasional reactions that I realized many of my food allergies are found in medications and vitamins. Always look at the inactive ingredients in medications and look for the gluten-free label. Often, I will still call the company to confirm the product is free from my food allergies/intolerances. I don’t want to treat a minor headache and end up miserable for a week as a result. Corn (starch) is my greatest enemy as it is often the first inactive ingredient in prescription and over-the-counter medications.
- Have Fun! Do everything in your power to not allow your food allergies/intolerances to prevent you from enjoying your time away. We all have bad days but even on my worst day, I want to be grateful for all the blessings that surround me. Don’t let yourself slip into discouragement when you can’t eat at the restaurant where everyone is wanting to go, or when you try to explain why you eat a certain way but others don’t understand or maybe, even don’t believe you. I’ve been there but I won’t let anyone/anything take away the joy that I have which surpasses all understanding.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7