Traveling with Food Allergies: Packing Meals for Three Days

When we've gone on vacation with our son in the past, we've either flown to a relative's home with a full kitchen for me to use or taken a road trip with our electric cooler plugged into the dash and occupying a full half of the back seat. This summer my son and I made a trip to New York by air, where we would be staying at a hotel with only a refrigerator and a microwave.

I needed foods that packed well and that my picky eater would consume without complaint. After some deliberation, I tried to simplify the project by repeating the same foods for all three days, using containers that would stack with each other for the trip home, and by freezing parts of the meals themselves, instead of using ice packs.

For breakfasts I baked bagels, which I froze and packed individually in sandwich baggies. Each had two small packs of Sunbutter, a plastic knife, a paper towel to heat and eat it on, and some wax paper to separate the bagel from its accoutrements.

The next meals were packed into Easy Lunchboxes and contained Sunbutter and jelly sandwiches on homemade bread, which I cut into squares, slid onto a wooden coffee stirrer with wax paper between them, and froze, plus a tube of apple sauce, a frozen chocolate chip blondie, a little box of raisins, a roll of homemade strawberry apple fruit leather, and a napkin.

For dinners I kept it simple by bringing three frozen calzones in Chinese carry out containers. I used my usual pizza dough, which I stuffed with sauteed onions, red bell pepper, mushrooms, and spinach. (I am fully aware of the irony of bringing bagels and calzones to New York.)

The bagels all fit into a lunch bag, the lunches into an Easy Lunchbox cooler bag, and the calzones into a freebie baby formula bag, which I also slipped four apple juice boxes into. All three insulated bags went into duffel, along with a letter from my son's allergist, explaining that he needed to carry food, beverages, and EpiPens. Our clothes, which were much less of a priority, shared the other carry on suitcase.

New York was an awesome place to visit and my kiddo had a great time, but we had a far more serious reason to go to all this trouble for a short trip.

I have some truly amazing news to share.

One of the most promising areas of medical research into a cure for food allergies has been the studies being done at Mt. Sinai into an herbal formula developed by Dr. Xiu-Min Li from traditional Chinese medicine. The initial trials have gone extremely well, and Dr. Li has begun accepting private practice patients.

Last week my son saw Dr. Li and began a two to three year course of herbal treatment that may be able to cure his food allergies.

That's a story that will have to wait for another blog post, though.

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Gratefulfoodie said...

You are a SUPER mom! Don't you think food allergies pushes us to bigger creative moments in time?

I look forward to hearing about your son's journey with Dr Li

minnie@thelady8home said...

Very informative article.

Kathryn @ Mamacado said...

Wow, very exciting news! My little guy is only 4 so he's not eligible for the study. But I'll be VERY interested in how it goes for you. We of course hope and pray for this to work for you AND future children!

Joanne said...

Thanks for sharing! I look forward to hearing more about your experiences with herbal medicine and Dr. Li. I've been watching these trials over the past few years. It's very exciting!


Teah said...

I just stumbled onto your site because my son asked for a volcano cake for his birthday and low and behold I've found someone else who lives my life. I have two children that are allergic to eggs, milk, tree nuts, and peanuts and some other odds and ends foods. I also have another one that is allergic to eggs and tomato's (he's the one who asked for this cake) so to find that someone else understands what we deal with on a daily basis was awesome. I've tried to blog once before but with 5 kids to care for (2 non allergic kids) I'm swamped. Thank you Thank you for the recipes I'm excited to try some for a change in our usually go to's. I'm especially excited about your pie crust recipe. I can't seem to switch regular recipes and make them work vegan but yours looked wonderful.

ann said...

I had two allergic kids and my third I nursed for two years...and she was the only one that didn't have allergies. My first one I did not nurse...had major feeding problems and was even hospitalized for 3 weeks at 3 months. I was told never to have another baby unless I was willing to nurse. The second had less allergies - only nursed her for 4 months. Nursing makes a difference!

Renee said...

I just came across this post--thank you for sharing your travel tips! I feel like we have figured out the daily adjustments (for the most part) for my kids' allergies and delayed sensitivities, but it has held us back a bit from traveling over the past year or two.
I am very interested in an update about the herbal treatments. Are you still participating? What did you find out?