Traveling with food allergies is always a challenge and it’s been made even more so with Covid restrictions. Covid or no Covid, the key to having an adventure and not a disaster is pre-planning. As an example, traveling by car offers a ton of choices and challenges. For our situation, we normally don’t travel by car more than a day’s worth. Part of that is dealing with Covid, and not wanting to find a great place to spend the night. Luckily right now, most of our business and family interests are within our state, so our travels are within a day’s worth of driving. That doesn’t mean that we don’t sometimes spend the night with friends or family, but that’s a story for another day.
Variety is key to happiness. I may not be able to have a cheeseburger or taco but having food choices is important. I select both savory and sweet options. I’m not usually a desert eater, but I do enjoy sweet options when I travel. I begin with premade items. Beef sticks and jerky are on my list. I carefully check the nutritional labels for allergy triggers, in my case wheat. Then I turn to my goodie box. Chips of some sort. I can do generic potato chips and tortilla chips. I just have to watch if they have some sort of coating. I also enjoy dried fruits, and those are generally okay for me. Then I add some other types of sweets. I can have dark chocolate – it doesn’t contain milk – so there arealways several choices in my box.
While you might think a snack box is the end of it, the bigger challenge is the drive through delight when my husband gets hungry. Yes, certain drive throughs offer salads as an option, but that has a limited appeal for me. If I have salad dressing with me, then that might be okay, but I only have a limited interest in salad - especially if my husband is eating a cheeseburger. Don’t misunderstand me, I want him to enjoy a burger. Ninety percent of the meals he eats are limited by my allergies, so I encourage him to eat something different when we are out. If I feel needy, I may get some french fries. These are usually okay, as long as they are not coated. If it looks like there is some kind of coating, my husband call tell with one bite, and then I just have to say ‘no’.
That’s where a nice hot meal comes into play. It’s time to pull out the thermos. One of my favorite travel foods is Daiya Cheezy Mac – or as I like to call it – not Mac nor Cheese. It is one of the few dairy and gluten free options available. I cook it different ways. Add taco ground beef and I have a cheese burger mac, add smoked salmon and fresh herbs, and I have an upscale meal. Other thermos options are soups, curries, and casseroles.If I plan the night before, I can make extra dinner servings that will fit into my thermos.
I always take real utensils. A sandwich sized Ziplock will hold the dirty items until we return home. Paper towels are a must. I can have coffee if I bring my own non-dairy milk, I don’t like the way most non-dairy options offered taste. Not sure why that is, but what I bring from home is just so much better. Or maybe it’s just what I’m used to. Besides my milk, I also bring butter, mayonnaise, salad dressing, and cream cheese. Also some bread, just in case. All dairy, gluten, and egg free of course.
These are some of my tricks for car travel. Being prepared allows me to focus on enjoying the views and our destination, and not the limitations of the food options along the way.