Traveling with kids? Easy.
Mealtime with kids? Not easy.
Mealtime with kids — with allergies — while travelling? Nearly impossible.
Kid #1 – Highly allergic to tree nuts, including pine nuts which is found in pesto. She’s a picky eater that doesn’t want anything spicy or any visible bits of tomato, onion or cabbage.
Kid #2 – Highly sensitive to eggs and dairy. Also avoiding nuts since she is not yet two. She’s a food monster that climbs all over me and the table to get whichever food is left out of her reach.
Doesn’t sound too difficult except that our nutritionist claims both girls should be on gluten-free, very limited sugar diets. I also make sure they get fruit and veggies at each meal to reduce the girls’ chronic constipation.
Lunch scenario #219 (or something)
Lunch in our global world is similar in every city at most cafés: 2 huge pieces of bread with some tiny, tiny portion of undisclosed ingredients crammed between it. Not really so filling or nutritious. Luckily the health/vegan/raw diet/juicing revolution has introduced some great lunch places in major cities and I found one of these places in Hobart, Tasmania for example the other day. The daily soups are posted on the wall here and gluten and dairy free selections are already listed. Bingo! So.. I go through MY LIST for each soup:
– Nut-free?, Egg-free?, Dairy-free?, High veggie content?, Gluten-free?, Low sugar content?, and…. will kid #1 eat it?
I get up to the counter, ask if soup for Kid #1 has nuts or is too spicy. I get denied. Only the soups with the stars are available today. I glance at the line… 10 people behind me and kids are getting restless. I rethink fast, order 2 different ones and breathe out a sigh. Then I am offered a choice of bread. Gluten-free please. Denied again. (So they offer gluten-free soups with gluten containing bread?). Anyways. We get the soups and sit down.
2 bites into the soups, while trying to get kid #2 to slow down so she doesnt burn herself, I realize I didn’t ask about the nuts when switching soup orders. I had ordered a tomato basil for Kid#1 and that has a high chance of containing pesto. I grab Kid #2 and run to the counter to ask. No nuts, no pesto. Whew… that was a close one.
Other scenarios don’t turn out this lucky. And it is in these situations when I am holding Kid#1 while her lips and throat are swelling and she is crying bc she doesn’t want to throw up again or that I am up all night long rubbing the back of Kid #2 so that she can at least sleep 30 min in a row without tummy troubles that I think to myself…
A hamburger from McDonalds is such a smart parental decision.
But I continue on in this journey of allergies and diet hoping that in the long run, I will get it right and that my kids will be healthier for it.