When you have dietary restrictions, travelling can be a difficult and daunting task. You have to be extra careful about what you eat and where you eat it.
Having had first-hand experience with children with food allergies, I know all too well how difficult it can be to find a restaurant that can cater to everyone’s needs.
When I was travelling with my eldest who was milk intolerant (he can tolerate quite a lot of milk now, but I am still careful) I found it relatively easy. I have learnt what food he could eat and what he couldn’t. Then my youngest came along. At first, I thought he was just milk intolerant too. However, after doctor visits and investigations, it turns out he is gluten-free too.
Having these two food intolerances actually makes finding somewhere to eat a lot harder! Even eating out locally, I find we have problems. With servers just handing over the gluten-free menu and with me having to triple check EVERYTHING until they understand it isn’t just one food intolerance.
So what can help make eating out easier when you have children who are gluten & milk free? Here are some tips on how to travel with allergies and still enjoy your holiday.
Eating Out While on Holiday Tips – Travelling With Food Allergies
Research, research and more research
If you know exactly where you will be staying, research your chosen destination for suitable gluten-free places to eat. Once you have found places, contact them directly to see if they can indeed cater for your chosen dietary requirements (I know not everyone will be dairy-free or gluten-free who reads this post!). You can find websites or apps to help you. One I have found is called Find Me Gluten Free.
Learn the local language
Okay, you don’t have to be fluent, but learning the local language for gluten-free and milk free can come in handy. I find using milk free is easier than saying dairy-free. People seem to understand that better. Saying dairy-free seems to confuse people and think eggs are included.
The google translate app is great for this. Make sure you download the language pack before you go away, and then you can use the camera feature. The camera feature allows you to translate signs and food packaging. It can be a lifesaver while away on holiday with the kids.
I have found Google Translate very useful for checking for phrases like “food that have gluten” or even “contains milk”.
Food intolerance isn’t the same as an allergy. However, having an allergy card in the local language puts across the seriousness of the situation. You can buy allergy cards from the internet or you could google translate your own.
Buy An Allergy Card
You can also buy a food allergy card from our shop. Very simple to print, and fill out and then you can laminate to keep reusing on future family holidays or day-to-day outings.
However, if you do the latter, then maybe check to see if you can check with someone who speaks the local language to make sure it has been translated correctly.
And if all else fails…
Struggling With Food Allergies Tip 1 – Take food with you
Depending if you are doing a staycation or going abroad, you can take some food with you. As we normally go self-catering (another way to relieve the stress), I take a number of items away with us.
You can get the following which are all gluten and milk free:
– Snacks (see our gluten free and milk free snack ideas)
– Dairy free milk, Soya Milk, Coconut milk etc (best only if you are driving)
I then can buy other items we need to make meals when we are at our destination.
Tip: Go on holiday with meal ideas before you leave and have an ingredients list to save the hassle when you are at your destination.
Struggling With Food Allergies Tip 2 – Find a supermarket
If you are going on a self-catering family holiday, then another place to research is supermarkets which sell gluten and milk-free items. Some countries have specialist shops instead of the actual supermarket. If in the UK then you can find a number of websites which can help, although most supermarkets now have Free From Range which is a lot easier to navigate than abroad.
Struggling With Food Allergies Tip 3 – Picnics Can Be Ideal
If like myself you take bread or wraps with you, then you can just find a local supermarket and buy a sandwich filling.
You can then find crisps or snack bars from your researched supermarkets. It is a great way to also save money while on holiday too.
In conclusion, following these simple tips will help to make dining out while on holiday a much easier and more enjoyable experience for those with allergies, especially those who are gluten and milk free. With a little bit of planning ahead and some careful communication with restaurant staff, you can sit back, relax and enjoy your meal without worry.
Do you have any tips for making eating out with food allergies less stressful? Let me know in the comments below.