J.C. asks from Charleston, IL on April 13, 2009
Food Idea for Air Travel
My 3 year old daughter has a severe peanut allergy and we are off for an international trip soon, and the flying time, hmmm, over 15 hours.
My carry on will not be short of snacks, but does that mean my little girl will go for a day without any hot food? My heart aches just thinking about it.
So we need your idea of safe air-travel friendly and "real" food. She likes sandwiches with deli meat/cheese and any type of pasta, but I worry how long I can keep the food without them getting bad, just too risky for such a long flight.
Tonight I did my first experiment. You know those EASY Mac and cheese from Kraft? The one that comes in a cup and requires 3 mins of microwave? Well, I pour hot water in it instead of microwaving it, come on, airline will definitely have hot water, right? The result - it worked! The noodles are not as puff, but it's okay, soft enough to make a meal.
What else? Any suggestion will be appreciated. However, please do not ask why she cannot eat any airline food (even if they tell you it's peanut free) - No, FAAN made it clear, very clear, rule number 1 in food allergy is avoid airline food. Cross contamination is a big problem and if it happens, you are in the middle of the ....hmmm, air.
Crackers, fruits are already on the list, but I really would like to have something more filling, something close to a "real SAFE meal!"
Thank you so much.
R.N. answers from Chicago on April 14, 2009
Airlines will always be willing to provide hot water, they might not be willing to microwave food for you (I wouldn't count on it.) We do the ramen noodle soup cups on flights all the time. It's not exactly packed full of nutrients but it's hot. And better than most airplane food.
Maybe try hummus sandwiches, cold roasted veggie sandwiches or wraps, etc.
L.H. answers from Chicago on April 13, 2009
Maybe call the airline and see how they can help to accomidate you. I am sure you can come up with something that works for you both.. Sorry I'm not much help but I have never had to deal with this problem..Godd Luck
L.C. answers from Chicago on April 14, 2009
My mom and dad always packed a little soft sided cooler as one of their carry ons. You can always do the sandwich's with an ice pack to keep it fresh longer. The other suggestion (but call the airline to confirm both of these are ok after 911)is to pack a little thermos. The childrens ones, I don't think are breakable and should be ok w/the airlines. Put Speg., stew, soup, ravioli, almost anything in it. Good luck on that long of a flight... you maybe so busy trying to keep her occupied that food is a second thought! Have fun.
J.W. answers from Chicago on April 14, 2009
Try instant oatmeal packets. All you need to do is mix it with hot water. Someone else mentioned mixing it with sunflower butter, but you don't really need to. I make it several days a week here at my desk at work with just hot water and the consistency is fine. It's warm and filling, too :)
S.Q. answers from Chicago on April 13, 2009
Allergy mama here! This is not on the topic of food, but when we travel we ask to pre-board so I can use a Clorox wipe (or organic variety) to wipe down my food-allergic child's seat, arm rests, tray table, window and anything else nearby. I also use a cover for his seat. I bought mine from a company called "Plane Sheets" and it fits perfectly over the seat. But, you can also just bring a twin bed-sheet. Fold it over and tuck it in all around so your child doesn't have to come into contact with the seat. I know planes aren't cleaned well enough as they should. And my fear is someone from the last flight ate a granola bar or a Snickers in his seat (and we don't realize it until we hit 30,000 feet!) It only takes 2-3 minutes to do this, but it helps to do it in pre-board or you will have people trying to cram past you to get to their seats!
When I book our tickets, I alert them we have a peanut-allergic child. I also mention it when we check in to reserve our seats. I also tell the flight attendants. They have always made an announcement, like "We have a child with a severe peanut allergy on board. Do not eat peanuts on this flight, because we don't want to have to land unexpectedly!" They have even handed out free snacks to people who were going to eat peanuts. Everyone has always been kind about it. I know it is an inconvenience for everyone, but we have had about 10 safe flights in 7 years, thanks to everyone's graciousness.
A.M. answers from Chicago on April 13, 2009
My kids love that ready-made bacon. It doesn't require refrigeration. We've made bacon & cheese sandwiches on 15 hour car trips. We've also had no problem with milk, lunch meat, string cheese, cheese cubes, and carrots in a soft insulated lunch box with a few small ice packs. In fact, when we got to our destination and forgot the cooler lunch box in the car, it was still perfectly cold the next morning. My kids also love cold pasta salad - wagon wheels with a little parmesan cheese and a bit of italian dressing. My almost 3 year old twins, as well as my 7 yr old, eat all of these things when we travel.
T.P. answers from Rockford on April 14, 2009
What about lunchables? I don't know if they can be heated up or not but that might work. Could you ask for a spot in their fridge to keep cold food. Maybe in a lunch box or "soft" cooler?
Best of luck to you.
M.D. answers from Peoria on April 14, 2009
How easy is it going to be to ensure you are peanut free when you get to your international destination? I have traveled overseas (Portugal) a few times, even though I thought I had a good knowledge of the language I found their food package labels are much different than ours. I have an Iodine sensivitity, not anaphalyctic but makes my feet swell so I really try to avoid it. I found it almost impossible to determine what was in the products or relay it to restaraunts. Luckily no major incidents, I survived! Make sure you have your Epi pen. Have you looked into the peanut vaccine? I beleive it is still in the experimental stage but shows great results so far for those who have received it.
J. answers from Chicago on April 13, 2009
I would check with the airline to see if they have suggestions. Even if you don't want to eat their food, they can let you know if they are able to heat food for you and maybe they have ideas that other travelers have used. (in my limited experience, international flights have been a lot more customer-friendly than domestic, where they treat you like cattle.)
If you search for "self-heating meals" there are products that heat themselves. I have a feeling it will end up being expensive and uneaten, but you could give it a try.
You could try ramen-type meals. I've seen higher-end options at places like Whole Foods, and you can add hot water to those and let sit. Same with Campbell's dehydrated soups.
You could also look at some of the newer vacuum-packed convenience meals from the grocery store that don't require refrigeration - for example, the rice dishes that are in vacuum-sealed bags. I keep seeing new products, but can't think of other examples offhand, but you could put the bag next to your skin to warm it to body temperature, at least.