Thursday, June 21, 2012

Allergy-Free Travel - Snack Ideas, Tips and Recipes

On my radio show yesterday we discussed traveling with food allergies and I mentioned how important it is to do a bit of pre-planning, pre-purchasing, pre-packing and then be spontaneous!

So in light of the pre-planning and pre-packing portions of your trip, here are a few recipes and ideas that will help you get off to a great start on your next allergy-free trip!

If you have a copy of my cookbook - OMG! That's Allergy Free? - you will find several recipes for GF Goat Cheese Crackers, Flavored Nuts and Crispy Garbanzo Beans.  On my book signing tour/moving adventure I took a few of each along and truly enjoyed the variety!  

If you have more of a sweet tooth when traveling you could also try these shortbread cookie recipes since they are sturdy enough to stand up to the rigors of travel.

And for a little something to add to your crackers here are some flavored cheese ideas that hold up well even in a soft sided cooler . . .

I store my marinated cheeses in small glass jars with tightly fitting lids - left over jars I don't mind recycling along the way - to ensure that the cheese doesn't get too crumbled or leak all over the cooler!

These kinds of super satisfying and savory protein sources can be a real life-saver when you are traveling through areas that really have few options besides a rather uninteresting salad!  The yummy cheese and the oil it's packed in provide a wonderful addition to an otherwise boring meal!  Whether you choose to make it from Almond Cheese or traditional sheep's milk feta, it's sure to please your palate!

Here are a few other ideas from earlier blog posts that pack well and that you may find helpful as well . . . simply click on the captions below the photos and you'll be transported back the the blog post with the recipe.

Roasted Garlic & Tamari Pepitas
These savory pumpkin seeds are sure to be one of those "just right" snacks when you want some crunch to keep you going.  I try to eat them 1 at a time and thoroughly chew to keep myself busy when I'm feeling a little sleepy or bored!

I also like to do this with homemade trail mix.  I use a 4 to 1 ratio of nuts and seeds to unsweetened or fruit sweetened, organic, chopped dried fruits.  I generally choose nuts like almonds, pecans, pistachios, Brazil nuts, cashews and walnuts.  I soak and dehydrate the nuts to remove some of the enzyme inhibitors and make them more digestible.  It's easy to eat these yummy treats mindlessly, so I pack them in serving sized bags.

Southwest Style Flax Crackers
Adding a bit of super delicious and high fiber snacks like flax crackers can ease some of the digestive woes that come with travel.  

Flax & Hemp Seed Crackers
Interestingly enough, high fiber flax seeds can slow an IBS episode or speed up a sluggish system!  But if this flavor doesn't suit you, be sure to consider these Grain-Free Flax and Hemp Seed Crackers.

You may find that having some type of bread/cracker substitute can elevate a rather uninteresting salad to a much more satisfying meal when you encounter those towns that have very few options for allergy-free meals outside of a salad.

Probiotic Rich Coconut Kefir
Adding probiotic rich foods and drinks to your daily routine while traveling keeps your digestive system on track and also provides your immune system with a boost.  It's important to keep in mind that all stress - even the good, fun kind - still impacts your immune system.  So to make sure yours stays in tip-top shape drink 2-4 ounces twice a day or add in some yogurt, kombucha or other fermented foods every day.

I packed 3 of these aseptic boxes of coconut water along with my pint of kefir.  Each day as I drank some, I replaced those ounces with some fresh coconut water.  That way I had a continuous supply of kefir.  I'm convinced this was one of the smartest things I did for myself on this trip!  Any time my digestive tract seemed a bit "off" I simply drank a few ounces of coconut kefir and in an hour or 2 I was back on track!

Here is a synopsis of my best Allergy-Free Travel Tips:

1.  Be Prepared - Plan ahead, by choosing a destination or a route and then look up options in advance on sites like
2.  For simplicity, plan to go to a destination resort that caters to your individual allergies/lifestyle, there are even camps for your kids that are specifically GF or Vegan or Peanut-Free.
3.  Pack an assortment of snacks and “emergency” style food options for those meals where there really is no suitable option available.
4.  Visit the local “healthy food” markets or vitamin shops to both restock your supplies and ask about the best options in the area for healthy meals – be sure to mention your particular food allergies, Naturopathic offices or healing centers may be worth a phone call as well since they will be aware of the healthier options in town.
5.  Don’t let yourself get too hungry . . . that’s why you packed the snack food!  Getting too hungry can be a recipe for disaster because you will be willing to eat foods off of your particular eating plan.
6.  To keep your digestive tract in tip-top shape be sure to drink at least 4 ounces of coconut kefir or other fermented foods per day.  The probiotics not only keep your digestive in order, they also give your immune system a boost.  This can be very helpful when your body is under a bit of stress – even the good kind!
7.  Drink plenty of water!  This is essential to maintaining healthy hydration levels.
8.  Take time to enjoy each vista – gratitude and wonder surround you everywhere – never miss an opportunity to enjoy yourself.  The journey is more than half of the fun of arriving at your destination.
9.  Be sure to pack your best problem solving hat for those moments when you are tempted to feel sorry for yourself or believe there are no good options.  These are the memories that you will look back on and have the best stories to share!  Seriously, these moments can make or break your trip so be sure to allow them to make things fun!
10. Be flexible . . . each time you arrive in a new town or city, use your best "finding out skills" (I use Siri) to discover the healthy foods markets, organic farmer's markets, or healing centers.  Check them out to see what's new and interesting that you can add to your road trip food.  And strike up a conversation with the checker and the other customers and ask where you can find the best allergy-free food in town!  Then follow their suggestions, read the menus and have fun . . . like me you just may find some of the very best food you've ever eaten!

For more tips and info be sure to listen to my show - Simple Solutions for Everyday Health - it's been archived so you have the opportunity to listen to it if you missed it!  Click here for the link.

I hope these tips, suggestions and recipes help you have your most successful, fun and allergy-free vacation this summer!

Dr. P

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