It's official. It's next to impossible to go on holiday and maintain a diet that is wheat-free, egg-free and dairy-free.
These are the dietary intolerances of my youngest child and honestly, I can't say we're achieving a perfect hit rate. Luckily, it's not a life or death situation. However, eliminating these foods from her diet have helped to heal her eczema. And now, I'm just wondering:
is all the sacrifice and progress we've made over the last 6 months going to be for nothing? Is her eczema going to return?
Well, it's Day 7 of our holiday in beautiful New Zealand and her arms are still clear. I'll keep you posted. But in the meantime, here are some tips that have helped keep our food choices clean especially for our daughter with food intolerances.
PACK SOME SNACKS AND SPECIAL TREATS
It's so hard to tell a child they can't have dessert because everything has eggs, dairy and wheat. This is why I always pack some healthy snacks and treats to keep everyone happy on holiday. My kid's favourites are Foodcraft's Paleo double chocolate chip cookies, the nori snacks and the activated nuts. I don't leave home without them and they have saved me from a public tantrum on more than one occasion.
PLAN FOR BREAKFAST AS IT IS THE WEAKEST LINK
Breakfast is by far and away the hardest meal of the day because every option revolves around eggs, milk and wheat. Even the gluten-free bread options are usually made with eggs. These are my solutions:
- Have ham, tomatoes, cucumber, salad, nuts, seeds and fruit. This options doesn't always go down well with kids though.
- Buy your own Paleo or vegan cereal and nut milk at your local health food store and use that to top up the breakfast options at the hotel.
- Bring your own breakfast porridge. My recipe is below. I brought a Tupperware of this DIY porridge in case all breakfast options failed. It cooks great with just water. Add a little honey because you're on holiday after all and you've filled your belly up with lots of fibre, omega3 and warming ingredients.
FORGET THE CHILDREN'S MENU
Why are children's menus so absolutely appalling? I hope one day restaurants will realize that children are not rubbish bins and shouldn't be catered to as such. Everything is battered and comes with fries. And if it's not battered or fried - it's pizza. I'm all for odd burger or pizza but when on holiday, these become the options day in and day out making things very difficult for a child with food intolerances.
My solution: I order a main from the adult menu consisting of a grilled fish or chicken options with veggies and rice. It's generally enough for the two girls and if not, I add another side. More often than not, this option is just as cost effective as ordering two kids portions.
GO SELF-CATERING WHEN POSSIBLE
My last tip is when possible, go for an AirBnB or self-catering option. We stayed at a beautiful house in Queenstown which cost much less than a hotel and it gave us the flexibility to be in control of at least a few meals a day. We found an amazing supermarket that sold beautiful organic produce and discovered some superb local produce, like a handcrafted cashew cheese and chocolate coconut ice cream. That supermarket shopping experience was one of my top moments in Queenstown. Plus, we ate like royalty and everyone was happy!
It's hard to get holiday eating 100% perfect - and when you have food intolerances, it's almost impossible without planning and possibly some extra cost. My take is
don't let perfect be the enemy good.
Do what you can beforehand to prepare for the major pitfalls. The hardest one for us is breakfast so as promised, here's my favourite on-the-go breakfast porridge perfect for people with gluten, dairy and egg intolerances.
THRIVE'S PROTEIN-RICH PORRIDGE (serves 1 child)
Three tablespoons of hemp seeds have 9g of protein, making this a filling porridge full of fibre and healthy fats too!
- 3 tbsp hemp seeds
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp flaxmeal
- 3 tbsp gluten free oats
- 2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
- hot water
Mix all the dry ingredients in a container. At your hotel breakfast, pour dry ingredients in a bowl, add freshly boiled water from the tea making station. Cover with a small plate and let sit for a 5 min. In the meantime, have some fruit. After 5 minutes, uncover, add a splash of soy or nut milk if desired and some honey. Serve!
Are you a family with food intolerances and need help with your meal planning?
I've already done all the experimenting in the kitchen and discarded the horrible recipes.
Contact me and fill your days with family-friendly, child-approved, nutrient rich dishes.
Thrive Nutrition Practice focuses on digestive healing, blood sugar regulation & post-natal recovery. You are also welcome to join my Facebook Group "Thrive Nutrition Practice: Post-natal depletion" or "Thrive Nutrition Practice" for weekly articles, recipes & promotions.
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