This summer, my husband and I took our first extended trip away from Little Boo (our 2 yo with Celiac Disease). She and her sisters stayed with our in-laws while my husband and I celebrated our 10th anniversary in Turkey and Greece. (It was amazing!) In order to get ready for our trip, we not only had to pack, but also had to figure out the best way to make sure Little Boo didn’t get any gluten. The trip ended up great! My mother-in-law and sister-in-law were very attentive to what foods she could eat and it was a great trip. Having one successful trip makes me feel more positive about future trips! And, as Little Boo gets older, she will start to understand what is okay and what will give her an ouchy stomach. In the mean time, if she gets gluten you will definitely know a bit later. Poor girl does not do well with gluten! So, here are some tips for traveling away from your child with Celiac Disease:
* This tip works for me because Little Boo has two older sisters. Lulu is 8 and Peanut is 6. Whenever we go grocery shopping, I do the “gluten or not” game. I hold up items and ask the girls if Little Boo can have it or not. They are getting really good! We also play the gluten or not game in the car. We all take turns saying different food items and then saying whether or not they have gluten in them. And, we do fun ones too! Little Boo can have monkey, snake, and shark corn tacos, if she so desired. She can’t have beer or boxes of sprinkles.
* Labeling EVERYTHING. Our house is mainly gluten-free, but when we stay at other houses, Little Boo needs her own stuff. I bring her own toaster (if we are staying for more than a few days – she really likes her waffles!), her own cream cheese/peanut butter/anything spreadable.
* Make lists. I give lists of gluten-free friendly restaurants, Little Boo’s favorite foods, and foods that are off limits. I also made a list of brands that are a-okay and brands that are not good. For example, Heinz ketchup okay, Hunt’s ketchup not okay.
* I include some basic books about Celiac Disease and the gluten free lifestyle. Our babysitter now has Celiac Disease for Dummies and The GF Kid: A Celiac Disease Survival Guide.
Do you have other ideas? I would love to hear your tips!