Traveling While on an Elimination or Special Diet

Eating Sweet Potatoes at the Airport.
Eating Sweet Potatoes at the Airport.

Have sweet potatoes, will travel. That seems to be my current mode of operation. Since I challenged wheat, rice and baked potatoes (which all failed) I’m left with sweet potatoes for my starchy calories….at least until I find something else that works. This makes planning a necessity when traveling.

Basically, before I travel, I prepare enough food to feed myself until I arrive at my destination (which includes getting me to a grocery store and a place with a kitchen so I can begin cooking what I need to eat next).

First, I bake my sweet potatoes. Then, I cook whatever vegetables I will be taking.

Next, I chill everything; so it is cold prior to packing. Packing warm food into an ice chest or insulated tote bag will only melt the ice faster. I also prepare any salads or fresh fruit that I want to bring.

Sweet Potatoes in Resealable Bags (1)Once my food is well chilled, I pack it into either resealable food storage bags or resealable food storage containers. The bags go into a larger resealable bag so that they are double bagged. That way the food is protected from any water that might result from ice melting and leaking out of their resealable bag (which happens to me a lot). If I’m traveling by car, the food goes into a small cooler with bags of ice or reusable frozen ice (such as Blue Ice). Traveling by car is easy since you have the cooler and more space to be unorganized. You can also stop at grocery stores easily to buy any needed food items.

Traveling by plane requires more efficiency, so I tend to pack my food into resealable plastic bags as they take up less room and can be disposed of when the food is gone. I pack my food into an insulated soft sided food tote that can either be put into my carry on luggage, or into my carry on bag.  I add ice (which I also put into resealable bags) or Blue Ice to keep my food cold. Both ice and frozen Blue Ice can go through airport security. If you are traveling for a very long time, and your ice supply is dwindling, you can try to find ice at the airport in the beverage area. (Of course buy the ice, or a drink or something, just don’t help yourself to the ice.) You can also ask the stewardess for a cup or two of ice while on the airplane.

I put lots of paper towels (which I use as napkins), some plastic utensils, hand sanitizer wipes, Eating Essentials in Food Toteand floss (I hate food stuck in my teeth) in my food tote bag as well. This food tote bag has an outside pocket, so these items go into that pocket.

Long Flight means Lots of FoodYour food tote bag will count as a carry on item, so if you don’t want that, make sure it can go into something else. I do think this is unfair as other people who buy food at the airport can have their carry on luggage, their personal item, AND their bag of food they bought at the airport and board the plane without a problem. That isn’t the case if you bring your food with you into the airport. So, be aware of that annoying fact. The photo on the left shows two food tote bags in my carry on luggage, since I had a long trip planned and I needed lots of food. My suitcase containing my clothes was my checked luggage for that trip.

When flying keep in mind that fresh produce is usually not allowed past customs or agricultural inspection stations. Sometimes these check points happen before you get on the plane, and sometimes they happen after your flight, so know what situation you are getting into so you can better plan what you can take on the plane to eat.

Since my diet is so limited right now, I have to stay in accommodations that have a kitchen or at the very least a kitchenette. Some hotel chains offer such accommodations, such as the Residence Inn by Marriott. I am currently staying in a condo as I type these words.

One other thing to consider, especially if you are relying on public transportation or walking to get places is how far away the grocery store is.  Recently I stayed in San Francisco for a week, and before I booked those accommodations, I needed to find out where the nearest grocery store was since I would be walking to and from the store.

Kayaking with Food Tote
Kayaking with Food Tote

While travel isn’t easy while on an elimination diet or special diet, it is doable. Just pack up your sweet potatoes (or whatever you are eating) and go for it! (Notice the food tote in the center of the kayak 🙂 )


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