I won’t lie. Since my gastroparesis diagnosis I’ve had to travel three times and I find traveling very stressful. How am I going to manage my food? My eating schedule? What if I get sick? I’m lucky because two of those trips-including this past weekend-have been to family where I have an understanding for my needs and access to a kitchen. I’m at an age now where I’m not shy about informing people of my needs. This is first and foremost a gastroparesis recipe blog but it’s also a tool for adapting to a new way of life. If you don’t inform the people around you of your needs (diet, schedule, exercise) you can’t expect them to automatically understand what those needs are. These are some practical tips for traveling as well as a few food ideas that will integrate into family meals.
Travel with as much as you need and leave nothing to chance. Unfortunately, airport security doesn’t make it easy and I’ve had to check a bag each time. Frankly, I could research what is allowed through security but I prefer to draw as little attention to myself when flying as possible.
I travel with my smoothie ingredients (dry) all pre-measured and individually bagged, a Cuisinart stick blender with its measuring/blending cup, liquid vitamins and supplements in a Ziploc bag with a freezer pack, my lunch box, all the baby food fruit I’ll need for yogurt, cans or envelopes of water packed tuna, pita bread (because believe it or not there are parts of the U.S. where it’s not easy to find) and Boost nutrition drinks. I always wrap one or two bottles of Boost in bubble wrap and place them in a Ziploc bag in the outside pocket of my suitcase for easy access upon landing. They have never said no to me at any Starbucks when I’ve asked for a cup of ice for my nutrition drink.
My shopping list for perishables is completed before I even leave the house for the airport and we shop on the way to our final destination. Good traveling snacks for carry-on are envelopes of Carnation Instant Breakfast (milk is available in any airport past the security line), animal crackers, mini pretzels, graham crackers, poptarts and I’m never without my Gin-Gins ginger hard candies.
The one occasion we were traveling to a hotel my husband booked us a room with a refrigerator and microwave and I was fortunate enough to have family arriving ahead of us who shopped for my perishables. If you are unable to get a room with a refrigerator most hotels will hold perishables/medications for you if they are able…just make sure you call ahead to confirm. Above and beyond what I pack normally I included disposable cutlery, plates and cups for the room.
While away this past weekend I packed a snack and lunch each day. My two GP friendly protein sources at dinner are chicken and fish. I was in North Carolina about 3 hours from the nearest ocean and was still able to find beautiful fresh fish (turbot fillets which are part of the flounder family). The family was already having mashed potatoes with dinner and I simply asked for my serving before the butter was added. A defrosted box of chopped spinach went along with them.
Perfectly Cooked Fillets of Fish
The rule for fish is 10 minutes per inch of thickness at 400 degrees. Place fillets on a sprayed baking sheet. Season as desired. Coat with cracker, bread or panko crumbs and spray with cooking spray. Roast until fish flakes easily and breading is golden brown.
My brother is a master griller and bbq’d bone in/skin on chicken breast for me on my next night. A microwaved sweet potato with spinach rounded out the meal. Neither of these dinners made a huge mess or inconvenienced my hosts terribly. We ate much earlier than they usually do so that I could go for a walk after dinner.
My latest mottos are “Nothing tastes as good as being well feels”…especially when away from home and “GP doesn’t take a vacation just because you do”. I politely declined wine, beer, shakes at Chik-fil-a and beautiful red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting…but the ginger Moravian Cookies were delicious…crisp, sweet, spicy and GP friendly at 3 grams of fat and <1 gram of fiber per 12 cookies. Definitely something to remember for the holidays!