This post is sponsored by FreeYumm. All opinions are my own.
I have been lucky as a mom to have two kids who do not have any food allergies or major food sensitivities. Both are a growing concern for so many families. I know all too well from friends how prevalent allergies have become and just how hard it can be to navigate the issues presented by them on a daily basis.
Travel and Food Allergies
As a traveler, however, I rarely really thought much about food allergies. Because my kids don’t have them, it never crossed my mind to be bothered by peanuts served on a plane. I have never had the challenge of going to a restaurant trying to explain to the waiter in another language what my kids can eat so they don’t end up in the hospital.
In the last couple of years, I have become much more aware of how we all really should be sensitive to allergy issues, particularly during travel. After all, none of us want an allergy emergency at 36,000 feet in a small enclosed flying metal tube. Emergency landings aren’t good for anyone’s travel plans.
The message really hit home for me when I was pregnant with my second child. I had a cross-country plane flight at 7 months pregnant and naturally packed some food since I knew I’d get hungry. I usually pack a ham and cheese sandwich, but since many doctors recommend avoiding deli meat during pregnancy, I packed my go-to pregnancy alternative instead – a peanut butter sandwich.
When we boarded the flight, the flight attendant announced that there was a passenger with a severe allergy on board. She told us that no nuts would be served in flight and asked that we all please refrain from eating nut products during the flight as well. I suddenly found myself facing a six hour flight pregnant with not much to safely eat. This was the first moment when I realized I needed to make a few more accommodations and plan a bit more, both for myself and for others. (Luckily, a very kind flight attendant took pity on me and brought me some free snacks, but lesson learned.)
Allergy Safe Travel Snacks
As I’ve become more aware of food allergies, I’m now always on the lookout for safe, tasty, and easily packable alternatives for myself and my kids for our frequent flight adventures. A new line of allergy-friendly snack products made by a mom-owned Canadian company called FreeYumm just entered the US market that certainly checks all these boxes.
FreeYumm makes both cookies and bars in a variety of different flavors using real and natural ingredients and no refined sugars or corn syrup. FreeYumm’s products are free of all the major 8+ most common food allergens: eggs, milk (all dairy), peanuts, tree nuts, wheat/gluten, soy, fish, and shellfish. They are also sulfite-free and contain no sesame.
FreeYumm manufactures its products in a dedicated bakery to eliminate the risk of cross contamination. The cookies and bars are individually wrapped so they are ideal for travel.
My 9 year old tried every flavor variety FreeYumm makes in a taste test before our recent cross-country flight to North Carolina to see her grandparents. She’s a huge chocolate fan, so I wasn’t surprised to hear that the double chocolate cookies were her favorite. I personally really liked the banana maple cookies and the chocolate chip oat bars. The array of flavor varieties – from raspberry chia bars to ginger cookies – means there is something that will work for a wide range of taste buds.
I love that the FreeYumm bars and cookies are also safe treats for our everyday lives as well. My son’s preschool is nut-free and he has a classmate with several additional food restrictions, and I always struggle with what to bring for birthdays and celebrations. Problem solved – we’ll be taking FreeYumm cookies next time.
For my fellow Northern Californians, FreeYumm products are now available in quite a few local retailers including: Mollie Stones, Grand Central Market, Cal-Mart Super, Lunardi’s, Mill Valley Market, Bianchini’s Market, and Keith’s Family Food Centre. Check out other store locations on FreeYumm’s store locator.
Or save the trip and have Amazon.com deliver FreeYumm wherever you are. For a limited time, use promo code FYIP2020 to get 20% off your first FreeYumm order. (And don’t miss the giveaway at the end of this post for the chance to win some free samples!)
Food Allergy Travel Tips
So many other experienced travelers I know have children with food allergies, so I’ve assembled their best tips below to help all travelers – ones with allergies and even those without! I have also linked to a lot of additional resources that I found very eye-opening and informative from fellow frequent travelers who deal with these issues regularly.
If you are someone you are traveling with has a food allergy, check out these tips:
- Always travel with all potentially needed medications (Benadryl, EpiPens, etc.) in carry-on bags. If you are forced to check your bag due to overhead bin space issues, remove these items before you do!
- Pack plenty of allergy-friendly snacks you can turn to in a pinch.
- Research restaurants and grocery stores before you trip at your destination so you can know where to find food that will be safe.
- Consider some vacations in destinations known for handling food allergies well so you don’t have to worry as much. Disney is the gold standard in accommodating all kinds of special food needs, but I have noticed so many places taking the allergy issue more seriously in recent years.
- If you are traveling somewhere where you aren’t fluent in the language, pack allergy translation cards to communicate with wait staff and chefs.
- If you are flying, call the airline in advance. Different airlines have different policies about handling allergies – whether you can board early and wipe down seats, whether they will create a nut-free zone near you, etc.
For more information on travel with food allergies, visit:
- Traveling with Food Allergies: Challenging but Not Impossible from Kids Are A Trip
- Tips for Traveling with Children with Life-Threatening Food Allergies from Travel Mamas
- Have Food Allergies, Will Travel from Carpe Travel
- Tips for Traveling with Allergies from Vacation Mavens podcast
- Food Allergy Travel Tips from Whisky + Sunshine
And for the rest of us — those of us who don’t have allergies — consider the following:
- Pack snacks that won’t cause a problem for other travelers in your vicinity who might have food allergies. Leave my infamous PB&J at home.
- If a flight attendant or a tour guide asks you to refrain from eating a snack to accommodate someone with food allergies, do it. I honestly can’t believe how many times I told the story about my flight with the peanut butter sandwich and someone told me I just should have eaten it anyway. No thanks! Be considerate. The temporary discomfort you might experience being a bit hungry is far outweighed by the risk you might be posing to others.
FreeYumm Giveaway #ShareTheYumm
Enter to win FreeYumm products for your family to try – valued at approximately $50.
Tuesday 29th of January 2019
Thanks for these awesime tips, and for caring even though you don’t have kids with allergies! We love FreeYumm too :) Corinna | Friendly Pantry
Monday 16th of July 2018
Amazing post!!! These are some remarkable guidelines; after all, one should always be careful as when the child has some sort of allergies.Thanks for including so many helpful links!
Sunday 1st of July 2018
I would like to try FreeYumm Honey Apple Oat Bars the most.
Wednesday 27th of June 2018
Great post. It is really dangerous to travel when you are highly allergic to certain foods such as nuts or seafood. Your tips on this post is greatly appreciated. Thank you so much.
Sunday 24th of June 2018
double chocolate cookies sound good to me