When we first started Arthur on the GAPS diet I was really worried about how we’d manage to feed him on the road. Traveling with kids can be challenging enough, without having to worry about one kid in particular who can’t just eat anything at a moment’s notice.
If you saw my post on Healthy Traveling Snacks Made Easy you know that I typically come well prepared for both the kids & myself. I loathe fast food but in a pinch, even we will eat it on the road (gasp!), except for Arthur.
Obviously there are times you simply cannot prepare for every road trip, every time. Sometimes you have to eat out. Having Arthur has changed a lot of that for us because now, a simple night eating out means we have to prepare all of his food at home first. A two day road trip means we pack a cooler or mini fridge with two days worth of food (& usually some extras for the day we’ve arrived at our destination). If we’re going to be away from the house for more than a day or two I will also bring his supplements & probiotics.
This can seem really daunting if the idea of meal planning or packing food is overwhelming so hopefully you can gain some confidence & great ideas from these tips!
Tips for Traveling While on GAPS
Arthur sits in his Kelty backpack, having a snack, on a hike through the Rocky Mountain National Park. Even while camping for a week in Colorado we were able to accommodate his diet!
I know. This sounds like a no brainer but really – plan. How many stops are you taking along your trip? We usually pack one lunch box for Arthur, for taking into restaurants, but then also have a cooler packed with containers holding extra food. If he eats all of the contents of his lunch box then we can easily refill it. When planning his meals we usually put into our heads – ok, he needs three meals (breakfast, lunch & dinner) per day on the road & since he can now have apples, grapes & peaches we will bring those for ‘snacks’. Since starting GAPS we have only traveled to places where we know we’ll be able to cook so that also figures into our planning. We try & bring raw meats, eggs & veggies that we know we’ll be able to cook for at least the first day into our arrival. There’s nothing worse than arriving somewhere & having to rush out immediately to buy more fresh food. Oh & butter. We bring lots of butter.
Get Your Gear
I don’t want you to think you have to spend a small fortune to be able to travel on GAPS. Honestly, a reusable grocery bag, an ice chest, some cold packs & some left over plastic Tupperware or mason jars will probably do the trick. But I have definitely found things that help us out immensely. So, if you’re looking to gear up or stream line, hopefully this will help you out.
PlanetBox Currently, Arthur does not have his own PB but during the summer months we used my oldest son’s box. It is perfect for carrying into restaurants (as opposed to a monster size cooler) plus it has the separate compartments for his foods. If you pack it in advance & put the box in the fridge, it stays cold for hours! But the carrying bag also has a spot for a cold pack, sip cup or water bottle & extra snack. I haven’t found a more perfect lunch box!
Whynter Fridge/Freezer Ok, so this is heavy duty. Obviously, you don’t need this for short trips around town or even a weekend trip away. But this is what we use when we are away camping for a week. If you’re in the market for something like this, we have this one & like it.
The Sili Squeeze Travel food pouches are super popular now but with Arthur, I can’t trust just any old pouch food. These squeeze pouches are super great for traveling (even in the car) or just around the house. Arthur loves his because it’s easy to use & I love it because it doesn’t drip or leak everywhere! Perfect for new babies, if you’re making your own purees or older babies/kids for smoothies! Arthur loves my Kefir & Kale Smoothie in his Sili Squeeze!
Seek Out Places with Kitchens
When we travel with Arthur it’s fine to take a day or two’s worth of cooked food but anything longer than that would be risky. When we travel to visit our families homes I usual ask or make a mental note of things they have I can use. If there’s something I will be needing, I make sure & bring it. I’m not afraid to show up somewhere with my cooler of mason jars & load a fridge with several questionable contents! If I’m going to be somewhere long enough & know I’ll have time, I even take my own kefir grains & raw milk to make kefir.
This summer when I met my best girlfriends in TN for a week, we had a cabin with a fully stocked kitchen! They even had TWO crockpots! Don’t be afraid (or just aware) that some places like that will stock their kitchens way beyond what you would expect! I ended up bringing way too much on the trip for fear I might need some kitchen accessory when their kitchen was so extensively stocked I should have just thought to ask what they had!
Pack the Right Food
So my husband & I have become quite the expert food packers. At first it seemed overwhelming. You need something packable, which means portable, which means you can’t exactly ladle a toddler soup or have him eat a pound of ground beef in a restaurant. Think ‘hand held’ & you’ll be set! The other thing I like to keep in mind when packing a lunch for Arthur is – it doesn’t have to be perfect. Especially if it’s ONE meal away from the house. As long as he has food that his body can tolerate, I don’t get caught up in making it perfect.
Some of our go to foods to pack:
Lightly steamed cut up veggies (don’t be afraid of frozen here!)
Ground beef patties (add whatever you want here, diced veg, shredded zucchini!)
Sliced chicken breast
Almond or coconut flour pancakes
One of the things I really felt in the beginning of our GAPS journey was that it would keep us from doing the things we were used to. Traveling. An occasion meal out. I really want you to know – that isn’t the case. You CAN do anything you decide to & with some extra planning & prep you can make it happen smoothly & hassle free. Even if your entire family is following the GAPS diet & you couldn’t possibly enter a restaurant & order anything from the menu. You could still pack a lovely, nutritious lunch for everyone to enjoy & have an adventure picnicing at the park! Be brave. Be adventurous & trust yourself that it’s possible!
What are your best tips & tricks for traveling with your GAPS family?