Months ago my husband and I started talking about planning a summer vacation. We wanted to do something fun with the boys that wouldn't cost too much, but would still be lots of fun for them. We decided on camping and canoeing with his brother's family. They camp and canoe often (and we don't) so they were an awesome resource for knowing where to go, what to take, etc.
Once we began to plan, as the parent of a child with food allergies, the first things on my mind were:
- How close is the nearest town/grocery store?
- How close is the nearest hospital?
- What would be the plan if the worst case (an allergic emergency) occurred?
When I realized the nearest town and hospital was nearly 30 miles away, I began to panic. Panic really isn't the right word, I guess. But my anxiety skyrocketed. I wanted to have a peaceful, relaxing trip without driving everyone else crazy. So, as the planner that I am, I began making lists.
Luckily, my sister-in-law had a really great list of items to bring from their previous trips. She was also familiar with the area, and happens to be an RN, which made me feel better about being far from a hospital. And...as the wonderful person she is, she planned to bring mostly food items not containing milk to help limit the possibility for contamination.
I knew I needed to plan and prep meals ahead of time, to be sure we had plenty of meals and snacks that all of us could eat at the camp site, but we also planned to canoe during two of the days. The canoe trips were 11 miles each and would take about 4-6 hours. Meaning we would have to pack lunches to take out with us.
We agreed that it would be easiest for each family to make our own breakfasts and lunches, and to each make two dinners that we could share. She provided me with a list of ingredients (with pictures!) so that I could review the labels in advance. I really didn't want her to have to go out of her way to accommodate us, but she was great and made me feel SO much better about everything.
Food prep worked seamlessly and was a breeze due in part to the enclosed trailer we had with us. We were able to pack everything in it for the trip, then once we unloaded it, we set up a table and kept the coolers inside so that all of our food was in one place and we didn't have to get everything out for each individual meal.
We also had a water jug, hand soap and paper towels easily accessible at all times for everyone to wash up. This worked out very well with the kiddos, even though the majority of our foods were milk-free and they wouldn't really have had to wash up as diligently (even though it's a good idea for hygiene's sake!).
I'll be sharing my meal lists and how I prepped everything in my next post, so check out Part 2!