As a new mom, I love the insight, parenting tips and ideas I get from blogs—and I especially love to work with bloggers. After attending the Reviewer’s Retreat at Great Wolf Lodge Concord, PA-based mom-blogger, Gina Badalaty, wrote about her children’s dining experience on her blog, Mom-Blog.com. I asked her to share her story with you.
Gina Badalaty blogs about parenting, raising children with disabilities and advocating for special needs families at Mom-Blog.com. She lives in PA with her husband and 2 beautiful daughters, and a cat that thinks he's a dog.
Tips for Traveling with Kids with Allergies
My children have allergies. Specifically, their diets need to be gluten- and casein-free, which means they can’t have dairy or any kind of wheat products. When we travel, we have to be careful not just to avoid glutens, but also to make sure the food they eat is not cross-contaminated. They can’t even eat something that has been on the same grill as food filled with glutens.
Going on vacation can be challenging! As you can imagine, this means that vacationing takes extra work on our part, so our favorite trips are to resorts that help make this easier. Great Wolf Lodge is a place we really enjoy. The resort’s chef will personally talk with you and discuss your needs for a gluten-free menu. My kids love that at Great Wolf Lodge they can eat food they love, and we are happy that everything can be made to their health requirements. Our meals are even cooked separately!
We’ve learned a lot along the way. Here are a few of my top tips for traveling families whose children have special diet restrictions and food allergies:
Do your homework beforehand.
There are dozens of apps that tell you where the gluten-free restaurants are, but it’s up to you to do your own due diligence. We once went to a park that advertised itself as being dairy- and gluten-free, and when we got there, we discovered that was not the case. Spend time on your destination’s website. Call the resort or attraction. We were pleasantly surprised by how accommodating and helpful the staff at Great Wolf Lodge was—it made our vacation less stressful!
Buy fresh produce along the way.
My children eat tons of fruit and vegetables because they are naturally allergen-free and will do in a pinch! We try to buy organic, and during family road trips, when we drive by a local farm stand, we make a stop.
Take advantage of resort amenities.
At Great Wolf Lodge, each suite has a refrigerator and a microwave. We often travel with our own snacks and this is a great way for us to keep fruit fresh during our stay. Gluten-free bagels are easy to carry and eat in the car, as well as serve as late-night snacks!
Talk to the staff.
It is always a good idea to talk to the chef. Many restaurants and resorts, like Great Wolf Lodge, invite you to talk to the chef specifically about your family’s dietary needs and allergies. You can share your family’s needs and he or she can detail what steps they can take to prepare food that best suits your child.