Tuesday, December 6

Washington D.C. Trip and Food Allergies

Traveling with kids can be challenging, but traveling with kids with food allergies is MUCH more complicated!  I'm usually a complete stress ball a few days before a trip, even though I try to plan so well. I basically try to bring enough food for every meal and every snack for Little Guy, just to make sure we have enough food.  Plus, I always research and call restaurants ahead of time to make sure we have some safe options for eating out. Well, I'm so excited to share our fun trip to Washington D.C. which went well despite the stress of planning!  We met up with family in D.C. over Thanksgiving break, had fun touring the monuments and Smithsonian museums, and we were even able to eat out at a few allergy-friendly restaurants!

Allergy Friendly Travel with Kids in Washington D.C.

When we arrived in Washington D.C., we planned for our big group of family members to meet at the Pavilion Cafe. When I called ahead, they said they could make a sandwich for Little Guy with bread and ham. I wasn't sure about the safety of the bread (sesame free bread is so hard to find), so I actually packed a hot thermos of leftover steak + cauliflower which he ate instead. I was grateful for the Pavilion Cafe at least trying to accommodate him though!

After lunch we took a photo in front of the ice skating rink:

Traveling with kids to Washington D.C.

Had fun at the Natural History Museum (love the impressive elephant):

Traveling with kids to Washington D.C.

And talked with cousins while relaxing in the gem room:
Traveling with kids to Washington D.C.

We also had fun at the Air and Space Museum
Traveling with kids to Washington D.C.

Traveling with kids to Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. and food allergies

And saw so many monuments:
Washington D.C. and food allergies

Washington D.C. and food allergies

There's only one good photo of me with the kids, and of course, one isn't looking and the other is hiding behind me!
Traveling with kids to Washington D.C.

Traveling with kids to Washington D.C.

But what about the FOOD you say?  Well, let's get to the good stuff!!

We had dinner at the Daily Grille on the first night.  I called ahead the week before, and not one, but TWO managers called me back at different times to confirm what they could safely cook for Little Guy.

They brought him out a beautiful fruit and veggie plate.

Traveling with kids to Washington D.C.

And a plain burger and broccoli with all the fixings.
Traveling with kids to Washington D.C.

I also brought along some carb focused snacks (muffins, etc.) and Divvies and Enjoy Life Cookies for DESSERT!!

For lunches and snacks, I took along the handy Easy Lunchbox (affiliate) containers and filled them with sandwiches, SunButter, cereal, etc. This isn't a great photo or an impressive lunch, but I took this quickly at the hotel during craziness of getting ready to sightsee!!

Traveling with kids to Washington D.C.

Speaking of the hotel, I was so grateful that we found an affordable and NICE hotel in D.C. that even offered rooms with a kitchenette! The refrigerator was KEY on this trip to store soymilk, SunButter, yogurt, etc. I highly recommend The Beacon Hotel!!

Washington D.C. and food allergies

The restaurant at The Beacon Hotel was also helpful in cooking safe food for him. The week before our trip, they emailed me a list of foods they could cook safely for him.

Little Guy ate this amazing dairy free, egg free, nut free and sesame free breakfast at the hotel. We asked them to cook his bacon on foil in the oven, and they even brought it out on the foil which made this mama feel even more comfortable with the safety of his food!

allergy friendly restaurants and Washington D.C.

For dinner on our last night in Washington D.C., we drove about 8 minutes away from the hotel to a restaurant I've heard about for awhile now, The Mellow Mushroom in Adams Morgan. Now I wish I had a better photo of the FESTIVE restaurant and YUMMY pizza, but this is all I have to offer!

We've NEVER gone to a pizza place together as a family, and I don't know of many restaurants that can make an allergy friendly pizza. The Mellow Mushroom has Daiya dairy free cheese, vegan crust, and can even make it gluten free if needed.

We ALL loved the pizza there - SUCH good crust!
Traveling with kids to Washington D.C.

On the way home to the Philadelphia area, we made our second trip to One Dish Cuisine (recently named the MOST allergy friendly restaurant in America!).

You can read about our first trip there in my blog post here.

Grammy, Daddy, the kids and I LOVED our second trip to One Dish. Smiles all around.
allergy friendly restaurants and Washington D.C.

Little Guy tried spaghetti and meatballs with garlic toast, and he also ate half of my turkey avocado BLT sandwich!
Traveling with kids to Washington D.C.

He also got to choose ANYTHING he wanted from this bakery display.
allergy friendly restaurants and Washington D.C.

He ate a whoopie pie and frosted cookie, and we took cupcakes home for later!
Traveling with kids to Washington D.C.

We had an amazing time in Washington D.C. overall. I'm hoping this post helps others who are considering traveling there too.  I'm also going to put my reviews on Allergy Eats. Has anyone else found GREAT allergy friendly places to eat in or near D.C.? If so, please share!

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Monday, November 14

Grandma Does It Again: Countdown Checklist to Holiday Hosting with Food Allergies

If you've read Grandma's Guide to Holiday Hosting with Food Allergies, you know that I have a wonderful mom who is an amazing Grandma to our Little Guy with food allergies. Well, Grandma has done it yet again!  She has written a wonderful quick checklist and planning guide for holiday hosting with food allergies. 

Whether you use it as a Thanksgiving Checklist, Christmas Checklist, Hanukkah Checklist or for whatever holiday you celebrate, we hope you find this quick planning checklist helpful!

Food Allergies and the Holidays

Grandma's Countdown Checklist to Holiday Hosting with Food Allergies

by Karen Dalfonso

Grandma needs help!  The family get-togethers are a special challenge because my kitchen needs to be allergy friendly less than 1% of the year and I have a lot of work to do.  This is the season for  balancing 60 years of family tradition, exposure to novel grocery store product items and  recipes, social media entertaining ideas and a desire to make this a memorable SAFE-EATING holiday event for my family!  

This year I’ve decided to add my own allergy friendly planning checklist to my “traditional” holiday meal planning list.  If you are using this checklist, simply cross off items you do not find helpful.

Ten days before:
➤Get updated allergen and safe food list (discuss with person with food allergies or parent of child with food allergies).
➤Plan “simple” appetizers, main dish, side dish, salad and bread.
List ingredients needed.  Remember to cross off list when purchased.
Find designated space for “safe” items and kitchen gear: Paper plates, paper cups, disposable utensils, place mats any cooking utensils such as knives, pans, colander, measuring cups/spoons, flour, sugar, oats, purchased snack or dessert items.

Seven days before:
Buy food staples, freezer, and non-perishable refrigerator items.
Wash serving dishes, platters, silverware, glasses.
Notify guests you appreciate their offer but your menu will not include “extras” as all food items need to be safe.

Two-Four days before:
Clean refrigerator and designate a specific shelf for dairy-free butter/yogurt/milk or other allergy friendly items.
Find specific area for safe snacks.
Scan shelves and remove allergens from shelves if possible or at least arrange in one place in the kitchen.
Clean workspace/countertops.  If possible plan regular meals for the remaining few days that do not contain allergens.
Prepare make-ahead dishes. Save all labels of foods for guest with food allergies to read

One day before:
Complete make-ahead dishes.
Re-read food labels.

Day of dinner:
Give labels to guest with food allergies to review.
➤Consider arranging for fixed seating (especially helpful if small children with food allergies will be present).
Review menu.
Make sure guest knows about safe space in refrigerator, shelves, bin, safe snacks, paper and storage items.
Arrange for allergy-friendly plate to be served first along with  “seconds” plate. If serving buffet style, arrange for the guest with food allergies to get food first (and put extra food to the side for seconds).
➤Enjoy your time with your family!

What other items are on your countdown checklist for holiday hosting?

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