Next weekend our family will once again travel to the Annual Family Cafe Disabilities conference. We make sure to go there every year in order to reconnect with other families of special needs and learn more information to help us in our daily lives. This event is truly an experience for our family. It allows us a whole weekend where we can immerse ourselves with other families and get no judgement from anyone. No matter how many meltdowns, stimming sessions, sensory overloads, anxiety attacks, or just plain hyperactive moments we have, we are only met with helping and loving arms. Every year I go through the motions of ensuring that we have all the things we need to make the weekend successful. I have gotten into this ritual of making a list and checking it like 10 times before we leave to go. There are medications, sensory tools, snacks, cool cloths(my son does not sweat), entertainment, as well as mommy de-stress items. This year will be different however, and I am spinning dizzy in my head over just what exactly my plan will be.
This is the first year that I must plan my entire food menu for the weekend. There will only be the usual restaurants in the area and snack items for sale, but for me, those will remain largely at bay. When you must adhere to the many Color Me Sensible diets and steer away from allergens, convenience food becomes a struggle and mostly off limits. Yes there are the occasional snip it of locations that sell fresh fruit or veggies that will satisfy for a moment a starving guest, but ultimately, it can be down right depressing. So I must start my plan on what I will pack that will be convenient and healthy for me, while not causing too much trouble for myself or my family. I don’t want them to feel like they are isolating me, but I also don’t want them to miss out on those amazing burgers that I know exist in Old Town. So as I walk down the aisles of our grocery store, I contemplate just how I am going to make this next weekend work.
While contemplating this I realized I needed to locate the following items in order to make sure I was going to be covered.
1. Fruit Cups that do not contain citrus (this leaves me with applesauce and pears, 🙂 )
2. Allergen friendly Snack Bars (this becomes Gluten and Dairy Free Fig Bars, delicious & fiber 🙂 )
3. Snack Options (I land on Popcorn Cakes, making sure they do not have Dairy 🙂 )
4. Allergen Friendly Granola (I pick one that happens to have quinoa in it, add it to non dairy yogurt and it becomes an easy parfait 🙂 )
5. Canned tuna (To make tuna allergen friendly salad to take with me, nomnomnom 🙂 )
6. Gluten Free Tortillas (This will house my nummy tuna salad and breakfast burrito 😉 )
7. Almonds (my son is obsessed with these, it is a sensory friendly snack for him)
8. Cheddar Fish Crackers (let’s face it, this could quite possibly be the biggest go to for sensory moms.. it is hard to find a kid who does not enjoy snacking on these, my son could eat them by the bucket-loads)
9. Cereal Grain Bars (these are quite possibly my favorite go to for my son to snack on. He absolutely loves them and they are so much healthier to snack on then just chips or gummies)
After getting these initial items I know that once we arrive in Orlando, we will be visiting a grocery store in order to acquire more items for the weekend.
This next weekend is all about planning. Knowing that the high chance that I will be on my own for the whole weekend as far as food goes, makes me a little nervous. However, I will get through this weekend and I will have all the energy in the world. I figured I would come up with some options for me to eat for the weekend and just kinda work my way through it. So here is what I kinda came up with.. You know, in a perfect scenario.
Gluten Free Scones
Gluten Free Muffins
Lunch & Dinner
Veggies & Hummus
Fruit Strap Bars
Like i said, this is a plan for a perfect scenario, but ultimately it is gonna be a flexing roller coaster not knowing what may happen. Here are my suggestions for packing and planning ahead with sensory diets and diet restrictions.
- Do your research. Knowing where you are staying look at the menus for the restaurants in the area and see which of them can cater to your dietary needs.
- Pack snacks that you can safely eat. Always make sure to pack some snack and food items that you know are safe and in your dietary guidelines. This ensures that you will have at least something to eat in case there are any hiccups in your dining plans.
- Know the area. Look up the surrounding area to also see what specialty food stores are in the area that you can acquire food from as needed. I always make sure that I know what grocery stores are in the area and what types of specialty foods they hold.
- Check out the amenities. I make sure ahead of time that I know what kind of amenities that the hotel room I am staying in has. Will there be a fridge or microwave in the room? This can make a big difference in your dietary planning for a getaway.
- Make checklists. Planning ahead and making checklist of items that you are planning on bringing and what you plan on eating helps to ensure that you do not leave anything behind. It may seem tedious, but in the Color Me Sensible Diet world, planning is crucial.
Don’t let your diet rule your world to be afraid to leave the comfort of your own home. It is possible to see the world no matter what the dietary restrictions may be. Just make sure you take it one step at a time and plan ahead.
Go out and see the world !!! and make sure to make it
Delicious & Nutritious!