Q: Julea – I am lucky enough to be going to Walt Disney World for 9 days, and thought that I would ship a small package of non-perishable food to our hotel for snacks and breakfasts that are dairy-free. In addition to avoiding dairy, I am also sensitive to soy protein. I wondered if you have any suggestions for things that would be good to include. (see part 2 of Julea’s question on the parks next week!)
A: Alisa – As for packable items, some of my own personal suggestions are:
Oats, instant oatmeal, or other packet-type hot cereal. These are easy to make assuming your room has a coffee maker (to boil water) or microwave.
Dried fruit and nuts. These are not only great for snacking out of hand, but also for adding to your oatmeal or hot cereal for a more substantial breakfast.
Trail Mix. This is basically a combined version of my fruit and nut suggestion. I usually make a big bag of trail mix since my husband powers through it. To his dismay though, I rarely put chocolate in as it can melt when toting it around, especially if you hit a nice sunny day.
Granola. I prefer homemade, but store-bought works too, and is great in a pinch for snacking or breakfast.
Milk alternative (aseptic). These days it is getting easier to find soymilk in many food outlets, but if you don’t do soy, and want to have some “milk” in cereal, coffee, or otherwise, I would bring your own. Several companies, like Pacific Foods, now sell individual servings too, so you can even pack them along if you don’t have access to a refrigerator for storing leftovers.
Granola, snack or energy bars. I pack two per day per person, just in case we are really having trouble finding something decent to eat. So that we don’t get too tired of them (there have been trips where we ended up eating those two per day) I pack a variety and make sure they are all kinds / flavors that I know we enjoy. Though I often make bars for us at home, I opt for pre-packaged when traveling since they are ready to go and will keep much longer. Here is a post on my favorite bars (to date – there are still so many left to trial!)
Nut or seed butter. I have been known to pack along either single servings or full jars (usually plastic) of peanut butter or other nut butter. Finding bread, veggies, and other nut butter friendly delivery methods is usually easy when traveling, but I often have to go above and beyond (or pay much higher prices) to locate good nut butter. If I have little jars of jam I pack those too for my husband. Some company’s like Justin’s, sell convenient single-serving packets of nut butter that pack extremely well and light.
Hard Candy. Sometimes we need a quick energy boost, but don’t want to pay park prices. This keeps us going nicely.
Jerky. Carbohydrates only get us so far. In case we miss a meal or can’t get in somewhere, I like to make sure we have a good source of protein on hand. Plus it packs well and is light. I like to seek out organic jerky if possible, but there are some good brands of vegan jerky too.
Drink Mixes. Once in a while I will pack a protein powder mix and/or some Emergen-C to pop in water if I think the temperatures will be toasty. It helps to get those electrolytes back in. It can be easy to dehydrate at parks when having too much fun!
At home, I am not a big cereal / granola / oatmeal eater first thing in the morning, but I do find for travel it packs and ships the best. I avoid packing or shipping bread, crackers, rice cakes, and of course fresh perishables when traveling, as they simply don’t make the trip. However, if time permits to go to a market (or if the hotel has some out), I always grab some apples, oranges, and bananas to take with me during the days. They make a super-easy and good snack at amusement parks.
Alisa Fleming is the founder of GoDairyFree.org and author of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. In addition to her own dairy-free lifestyle, Alisa has experience in catering to the needs of various special diets, including gluten-free, soy-free, egg-free, vegan, and multiple food allergies.