Travelling with a food sensitive child.

Old Oct 8th, 2007, 06:51 PM
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Travelling with a food sensitive child.

One of our granddaughters has sensitivities to wheat, dairy and eggs. I am used to dealing with this at home , however I'am scratching my head and wondering how this will be managed in Europe ie Paris, Bruge, Holland, Germany and Italy. As long as I have a kitchen I can manage for suppers , it is when we travelling, that it becomes challenging.
Please , if anyone has travelled with a food sensitive child , I'd appreciate any feedback .
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Old Oct 8th, 2007, 07:10 PM
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What do you mean by "sensitivities?" She can't eat them at all? Gets really sick if she does?

Carry a card around with you with a translation that says what she can't eat and you'll be fine. DON'T use one of those pathetic online translation services like Babelfish - get a "real" translator to translate it for you. Have it translated to French, Dutch, German, and Italian, and take it with you and show it to waiters.
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Old Oct 8th, 2007, 07:16 PM
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There are a few online services that specialize in creating such cards for you. Here are just a couple:
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Old Oct 9th, 2007, 02:18 AM
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Stay in self-catered apartments so you can prepare your own food.
To find apartments, contact the local tourist offices in the places you want to visit. They know about all those private owned places which international booking websites won't list. Google will find the tourist offices' websites easily.

Germany: Supermarkets carry some products that are suitable for people with allergies, but if you want to make sure you get what you need look for those small stores named "Reformhaus". These have got all the special products and well trained staff who know exactly what you'll need.
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Old Oct 9th, 2007, 02:38 AM
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Talk with a dietitian. It is hard to imagine that any restaurant food will not contain: wheat, dairy and eggs. Perhaps she can manage a vegetarian diet. What is she eating now?
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Old Oct 9th, 2007, 03:10 AM
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Likewise in Holland yu will be able to find wheat free foods in Reformwinkels (health food shops).
If you want to eat out is will be more complicated - if you book a restaurant if you can give them a day or two notice they should be able to come up with suitable dishes for her. A lot depends on how sensitve she is - there will always be the risk of slight contamination in a restaurant, but she could ask for vegetables to be free of butter or sauces, likewise ask for fries rather than other sorts of potatoes, or for plain boiled ones, and for the meat/fish to be grilled/steamed and sauce free.
Is it only wheat or Gluten that she has a problem with. Gluten makes it even more complicated.

In Dutch the card should read - Ik ben allergisch voor tarwe, alle zuivelproducten en eieren.
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Old Oct 9th, 2007, 04:39 AM
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I think you will just have to pack a bunch of nonperishable items for her to snack upon and she will just have to know that if she is hungry, that might be all that there is to eat.

I'm assuming she can have beef jerky (I'm sure there is some out there that is better tasting and better for you) and popcorn and nuts.
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Old Oct 9th, 2007, 05:46 AM
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Just wanted to say that if you feel the need to get cards printed, I have personally used the Select wisely site listed by ellenem and was very happy with it. They were very accommodating.
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Old Oct 9th, 2007, 05:50 AM
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I think you could find several dishes that don't contain wheat, dairies and eggs. What about meat, fish, potatoes & rice with a salad and other vegetarian dishes?
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Old Oct 9th, 2007, 06:22 AM
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In response to STCirq questions:
An allergy is when you could for example die if you eat say peanuts,however a sensitivity is that you you react in a much less severe way although it does effect you ie
eczema , brain fog , lowers the immune system response thereby you get colds and flus easier etc,general malaise aches and pains, lowers iron levels and so many more. It differs from person to person.Some of her sensitivities give a delayed reaction and it could surface a day or two later .It just compounds her problems.
If my granddaughter eats wheat she will get eczema very quickly around the eyes,it is itchy and she hates it,she has been the brunt of teasing at school for it .There are so many ramifications from this.
I could go on, however I don't want to bore you . It is simply that if we were desperate we could give her one of the three foods , however we would like to avoid having to do that.

I had no idea that there were cards that we could carry . I thank you and ellenem for sharing that info.
I knew that by posting my question that I would get some good feedback. This is
such a great forum.

I also thank the other people that replied letting me know that I could contact the Tourist Info in the places where we will be visiting for apartments.
I am sure I have been on at least 100 sites looking for apartments and hotels in Paris ,however not thinking of looking at tourist info sites.
I also did not know how to find a health food store in Germany and Holland.
I thank all of you for your replies.

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Old Oct 9th, 2007, 07:11 AM
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I have seen non-gluten bread products and soy milk at supermarkets in Paris, Germany and Italy.

Rice, polenta (corn meal) and potatoes are widely available.

Good luck on finding apartments.

Unfortunately, gnocchi, couscous and spaetzel are made with wheat.

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Old Oct 9th, 2007, 10:16 AM
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Hello merrytimes, in that I have food allergies (dairy and corn) I understand your concerns for your granddaughter.

What I would do once I got the translated cards for the various countries you will be visiting I would take them to Kinko's and have them laminated. Get two cards for each country just in case you lose one.

When in a restaurant have the waitperson take the card to the chef to read.

I say that as I had a problem one time in Italy. Italian friends and I went to a restaurant in N Italy. I decided on a tomato based sauce pasta for my first course. One of my Italian friends spoke to the waiter in Italian to confirm there was not any dairy product in the dish and he assured her there wasn't.

The next day I was quite ill as though I had eaten a dairy product. My friend called the restaurant. It turned out the chef had decided the day before to add cream to the tomato sauce. He had not told our waiter about this. So the waiter thought he was giving us the correct information.

I wish you a beautiful and healthy trip. Travelling with grandchildren is wonderful and makes for special memories.
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Old Oct 9th, 2007, 10:42 AM
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It is always best to get cards, as otherwise your words can get misunderstood/lost in translation.

I got cards for my gluten-sensitive son from...

They do standard cards (just like a credit card so really easy to carry around with you), or you can specify exactly what you want on the card, like certain foods, eg soy sauce which contains wheat. They also have a deal whereby you can get up to 6 cards for a special price.

I have previously responded to several threads about this here on fodors, so if you search using the words celiac, coeliac, gluten-free in Italy, gluten-free in France, some of them should come up, and you will find lots more helpful information there as well from others.

There are excellent pasta brands in Italy which are gluten-free, Salute is one, and while I have not taken my son to Italy yet, I would have no hesitation about taking a pack of G/F pasta to a restaurant, showing them the card, and asking them to cook it for him. I've done it in France, with no problems just understanding and compassion.

Good luck and have a great trip!

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Old Oct 9th, 2007, 10:57 AM
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This is one of the more informative threads on this subject...

There is even a G/F boulangerie in Paris, address to be found in above thread.

With best wishes.
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Old Oct 9th, 2007, 12:07 PM
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Hi again,
You people are all so great! Thanks so much for all the input you are giving.
Where else would you get info like this ?
You have taken away any concern I had.
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Old Oct 10th, 2007, 01:57 AM
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My son (almost 2) is also sensitive to dairy and eggs. I don't know how old your granddaughter is, but for babies and small children there are a lot of products without dairy/eggs and also without wheat. The baby-products of Nutricia and Olvarit clearly state which allergens are in their products. They will state this under "Allergie informatie". Wheat= tarwe, milk=melk, lactose=lactose, egg=ei, dairy=zuivel, cheese=kaas.

The home-brand of the largest supermarket (Albert Heijn) also clearly states all allergens by pictograms. This works very good, even if you don't know the Dutch words.

Health-food stores are to be found under "reformwinkel" of "reformhuis".
A well known chain is "De Natuurwinkel"(
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Old Oct 10th, 2007, 06:37 AM
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Hello TommieG,
My granddaughter Alexandra will be 10 next week.
Thank you for the name of the store brand in Holland. I do remember a bit of Dutch , I would find it challenging trying to read ingredients.
I think I will end printing all the responses I have received and take it with us next year. It is so informative. It sounds like you understand reactions to foods , for example our
granddaughter had something that turned out to have some milk in it on this past weekend(Candadian Thanksgiving ) and the next day her back was red and raw and became infected.Not funny .
Believe me, she is cared for so it is not a neglect .Her body just does not deal with certain foods.
As I stated before we don't want to deny her this trip just because of foods and we see no need to now.They are all so excited about this trip .

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Old Oct 10th, 2007, 07:06 AM
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For times you don't have a kitchen, bring along a small insulated lunchbox-sized cooler. Then you could shop at health food and grocery stores along the way and keep suitable items for her to have on hand. (Not sure if hotels might refreeze an ice pack?)

In this situation I might also pack some standards snacks from home that she knows and likes (appropriate power bars, dried fruits, nuts, etc.)
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Old Oct 12th, 2007, 08:44 PM
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Hello merrytimes,
As a mother of a child with food sensitivities I want to assure you not to worry to much over this. In Europe they're more advanced when it comes to the knowledge of gluten/wheat, dairy, etc..related illnesses. You should get the travel cards in all the languages of the countries you are visiting with a list of your problem foods. You'll find them to be more accomadating then most here in North America.
Enjoy your trip!!
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Old Oct 13th, 2007, 08:08 AM
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This thread has saved a lot of worry for me. My DH was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure in July. We had to cancel a trip in September. Now we have re booked for Paris in March. I was wondering how to convey my high school french into saying that he can only eat low salt items. Just ordered a couple of translation cards. Thanks everyone. We can now keep him healthy and enjoy eating in Paris.

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