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Long Flight With Celiac Kiddo - Tips?
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I am flying overseas in 2 weeks with my 5-yr-old and 9-yr-old (who has celiac). The flights combined are 16 hours, so I need to bring a lot of food. Any tips or advice? Is it possible to take an ice pack on a flight? Or does that violate TSA regulations? I was planning to bring peanut butter (I found little "to go" packets that are small enough), gluten-free pretzels, gluten-free granola bars, salami, cheese sticks, crackers, dried fruit, carrots, Chex cereal, and whatever else I can cram into my carry-on....

We have a few layovers, but I'm not sure we will have much time to seek out restaurants that have gluten-free options available. I have 90 minutes in O'Hare and ~120 in Newark. Any recommendations in either place?

Thanks!

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I'd bring things as close to regular food as you can. What about sandwiches on Udi's bread? Or muffins? Hard boiled eggs? Nuts and dried fruit are good options, as are the salami and cheese you mention. I'd think about what sorts of things you'd pack in a kid's lunchbox, leaving out the liquidy stuff.

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Hard-boiled eggs is a great idea. Muffins, too.

Considering we are moving for 5 months, I was thinking of actually packing up their lunch boxes and bringing them with me, fully stocked.

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I have carried ice packs to keep medications (injectibles) refrigerated. They run their explosives strips over them. Just tell them you have them so they don't think you're trying to sneak them on. And make sure they're very official looking packs. I've never been through O'Hare, but if it's anything like LAX 90 minutes probably won't give you a lot of spare time :) and even when you get to Newark, the odds of gluten free in an airport are slim. As one waitress said to me, people who eat here don't care what they eat :lol:

Good luck on your adventure!

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I just returned from an overseas flight. I took basically what you wrote. Just be careful that your final destination allows in the food you have leftover. I had some sliced deli meat and had to toss it on the plane because meat isn't allowed into Japan. I didn't cool my meat or cheese. It was fine. I had a midnight flight and realized I had way more food than I needed. I slept most of the way and only ate my cheese/meat/crackers and bananas as a breakfast before landing. I pre-ordered a gluten-free meal from the airline but didn't eat it either flight. I knew my carry on food was safer no matter what!

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Freeze some of the things beforehand, it'll help keep it cool.

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Freeze some of the things beforehand, it'll help keep it cool.

This - I regularly keep extra muffins in the freezer - they make great short-term ice packs. :)

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The airlines told me you can take ice packs when they are frozen. They will toss it if they have melted into liquid. I brought canned meats on my trip. You may need to select ones with a top that does not need a can opener.

I learned to let them see my cans right away. If you tell them "special diet" they pretty much have to make allowance for you. When they found the cans they had to go through every corner of my carryon. Once they tested my salt and told me that it was salt. (Yeah, I knew that.)

I had trouble getting to my carryon for every meal. There just isn't much room to stand in the aisle and out of the way. At the last meal the attendant told me that they would have to confiscate my carry-on bag. I put it in the overhead bin as usual. I sat down thinking not to worry and did not see them move it. When I grabbed for the bag at the end of the flight, indeed it was gone! I had reached my destination and all of my life sustaining supplements were in the bag! We ran off after someone with a simalar bag. We had difficulty getting back to the plane when it was not our bag. Eventually we convinced security to allow us to go past. They would not let us back on the plane. However, a person held up the bag asking if it was ours. (Whew!) When I opened the bag it contained a whole bag of crayons which belonged to the airline. Hmmm? I am just saying I don't know how to solve this situation, but be aware it can happen. Try to make grabbing things as easy as possible. Plan meals carefully and don't bring more than you need.

All in all I was very glad to have my own safe food!

Diana

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I fly through O'Hare pretty frequently, and I'm not aware of any gluten free options at the airport that are really safe, besides pre-packeged snacks like Kind Bars. Depending on what part of the airport you're in, there may be places like Chili's that make some gluten-free accomodations, but nothing that I'd really trust. And some of the terminals are sadly lacking in anything much beyond a Starbucks or McDonald's.

I've brought ice packs on flights before; they don't show up as a liquid as long as they're frozen. Don't know if you might have trouble with later legs of your flight due to them thawing out. In addition to the stuff you've listed, I've brought noodle bowls and oatmeal packets that just need to have hot water added. Flight attendants have been happy to accomodate, and it can be nice to have hot food on the flight. I've had good luck with requesting gluten-free meals from the airlines, but it really depends on which one you're flying. United and Lufthansa have been good, but I can't speak to any of the others. I always bring extra food, anyway, in case they mess up the meal or I have a flight delay/cancellation. Go Picnic meals are an easy option, too; you can buy them online and I've seen them at airport stores before.

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Oh yes, make sure you pack foof in a bag that can go under the seat in front of you. Overhead bins can be a pain to get into.

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We travel a lot with our kids and Go Picnics are our best resource. We use them on planes and in our day packs. I used to get them online and pay shipping but now Target sells them and that is awesome! We are also dairy free and additive free so there are only three varieties for us but that is plenty.

In airports, we often get oatmeal at Starbuck's.

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Thanks for all the ideas. We decided to try some GoPicnics - it will be fun in any case. I think I won't attempt an ice pack. Last time we changed planes in Newark we had to leave the terminal and go through security again (with a 30 minute connection - it sucked), and I'm pretty sure the ice pack would have melted by then.

Now if I can just survive a 16 hour journey with 2 kids. At least my husband is meeting us there, and he's under orders to have a kitchen fully stocked with gluten-free delights.

Thanks!

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"In airports, we often get oatmeal at Starbuck's."

Starbucks oatmeal isn't gluten free (it's not made of certified gluten-free oats, so it's like eating Quaker or any regular brand, which is usually contaminated with wheat). Better to bring certified gluten free oats, and just ask for some hot water for them when you get your coffee.

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Thanks for all the ideas. We decided to try some GoPicnics - it will be fun in any case. I think I won't attempt an ice pack. Last time we changed planes in Newark we had to leave the terminal and go through security again (with a 30 minute connection - it sucked), and I'm pretty sure the ice pack would have melted by then.

Now if I can just survive a 16 hour journey with 2 kids. At least my husband is meeting us there, and he's under orders to have a kitchen fully stocked with gluten-free delights.

Thanks!

Just a caution with the Go Picnic's: some of the things they include in the boxes are made on shared equipment, so depending on your kid's level of sensitivity, you may need to scrap some of the items. When I used them last year, the Popped potato chips were made on shared equipment, as well as a couple of other items. Everything is clearly labelled, though.

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For ice packs I often bring an empty freezer bag or two and fill it with ice from a soda fountain. 

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I always travel with fruit, eggs and nuts and seeds. Fruit is great because they are pretty destroy safe and have their own container-their skin! And they are complex carbs so it lasts longer in your system.

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