5 Things NOT to do on an Allergy Free Road Trip


5 Things Not to do on an Allergy Free Road Trip - I Say Nomato Nightshade Free Food Blog
Soooo this road trip was a giant allergy failure for us. Luckily (I guess?) Mr. Nomato has an intolerance instead of a life-threatening, epi-pen needing allergy, because our 5 day road trip from Louisiana to Nova Scotia was a DISASTER, food management-wise.

I started with the best of intentions. We were going to do this right, fill our cooler with safe food, and only eat out for dinner, IF that. Lunches were going to be Peanut Butter Banana Wraps. Snacks: fruit, granola bars, carrot sticks. We don’t eat a lot on the road. I was going to take photos, clearly outline everything for the blog, maybe make a Top 5 Tips for Managing Allergies on the Road post… oh yes, I was going to be a good, helpful blogger.

Then I made trail mix. I was 99.99999999% sure it was safe. I checked the ingredient labels obsessively. He’s eaten all the things before. It should have been no problem. Pretzels. M&Ms. Peanuts. Sesame Seeds. I had grand plans of making it a recipe post to show off my brilliance. HA.

I’m sure you can guess where this is going. Reaction City, population: Mr. Nomato.

It was all downhill from there. 5 LONNNNG days in the car, one reaction cresting into the next, while we flailed madly to fix it with symptom managing drugs, gross gas station bathrooms, and trips to the store in hopes that MAYBE it would all be over soon if we just ate the right stuff…

The best laid plans, eh?

So I guess I learned my lesson… and I have a list… Maybe not the list I intended, but a list nonetheless!

Please enjoy my list of the Top 5 Things NOT to do on an Allergy Free Road Trip.

1) Don’t try a new recipe for road snacks. Even if you’re 99.9999999% sure all the ingredients are safe. Don’t risk it. But DO pack lots and lots of healthy snacks!

2) Don’t forget to mention your allergies. In our driving haze, we forget to tell the Subway Sandwich Artiste to use a new knife on Mr. Nomato’s otherwise allergen free sub. Thank goodness we asked the lady at Historical Salem in North Carolina if any of their delicious handmade baked goodies had potatoes in them. Because apparently they make sugar cake with potato yeast! YIKES. Exacerbated crisis averted. DO bring a card with your allergies on them, ready to hand to anyone should you tire of homemade snacks and peanut butter banana wraps and are too road trip brained to remember important things like allergies.

3) Don’t let yourself get dehydrated. DO drink LOTS of water! And I mean LOTS. It can be easy to forget, since you’re just sitting there for hours, but you still need water and it will help keep you awake.

4) Don’t wing it. Everyone knows the key to allergy management is PLANNING, so DO plan all your meals ahead of time, from snacks to beverages to meals, and bring a cooler with some good ice packs.

5) Don’t forget to be adventurous and have fun! Even if you can’t be adventurous with your food choices, you can still be adventurous on your drive! Listening to Gladys (what we call our Google Maps Siri), worked out pretty well for us most of the drive. Occasionally she’d mention a ‘faster’ route, and darn it all, we’d usually take it. Mind you, this took us on a shortcut through the Bronx (ACK!), but it also took us through the GORGEOUS HWY 9 through Maine to New Brunswick. Passing all those rolling hills and green trees on the way home was wonderful. Road trips can be a lot of fun with so many things to see and do along the way, so DO use this opportunity for adventure! 

After this, I know I’m definitely going to follow my own advice – we have a lot more road trips in our future, so we need to get this under control! No more homemade trail mix for us.

See you next week for more I Say Nomato Travels!


Missing your Lunches of the Week? Click here!


About the author


An avid lover of all things East Coast and delicious, Cristina blogs at I Say Nomato, a site dedicated to exploring and inventing allergy-friendly food. When she's not experimenting in the kitchen, she can be found curled up with a good book or planning her next adventure.