As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, when we go out, we go with food. Thought I’d post a quick essentials list for what we look for and what we always have on hand when it’s time to eat.
To date, we’ve never had a problem with bringing in our own food. I know others who have, but in general, employees back away slowly and smile when we list off our daughter’s allergies. Mostly nobody cares or notices. I think as along as nobody is screaming or making a huge mess, most establishments are pretty cool with a kid quietly snacking in a corner. We even clean up before AND after she eats…what’s not to like about a customer who does that?
The “Look Fors”:
1. Quiet corner away from main food service
2. Vinyl chair…easy wipedown.
What we always bring:
3. Wipes (before, after, during…We buy BIIIIIGGG boxes of wipes.)
4. Yumbox. This thing has been a game changer when we go out. Totally shameless plug here. It’s stupid expensive for a lunch box, but you need the right tools for the job, and this thing really works for us. The compartments are sealed when closed, it’s well-weighted so doesn’t tip, and our toddler can open and close it. Where we go, it goes.
5. Emergency kit: 2x auto injectors, anaphylaxis plan cheat sheet (short version to hand to servers etc. when out), antihistamine.
That’s it. Easy peasy. Just do that everywhere and you’re good.
I miss their convenience. I miss the nutritional bang for your buck. I miss having something that can be prepared and ready to consume in a 10-minute window of time (without having to spend an hour prepping and freezing it ahead of time).
Scrambled eggs are friggin’ delicious and fast and kids will eat them when you throw them on a plate with some toast and baby carrots. They are SO easy.
We did not have scrambled eggs tonight.
We had soup. It was made from scratch, from wholesome ingredients. It was lovingly simmered over several hours and then frozen in reasonable portions for a quick weekday reheat.
Obviously, nobody ate it.
They ate toast and pickles and we had cereal an hour later before bed time. Sigh.
We rolled in late from work/school/daycare pick up with low blood sugar and quick tempers. After a weekend full of ear infection fun and a blistering fever virus (that two doctors said was NOT hand foot and mouth disease, but almost definitely WAS hand foot and mouth disease), meal prep did not happen. Consequently, the delicate juggling act of using what we have and making sure food gets ON the table that won’t be thrown OFF the table, kinda fell apart.
On the way home, with two whiney kids, I would have given almost anything to just cruise through a drive thru for deliciously terrible burgers and fries. People would have shoved food in their face and maybe felt gassy and bloated later, but for 20 minutes or so, everyone would have been happy and quiet and eaten something at the same time. If it came with a toy, I’d have another 5-10 minutes of peace to eat my own slop.
Alas, that could not happen. My daughter is old enough now to know when she’s getting the shit end of the stick, and it’s no fun to watch everyone else get the goods while you get apple juice. I’d still have to make her food anyway, AND do the toxic cleanup protocol to purge the kitchen of allergens after everyone else ate theirs.
So, we went home, and I heated up the stupid soup. There were tears (and semi-silent mom cursing) before the bowls even hit the place mats.
Eggs would have hit the spot, but since they’re off the table, I ran through my fast dinner options:
If anyone liked baked beans, I’m sure beans on toast would work, but nobody likes them, including me.
I know I can scramble tofu with turmeric or something, but my kids can detect tofu a mile away and that would go over even worse than soup.
Mac and cheese is deadly for my daughter and my son absolutely rejects all forms of non-tomato sauces anyway. My daughter, of course, won’t eat any tomato-based sauces, so spaghetti is no help.
Hot dogs…hot dogs work…but they didn’t make it back onto the grocery list.
As a parent, you make a lot of choices that are purely based on getting through the moment…so, toast and pickles and cereal it was. The soup was kind of gross anyway.