Traveling with a child who can only eat pureed foods
One of the best parts of travel in my opinion is food. I’ve loved sampling the cuisine of the various places I’ve visited over the years. It’s a key part of the experience and it’s been known to dictate my schedule while traveling.
How ironic is it then that food can also be one of the most stressful things about travel when you have a special needs child? You could be faced with things from dietary challenges that make it next to impossible to find appropriate foods to oral motor challenges that make the act of eating the food that’s readily available difficult. Or those challenges could have resulted in a gastrostomy tube, which is a situation I can only imagine comes with its own set of logistical nightmares when traveling.
For our family, we’re faced with those aforementioned oral motor challenges, which means that it’s tough for our little guy to chew, among other things, and it requires that his food be in a pureed state. At home, we put much of his food in a blender. But traveling with a blender of course isn’t all that practical. I imagine that some restaurants would be happy to blend up a meal for you, but that’s not something we can count on every step of the way when traveling.
Our simple solution is a combination of stage 3 baby food that we’ve either packed or purchased at our destination and whatever happens to be the most calorie-dense liquid we can get our hands on at any given meal time. You know, the things that make dishes taste extra delicious… oils, butter, creams, etc. The things we all wish we could add to our meals in a limitless fashion! The end result isn’t a meal that’s incredibly nutritious, but it fulfills our needs in situations where what’s readily available doesn’t always work for our special needs son.
I’m sure we’re not alone in having to get a little creative in feeding a child with mealtime challenges while traveling, so I’d love to hear from others in the comments section who have come up with their own solutions.