Flying the Friendly Skies

by Jan Gambino Patient Expert

Flying with your refluxers (kids with reflux) this summer? Me too. I am planning ahead so the kids can keep to their eating routines and stay away from reflux trigger foods as much as possible.

In a way, it is probably a positive change that the airlines have stopped serving meals on most flights. The food often spent a long time traveling from the kitchen until it was served miles away on a plane, often with unpleasant results. Now the options include bringing your own food, purchasing a snack on the plane or purchasing food after you have survived the security line and found your shoes again.

I like to bring my own food. Traveling away from home and our kitchen is challenging as we need to eat unfamiliar foods from stores and restaurants, risking some extra heartburn in the process. Plus it saves a great deal of money to bring your own food. Like the Boy Scouts, my motto is: Be Prepared

I should tell you the truth-I am a whole lot better about remembering to bring healthy foods when I am traveling with my children. Recently I took a non stop flight from coast to coast with only a granola bar to eat. Due to severe turbulence, the flight staff could not serve food or drinks so I was hungry and thirsty. My empty water bottle in the bottom of my carry on bag was a stern reminder that I really was not prepared to step onto a long flight! My kids often have reflux symptoms if they are too full or too hungry so we try to keep to a steady routine as much as possible, regardless of the time zone!

So here are my favorite carry on foods for traveling with my kids with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD):

  • Single Serving Snacks: Pretzels, popcorn, raisins, fruit snacks, granola bars, peanut butter and crackers, apple sauce.

  • Cereal: Single serving cereal cups or boxes can be eaten plain or ask for some milk for a great little breakfast.

  • Bag Lunch: Pack the typical foods you would pack if the kids were going to school. Keep in mind that drinks need to be purchased after you go through security.

  • Drinks: We each pack an empty water bottle to fill after we get through security. If your child is on formula, breast milk or similar drink or medication, let the security staff know.

  • Baby Food: Baby food is generally allowed through security in sealed jars or containers.

I always need to sprinkle the PPI beads on applesauce. Thankfully, taking the small containers of applesauce does not seem to be a problem. Once I tried to bring a small jar of jelly through security and it was considered a "gel" just like toothpaste or shampoo. We will never know if the Huckleberry jelly from Montana was delicious on toast!

So before we step on to the plane tomorrow, my kids will fill their backpacks with a selection of foods for any meal or snack between home and our destination. I am sure they will remind me to look for a water fountain so we can have water on the flight too!

Happy travels to you and remember to eat carefully and send me a postcard!

Jan Gambino
Meet Our Writer
Jan Gambino

Jan wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Acid Reflux.