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The Airport Shuffle....

If I had to name a new dance for Crohnies I'd dub it the "Airport Shuffle" - it's a tale of maddeningly pacing between food courts hoping, just hoping, that around the next corner or in the next terminal there's a better food option for managing IBD. Unfortunately, in most cases there's only a couple of good, healthy options (if any!!). Often times busy travelers don't have the luxury of chasing after them with tight layovers and busy schedules.

What's a Crohnie traveler to do?!

 Step one: ALWAYS pack plenty of snacks, including significant protein, which is most satiating. Find YOUR protein bar - the one that works with your system and tastes decent enough. It was hard for me to find good bars that are nut-free and soy-free - two of my no-no's. I'm partial to Simply Protein whey protein bars and Oatmega bars. Once you find a bar that works, buy it in bulk if possible so you never run out. Have one with you wherever you go to fight food cravings and avoid the risk of the easy way-out splurge on something that may later cause symptoms.

 Step two: Pack your lunch if possible. For several hours of flying, I typically bring a few protein bars and other small snack items, such as a banana, rice crackers, a small packet of nut butter (e.g., Justin's brand sample-size packet). Other Crohnies may outdo me and show up with a pre-made salad (no dressing) or sandwich tucked away for the right moment. Go with what works for your lifestyle. Just don't expect to get a decent Crohn's friendly meal on the plane. Even if you request a gluten-free meal, as I did once on a flight to New Zealand, you may just get a spicy curry, as I did, and promptly go without.


Step three: When all else fails, snacks are depleted and you MUST eat at an airport restaurant, plan accordingly. Allow enough time in your layover if possible to visit a pre-planned healthy spot in the terminal. All airports have their full list of dining options online these days, with handy downloadable maps. Last weekend in Chicago, my friend and I found a build your own burrito type spot, and I was able to politely ask for a naked bowl of just rice, chicken, lettuce and cheese, which works for me. It was even cheaper than the ready meals! This was in the midst of hot dogs, pizza, burgers, heavy italian and many other Crohn's unfriendly spots. I was grateful and lucky to find something that works. One time in London I stumbled upon a higher-end cocktail bar that also offered smoked salmon and cheese plates, which was wonderful!

 Follow your gut and most of all resist temptation. When jetlagged and overwhelmed with busy schedules and ladened with luggage it's easy to just go for the first food kiosk that you pass by. If you always travel prepared, you'll avoid those moments of weakness!

 Crohnies unite!


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