Hello! Welcome to Beyond Soy!
A couple of weeks ago, we wrote about our plan to take a vacation flying standby, specifically how we were going to make sure Ashley could eat soy-free when eating airport and airplane food. Our vacation was a success—we went to the UK for about a week and Ashley successfully ate soy-free the whole time!
Our flight to the UK was on a military Space A flight. This means the flight didn't have the normal services you think of on an international flight (no beverage service and no hot meal). We both got a boxed meal and that was it. Our boxed meal contained a sandwich, bag of chips, granola bar, bottle of water, and a can of coke. As we usually do in situations like this, we combined our meals: Ashley ate the soy-free items (namely the chips and the coke) and I ate the rest. We also had plenty of soy-free snacks (mainly larabars) to supplement the meal. These were great when we were waiting for our flight to leave and were good to have as extra food on the plane.
As we discussed last week, once we got to the UK, we found it pretty easy to eat soy-free. Since we had access to plenty of grocery stores, we didn’t need to dip into our soy-free snacks during our vacation, but they definitely came out again on our way home. Our flight home was on a commercial airplane, but we booked our seats less than 24 hours ahead of time. As a result, we couldn't specify a gluten-free meal for Ashley (airlines don't offer soy-free meals, but gluten-free is a great option to get the most soy-free food). We did get a hot meal on this flight, and just like we did on our flight to the UK, we combined our meals. But, this time nothing was soy-free. I felt so bad! I ate both our meals since Ashley couldn’t safely eat any of it. We knew there was a good probability of this happening, so we made sure that our soy-free snacks were available and we even packed some soy-free treats from the UK (including some soy-free cookies!) for Ashley. On the airplane they also passed out ice cream as a snack, but it too contained soy (chocolate chunks with soy lecithin). Finally, toward the end of the flight they gave out some small sandwiches as a snack that happened to be soy-free! Since I had eaten all the other in-flight food, Ashley ate both of our sandwiches.
Ashley was able to eat soy-free on both flights, but it wasn't without its difficulties. Every time food was passed out, we looked it over together and made a decision. Since we had plenty of backup snacks and we knew what we were getting into, we didn’t feel like we had to make any compromising decisions. One thing we could improve is to order different meals on the airplane. We were given the option of chicken or pasta and we both chose chicken. Since the chicken meal contained soy, Ashley couldn’t eat anything. If we had ordered one pasta meal and one chicken meal there is a chance that the pasta would have been soy-free and she could have eaten it.
Eating in uncertain situations like this can be challenging and shouldn't be underestimated, but can be handled with the right preparation. Remember to bring plenty of backup snacks and make a plan to ensure you have soy-free food during your travels!