Saturday, June 16, 2012

Traveling with Blenderized Food

All my sealed food (so far) ready for a trip to Texas!!
So, if you've ever thought that maybe I'm a genius, you suspicions just might be confirmed through this post!  (I'm humble, I know...)

We're traveling to Texas at the end of this month and ever since our vacation was scheduled, we've been talking about how to handle food for Sadie while we're not at home.  She can only eat purees and still gets at least 1 tube feeding a day.  We did consider bringing along the blender, since we'll be in a condo and have a full kitchen.  But then we sort of agreed that we'd just buy the packaged baby food when we get there...Sadie can eat it, but it can also be watered down and put through her tube if necessary.  The thing is, that packaged food is EXPENSIVE!!  Sadie' probably can eat 2 packets at a time, at $1.29 each, 5 times a day?!!!

No thank you.

I'm not very good at math, but I can figure out that it'd be cheaper to bring our own how do we do that?  I got my little Mommy-brain wheels turning and I was thinking that I need a way to package our homemade food the way the store packages their food so that it's preserved and we can take it out with us in the diaper bag all day, etc.

And then it hit me!  Food Saver machine!

We don't have one of these, but my neighbor does, so I started asking her questions.  She told me sure it'll keep in the fridge for 5 or 6 days, and it'll be fine for a few hours in the diaper bag!  Excellent.  So, we borrowed hers (although, after this, now I want my own!!)  If after this, you think this might be a good investment, I priced them at Target around $75 and the bags are about $20 for like a million of them.  Actually, not a million, but it's basically a big roll (the one I bought is 20ft long) and you can cut the bags to whatever size you need.

Here's what a Food Saver looks like.  It's small and easy to store.

These are the bags I bought.  I think they were like $17.99 or something at Target.
So, the plan is to freeze my purees (or tube food) in ice cube trays like I usually do.  Then, I can vacuum seal the cubes in single-Sadie-serving sizes (5-7 ounces), and throw them back into the freezer.  Then what we'll do is put all the vacuum sealed frozen baggies in our suitcase, and check them on the plane that way.  When we get there they'll probably be partially thawed, but that won't matter.  We have a fridge and they'll be eaten within a week anyway, so we'll just make sure we get them in the fridge as soon as we arrive.  Then each morning as we're packing up to go out for the day, I'll throw however many we need in Sadie's insulated lunch bags with ice packs (which I can also make with the food saver!) and we'll be good for the day!!

This is all the food I made ahead of time and froze into ice cube trays.

Then I cut the Food Saver bag to the size I wanted

I sealed one end of the bag prior to filling it...this takes about 15 seconds.

I put the desired amount of cubes into the bag and then hit the vacuum and seal button.  It sucks all the air out and seals it for me. 
 This obviously takes some planning ahead.  And we may not actually bring the entire amount that we'll need for our trip, but so far I have 21 meals vacuum sealed and ready to go!  I also did a little experiment.  I left one of the vacuum sealed packets out on the counter for 4-6 hours to see what would happen.  After all, it's going to be in my suitcase for that long, right?  There ended up being a little air, because when the food defrosted and changed shape, there was extra room in the bag.  So, then I put it in the fridge for 2 days after leaving it out on the counter.  And when I opened it and gave it to Sadie it smelled fine and she seemed to like it!  ...and I used yogurt, so you know if yogurt can handle that, anything can!!

I also called TSA (THAT was an adventure in and of itself) because I was worried that I was going to go through all this work and then have them open my suitcase and throw it all out anyway...and then we'd be back where we started, buying expensive packaged food!  The lady on the phone wasn't immensely helpful, but she did tell me that I could put a cooler in my suitcase and that I might want to do that to try to keep them as cool/frozen as possible while traveling.  She also told me that certain foods will trigger security, even in checked bags, and if that happens they'll have to open my suitcase.  I asked her if that happens if they'll throw out the food in question...of course she didn't know.  Why would I think that TSA could be helpful???

So, there you have genius idea.  I will be back to let you know if it works, and how it goes.  Has anybody else done something similar when traveling?  Or have you done something different that worked?  I'd love to hear about your adventures with tube food!!


  1. i would get a script from pediatrics and put one copy in plastic in the cooler on top of food so the can see it's medical need