Not to startle you, but tree nut allergies have officially hit fever pitch, especially among kids. Experts conclude that allergic reactions to nuts have tripled in American kids, especially during the past few decades, meaning we -as parents- need to be as vigilant as ever.
And yes, revamping their lunchboxes is one way to deal with this issue, but what happens when it’s time to step foot into a foreign country where nuts are served almost daily, and you don’t know the language? Well, if Greece is next on your family’s bucket list, these are foolproof tips will keep you from going… nuts over nuts (pun intended!).
COMMUNICATE! COMMUNICATE! COMMUNICATE!
If your child suffers from a nut allergy, it is imperative that you communicate ASAP. Kids Love Greece has prepared a template for an allergy card in Greek (Greek letters and phonetic). Contact us if you would like to get a copy of it.
Alternatively, you can order an “allergy language card” and an “emergency card” from a specialized site like: http://www.selectwisely.com/ . You can get that type of card in both English and Greek.
So, using this card you can inform the waiter and he / she will be able to suggest plates that are nut free or show you what to avoid.
Say No To Syrup-Drenched Pastries (Siropiasta)
you’re a fan of the Mediterranean culture, you know that the Greek cuisine is
home to some of the tastiest desserts, most of which involve large servings of
phyllo soaked in syrup. Unfortunately, somewhere between all that syrupy
goodness, lies a hefty dollop of candied nuts (such as pistachios, walnuts, and
almonds) which are ready to put your kid in anaphylaxis mode.
Since no one wants that, make sure to stay away from such desserts, no matter what. And if you don’t know which ones we’re talking about, this quick list may come in handy: baklava, kadaifi, ekmek, galaktoboureko, saragli, and karidopita.
Watch Out For These Dips
By now you know that nuts and Greek desserts go hand in hand (well, in most cases). But, besides playing a huge role in pastry making, nuts are also found in several savory dishes where they dub as thickeners. That said, they’re part of many sauces and dips which makes them a big no-no for your allergic child because of the methods might be used in the manufacture. So, to keep your little one safe, stay away from spreads like taramosalata (that’s a pinkish fish-roe dip) and skordalia (this one is a yummy garlic, potato, bread mash-up).
Keep An Eye Out For The Salads
You’d think that salads are a safe choice for anyone trying to avoid tree nuts. And for the most part, they are, but Greeks tend to do things a bit differently in this department. That said, many Greek salads (and no, we’re not just talking about the tomato, cucumber, feta combo here) contain nuts such as walnuts, pistachios, pine nuts, chestnuts, and almonds. In some cases, chefs go as far as to top their dishes with nut-based dressings instead of olive oil, so make sure you ask the waiter beforehand.
Check out if the cafeteria/ restaurant serves nuts
If you have a child who is allergic even to a trace of nut, you must be even more careful.
For example, there are kids who should not eat anything that has been cooked in the same pan as peanuts (or any other nuts), or even have been stirred with a spoon that has been used for a dish that contains nuts. If this is the case, you should definitely ask if the chef or waiter has touched nuts as he/she should not prepare or serve food for your child.
Also, be extra careful when you just stop for a drink as often a bowl crisps or nuts is being offered with drinks (at no cost). In that case, it is likely that the staff in those places have been in contact with nuts. Maybe it is a good idea to choose another cafe/bar. Better safe than sorry.
Have you traveled abroad with a nut-allergic kid before? We’d
love to hear how you dealt with it in the comments down below!
While many strip their cupboard off of pasta, cookies, and crackers in hopes of improving their gut health (or losing a few pounds), parents with coeliac kids know that there’s nothing easy or fun about going gluten-free. From those morning bagels to last night’s pizza, the protein is everywhere, threatening to mess with your kid’s small intestine every chance it gets.
That said, in Greece, a country where bread and pies are an everyday treat and doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, we’re here to tell you that you have NOTHING to worry about. Why? Simply because the Greek cuisine is naturally rich in gluten-free treats that not only nourish your kid from the inside out, but they can also make his/her taste buds swoon from that very first bite. So, here’s what you need to know before traveling with your coeliac kid to Greece.
Stock Up On GF Goodies
One of the easiest ways to make sure your kid steers clear of gluten is to pack lots of GF snacks with you. So, as soon as you land, head to the nearest supermarket and load up on treats like nuts, and fresh or dried fruits. For a taste of the local cuisine, opt for a bag of pitted olives stuffed with red pepper or Feta. You can find these at most stores.
Make Salads Your Trusted Confidant
If you’ve been doing the whole gluten-free thing for quite some time, you know that salads are the safest choice in the book. Of course, when you’re in Greece, the side dish takes on a whole new meaning and can readily sub as a stand-alone meal.
That said, think outside the Greek salad box and let your kid feast on other delicious combos such as beetroot and feta, broccoli and lemon, horta, and most importantly, pikantiki (that’s a yummy cabbage/carrot/celery/red pepper mix served with lemon juice or vinegar).
Swap French Fries for Oven-Baked Potatoes
So, Greeks are huge fans of hand-cut, freshly-fried potatoes which is why they often cook the veggie in a separate pot using a specific type of oil (that’s sunflower oil, if you’re curious). As a result, their French fries are rarely contaminated with gluten which makes them a somewhat safe choice for your coeliac kid.
However, you can never be too safe which is why we recommend you head straight for the baked version. Patates Fournou taste just as good as French fries (sometimes better, thanks to all the herbs) and are much healthier since they’re not drenched in oil for that matter.
Embrace Mezedes (Some of Them)
Another genius way to dodge the gluten bullet is to munch on mezedes. Although they’re usually served as appetizers, the bite-sized treats can sure hit the spot thanks to their wide variety of ingredients and intense flavor.
Of course, not all of them are created equal (as in free of gluten) which is why you need to know in advance which ones are worth the shot. Tzatziki, roasted tomato and feta, grilled veggies, roasted aubergine, and sauteed mushrooms are some of the safest and most common options.
Chow on Grilled Seafood & Meat
Grilled seafood and meat is another easy way to shun gluten from your kid’s plate without sacrificing on flavor. And the best part? The Greek cuisine covers a wide variety of options (octopus, squid, beef sirloin, you name it!), so you’ll definitely find something to appeal to your munchkin’s palate.
So, what do you think? Are you ready to embark on your GF trip to Greece? Let us know in the comments down below!
The Ministry of Culture announced on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, the extended opening hours of the following museums and sites, as of April 1 (daily):
Acropolis will be open 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Delphi will be open 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
The Place of Knossos palace will be open 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Epidaurus and its museum will be open 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
The Place of Knossos palace will be open 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Epidaurus and its museum will be open 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Mycenae and its museum owill be open 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
The site of Tiryns will be open 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
The Palamidi fortress (Nafplio) will be open 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
The Palace of the Grand Magister and the site of Lindos on Rhodes will both be open 8.30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Other sites and museums in Greece will remain on the 8.30 a.m. to 4 p.m. schedule until more staff is hired. The process of hiring seasonal guards and cleaning crews for the archaeological sites and museums of Athens is ongoing and expected to be completed by April 15, when the expanded schedule of 08:00-20:00 will be introduced.
Take your pick from these kid-friendly activities to do when visiting Crete during your next family vacation in Greece. Here’s the best things to do in Crete with kids.
Crete for Kids
Crete has a very different approach to catering for kids than other countries do. Instead of kid-friendly menus, you can expect tasty home-made cooking. Instead of fake theme parks, there’s cultural experiences, and there’s a general sense of social inclusion simply not found elsewhere.
This is the Greek way of life, and of course just one of the many things that attracts people to Crete each year.
Top things to do with kids in Crete
Everyone needs a starting point when it comes to choosing the best things to do in Crete with kids. Here’s our top suggestions.
1. Take a Percy Jackson tour of Knossos
Knossos is the most well known archaeological site in Crete, and the base for the ancient Minoan civilisation. Whilst a must-see for adults, kids may not always share their enthusiasm. Unless, that is, they take our unique kid-friendly Percy Jackson Tour!
Crete is a veritable playground for family outdoor activities. From sailing and wind-surfing, through to mountain bike riding and river walks, there’s something for everyone. If you’re looking for outdoor activities for kids in Crete, take a look here – Family outdoor activities in Crete.
3. Greek National Football Museum in Chania
Are your kids football, or should we say soccer fans? If so, they will love the Greek National Football Museum in Chania! Whilst Greece have yet to win a World Cup, they have appeared in 3 finals, as well as numerous European competitions. This interesting museum documents the history of the national team, and contains shirts from the players, balls from significant matches, and more. A must for soccer fans, especially for families of Greek heritage!
4. Agia Marina Donkey Rescue Sanctuary
Located at the South West of Moires between the villages of Petrokefali and Sivas, the Donkey Sanctuary is on the road to Matala. This means you can visit here on the way to seeing the amazing Matala Caves.
This is a wonderful project that supports rescued and abandoned donkeys. Your kids will have the chance to enjoy time with the animals, and of course any donation would be welcome in order to continue funding the sanctuary.
No family vacation in Crete would be complete without spending time on some of the incredible beaches! You can check out our top recommendations for family friendly beaches in Crete for inspiration, but make sure to visit Elafonissi beach – your kids will love the fabulous pink sands!
Would you like more information on planning a family vacation in Crete? Contact the Kids Love Greece team today. Our local experts are always on hand to answer questions, and we also create bespoke itineraries so that you have the most memorable vacation in Crete imaginable!
Greece has some of the best museums in the world, documenting it’s rich history and ancient civilizations. Here’s the best museums in Greece.
The Best Museums for Kids in Greece
Unless you are visiting Greece purely for a sun and beach holiday (and there’s no better destination in the world for that!), you’ll want to get to know some of the ancient past of Greece.
With 18 UNESCO World Heritage sites, thousands of other archaeological sites, and hundreds of museums, it’s a cultural extravaganza. The one small problem that families face though, is that not all kids love museums!
That’s why we have listed the best museums in Greece for families here. Each one appeals to kids on a different level, and when combined with one of our exclusive Kids Love Greece tours, you can be assured of a fun and memorable experience.
The Acropolis Museum in Athens
We’ll start with the Acropolis Museum in Athens. This museum is often described as one of the best in Greece if not the world, and beautifully displays the artefacts found at the Acropolis which is nearby.
Kids will love this museum for many reasons. Younger one have the chance to go on a treasure hunt through the museum (treasure hunt kits available at the ticket desk), and older ones will appreciate curiosities like the Sorcerers Ball.
No visit to the incredible archaeological site of Knossos is complete without also visiting the Archaeological Museum in Heraklion. It’s here you will find out more about the ancient Minoan civilization, the importance of Knossos, and see some of the artefacts discovered at the site.
The collections in the museum cover nearly 6000 years of history, spanning from the Neolithic era through to the Roman times. It gives a fascinating insight into the importance of Crete to the ancient Greek world, and also includes its fair shares of mysteries such as the Phaistos Disc, which still remains undecipherable despite the best efforts of countless experts over the last hundred years. Will your kids be the ones to reveal the meaning behind these mysterious ancient words?
When visiting Ancient Olympia in the Peloponnese region of Greece, make sure to allow enough time to visit the Archaeological Museum. It’s here that many artefacts found on the site are displayed, the majority of which were left at the site as offerings to the various Gods.
Your kids will be amazed at the armour and the weapons such as swords which are on display at the museum. In addition, perhaps the most outstanding display, is a series of sculptures which depict the Legend of Hercules. If your kids love Greek Mythology, then this is a place they won’t want to miss!