Traveling this holiday can be so much fun, especially if you’re doing it with your toddler. While it can be occasionally nightmarish with all the tantrums and hyperactivity, such can be minimized when you have smartly prepared for those challenges. Aside from bringing new and favorite toys (useful once the novelty of the new ones wear off), it is smart to bring your kid’s favorite foods as well.
This is one preparation that is often neglected by busy parents. Of course you can buy along the way or from the rolling carts down the plane aisle to cut down the planning and preparation time for homemade meals. Sooner or later, you will realize the extra effort is all worth it. Not only will it be cheaper; the foods you will prepare for your toddler are guaranteed healthy and can satisfy his/her cravings. Don’t take chances with foods bought while on travel if you want to avoid “unwanted bugs” (you heard about norovirus, didn’t you?)
If you are eager to keep your travelling toddlers happy, learn a few tips about what to bring and to avoid with this article “Foods for Toddlers When Traveling” by Kathryn Walsh posted in USA Today – Travel Section.
Walsh talks about what to food to bring during the travel and to the destination. She also shares some insights about how to pack foods and what to avoid.
Foods for Traveling
If … you’ll have access to refrigeration, pack plenty of fruits and veggies. Pick soft fruits …. If he’s not too picky, try cooking peas, broccoli or sliced carrots in advance… Applesauce is a travel staple, as are crackers and grains… Take along wheat crackers and his favorite rice or oat cereal — avoid sugary cereals, which will make him hyper — or slice up cinnamon bread into small chunks. Pack envelopes of instant oatmeal …
Foods for Destinations
… Pack shelf-stable favorites such as canned pasta dishes, cereal bars and juice boxes… Travel can be an ideal time to introduce your toddler to new foods… Try feeding him bites off your plate at restaurants; if he refuses, order pasta or rice and a side of vegetables… Pack a familiar bottle so you can fill it with purchased milk or juice as you travel. If you’re visiting a developing country, feed him packaged foods and bottled water.
Make sure to wrap the foods to easily go through security. Collapsible food containers and airtight plastic bags are good to use. Make sure to check the security requirements in your destination. When taking perishable foods, use gel ice packs not ice cubes.
Foods to Avoid
Void feeding your toddler with chunky and sticky foods that can choke or block his airway.
While Walsh recommends “soft fruits such as bananas, pears and peaches and … peas, broccoli or sliced carrots …” bananas and broccoli are not recommended in the article entitled “Flying with Kids: What Snacks to Pack in the Plane” posted in The Kitchn. Bananas can turn brown once oxidized or exposed in the air and broccoli releases a stinky odor when you open the food container. Avocados are not good to bring on a plane trip because these also tend to become brown, mushy and messy. Avoid crumbly crackers; bite-sized biscuits or mini cookies make better options. Forget dips or hummus as having more stuff to hold and balance can be problematic especially with a hyperactive toddler on your lap.
Another brilliant tip:
… Pack a lot of options. I pack very, very light when it comes to gear and go heavy on snacks instead … Food is entertaining; don’t worry that you’re spoiling her lunch/dinner or letting her have too many granola bars. Also, if you get delayed, you’ll need extra.
The author talked about how she passes security with just a brief litmus test on her baby’s
“60+ ounces of frozen breastmilk, bottles, sippy cups, you name it …” She said she just causally alert the security “just as it’s going through the security machine (“Oh, there’s a sippy cup for her in there.” .. “They take it out, remove the top (or have me do it), wave a litmus strip over it, and I’m outta there. I’ve found that if I have a child strapped to me/walking with me, they are quick and understanding (and that’s LaGuardia, folks).”
If you are travelling with one-year old babies and younger, you only need to bring enough breast milk or water and formula, as well as some easy to eat cereal or puffs, blueberries or clementines, cubed tofu, and or sweet potatoes. These are also good for bigger babies plus those that are healthy and need no utensils to eat such as plain pasta, sandwiches, granola or cereal bars, dried fruits, and edamame.
Don’t forget to bring some treats they don’t regularly get like chips. These may not be the usual food you will serve them at home, but this is exactly why it can keep them happy, enthusiastic and preoccupied (something you want for a smooth travel). Packing toddler snacks creatively can also add excitement to the treats. Put the colorful jelly beans in cute containers with cute ribbons. Pack them like they are gifts that your kid will adore.