Going on a trip and worrying about what to feed your little one? Check out my in-depth post on the best ways to keep your little one fed and hydrated with airplane snacks for kids!
Fresh fruit and veggies
Bring an assortment of non-fragile veggies and fruit (baby carrots, bananas, cutie oranges, apples). Avoid delicate produce like raspberries and blackberries.
If your child enjoys kiwi or avocado, bring some along with a kiwi spoon. My kid is an avocado maniac so I travel with a whole avocado wrapped in a paper towel. When she’s ready to eat, I use the paper towel as a place mat and use the serrated end of the kiwi spoon to cut the fruit in half. Then I use the spoon end to feed her, or simply let her dig in on her own.
Make sure it’s a plastic kiwi spoon so you won’t be hassled at airport security. No kiwi spoon? A sturdy plastic knife and a small spoon would work just as well.
If you don’t want to bother with fresh produce, food pouches are a great alternative. I never travel without fruit and vegetable-based food pouches because I can always get my kid to eat one.
Also, fruit pouches are effective for warding off kiddie constipation (try the prune-based ones for extra potency!). It’s also reassuring to know that your child will be getting some vitamins and fiber, which can be hard to come by when you are eating out all the time.
Note: TSA’s 3.4 ounce quantity limit for carry on liquids does not apply to children’s food and drinks (which includes food pouches). So feel free to bring a reasonable amount of food pouches for your child’s consumption. For more info about TSA’s regulations, click here.
Single serve snacks
Snacks packaged in tiny boxes and baggies are extra appealing to kids, plus you can dole them out easily for bribes (aka rewards for good behavior). We’ve had good luck with raisin boxes, Ella’s Kitchen snacks, homemade trail mix and mini sachets of nut butters.
Pack a few shelf-stable milk boxes and juice boxes. I don’t usually serve juice to my child but it’s sometimes hard to keep her hydrated on long flights. The juice boxes are a useful way to ensure that she’s properly hydrated.
Note: TSA allows milk and juices for kids in your carryon. The 3.4 ounce quantity limit for liquids does not apply to children’s food and drinks. To read more about TSA’s regulations regarding traveling with kids, click here.
Ice packs and freezer packs
TSA allows these in carryon bags, so feel free to use them to keep your food and drinks cool.
Don’t forget about your own food and water! Your kid will be counting on you to get them to the destination safely and you can’t do your job properly if you are dehydrated or hungry. Energy bars, snacks and fruit are all things you can eat with one hand and/or share with your kid.
Airline kid’s meals
For international flights, most airlines serve special kid’s meals that have to be ordered in advance before the flight.
The ones I’ve encountered tend to consist of white bread and pasta, salty chicken or fish fingers, juice and sugary yogurt, processed snacks and cakes, and scant veggies). Although not very nutritious, these meals are appealing to my tot, who adores novelty. You may wish to supplement the meal with your own healthy additions.
One advantage to ordering a kid’s meal for your child is that special meals get served before the regular meal service, which is helpful if your child needs to be fed or requires your help. This way, you can let your kid watch a movie and eat in peace when your own meal arrives.
Why you should always bring your own food
Bring your own snacks even if you are flying with an airline that serves food. It’s no fun waiting for the food to arrive when you are starving right now. Also, your meals may arrive at a bad time, e.g. when your kid is fussy or trying to nap. This means that you won’t be able to eat until you settle your child.
There may also be unforeseen flight/weather delays, in which case having your own food means you’ll have one less thing to worry about when you are stuck somewhere.