Monday, January 6, 2014

Bringing Food on Airplanes: 20 Easy Healthy Choices for Kids {and Their Grownups}

One of the best ways to ensure a smooth trip is to make sure your kids are well-fed and entertained. Snacks are great because they serve both of these purposes at once, so I always bring way more food than we'll probably ever need - my mantra while traveling with kids is better safe than sorry. I like to try and pack a mix of sweet and savory snacks, but I tend to go heavier on the savory treats since they usually have more protein and its often much easier to find sweets at airport snack shacks and magazine stands if you need something extra. I also like to use disposable containers/wrappers – because who wants to lug a bunch of little food savers around after they're empty? Sometimes you can find cute decorated snack/sandwich bags in the dollar section of Target which work great for portioning out snacks in a fun way.
  1. Protein / granola bars (our family especially likes Clif Kid ZBars and LaraBar).
  2. Your favorite trail mix or dried fruit & nuts.
  3. Fruit gummies or fruit leather.
  4. Handi-snacks or other processed cheese food + dippers (my kids only get these when we travel and that makes it a salty special treat for them - YMMV).
  5. Crackers (Goldfish, Triscuits, Wheat Thins, graham crackers)
  6. Homemade sandwich cookies like Ritz crackers with nut butter or graham crackers with cream cheese (or bring ready-made sandwich cookies/crackers).
  7. Mini bagels - plain or with a spread.
  8. Babybel round waxed cheeses or laughing cow cheese wedges **
  9. Apples (leave them whole, or if your kids don't like to eat apples like that you can pre-slice them and either sprinkle the slices with a bit of lemon juice so they don't brown, or re-assemble the sliced apple and wrap it with plastic wrap to keep it together).
  10. Mandarin oranges
  11. Grapes (bonus, freeze these and they'll help keep other snacks cool).
  12. Fruit-puree pouches **
  13. Frozen yogurt tubes**
  14. Baby carrots, cucumbers, peppers, celery with ranch or other dip**
  15. Roasted chickpeas.
  16. Hearty grain salad with farro, wheatberry or quinoa.
  17. Banana or zucchini bread or mini muffins.
  18. Hearty cookies like Fig Newtons.
  19. Instant oatmeal packets (just ask the flight attendant for hot water).
  20. Cold cereal packets (same deal, just ask for milk instead).
**Make sure that any dips, purees, yogurts, soft cheeses, condiments or other liquid or gel-like items adhere to the TSA's 3-1-1 policy. You can have one 1-quart bag per passenger, so keep your family's toiletries in one or two and put snacks in the others.

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