How to keep your kids happy at 30,000 feet can be a common worry as summer holidays loom. Travelling with youngsters needn't be a problem providing you're prepared. We caught up with Mindful Chef Ambassador Erica Levine Weber, from the family travel blog The Worldwide Webers, to get the low-down on toddler travel snacks.
Nowadays we’re all talking about about Peppa Pig and kid snacks to get through a travel day with a toddler! What kinds, how many and how often do we need to fill a toddler’s belly to hit that perfect pinnacle where satisfaction flirts with the ever-enticing food coma. The journey to the centre of the toddler Venn diagram, where they’re quiet while they eat, quiet after they eat and then silent while they sleep, is the route we’re most interested in taking to our final destination.
Having flown on over 100 flights to 40+ countries across 5 continents with our almost 2 year old, we rely on snacks as a primary method for motivating and rewarding good behaviour or as a sacrifice to the travel gods for the hope of good behaviour. So let me break down how we use our snack weapons to win the war on toddler travel.
We pack 3 levels of goodies in our carry-on bag regardless of travel distance: healthy, kiddie and break packaging in case of meltdown emergency (more commonly referred to as “just give the kid a cookie!“).
The goal is to have lots of small containers of finger foods for you to taunt and bribe them with at various stages of a travel day. For fruits and veg I like to use Mr. Lid containers that have the top connected to the base so you can’t lose them to the germ-riddled airplane floor. While we start by only showing the healthy snack options, we quickly open up to the kiddie bag level if need be. That being said, we do hide the emergency cookies and treats for when all hell breaks loose and we need a quick way out of public embarrassment.
Level 1: Healthy
Small containers of fresh fruit: Blueberries, apple slices, cut grapes, pears. Tip: you can count the berries and fruit pieces as an activity while they eat.
High protein yogurt pouches: Pro-Yo by The Collective containing 14g of protein are a perfect option that's much more filling than kid yogurt pouches.
Peel-able fruit: Bananas, clementines, tangerines (another edible activity).
Vegetables: Cut up carrots, cucumber, celery. Tip: bring a container of hummus if they like to dip...what is it with kids and loving to dip things?
Peanut butter: or almond butter packets such as Pip & Nut Squeeze Packs
Tip: avoid foods that stain like red bell pepper, blackberries, cherries, and raspberries, or dress them in a rain poncho, your call.
Level 2 - Kiddie snacks
aka prepackaged snacks from the kids aisle
Crunchy: Organix Oaty Bars, Snyder’s Mini Pretzels, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish, Kiddylicious Veggie Straws, Ritz Mini Crackers, Organix Rice Cakes, Kiddylicious Banana Bites, Cheerios and other dried cereals.
Sweet: Fruit Bowl yogurt covered raisins, Bear fruit nibbles, Nakd fruit nibbles, Organix Raisins Mini Boxes, and other dried fruit.
Pouches: Piccolo Veg Pouches, Ella’s Brekkie Pouches, For Aisha Meal Pouches
Disclaimer: Many “kid snacks” and “fruit pouches” are marketed as organic and sugar free but are not as healthy as you think. They often have plenty of sugar in them disguised in the ingredient list under different names. I’m not a fan of these in regular life, but on a travel day they are very useful.
Level 3: Straight up sugar and adult snacks
Pretty much anything legally allowed for humans to ingest that will quiet the impending volcanic eruption of a toddler meltdown goes under this section. We love mini Oreo snack packs, Organix Mini Gingerbread men and anything else deemed a "treat". Adult protein bars also fall under this section from Bounce Energy balls to Trek Protein Bars and Deliciously Ella Energy Balls.
While we eat healthily at home with our Mindful Chef dinners and stock little to no kiddie snacks in the house, we break out the big guns for a travel day. Why? Because all is fair in kids and travel and the goal isn’t to be the most organic mom on the flight. The goal is to make it to the destination in the least painful way possible for all parties involved. And if a few cookies and yogurt covered raisins are consumed along that journey, so be it! With enough snacks and diapers you can get anywhere in the world. So pack some goodies and go explore with your family!
Erica Levine Weber from the family travel blog The Worldwide Webers is a traveller, blogger,expat and modern mom. Her tips and tales of traveling to over 40 countries across 5 continents with her toddler have appeared in Travel+Leisure, Business Insider, Forbes, Parents, and many more. Check out their Blog, Instagram, or Facebook for daily adventures with a solid dose of humour.