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No one – not a baby, toddler, preschooler, kid, teen, wife or husband – is happy when they are hungry. Ward off the hangry beast. Pack some food. And then pack some more. Don’t be caught in traffic or on a delayed plane without some extra snacks on hand.
Packing food for travel is easier than it may seem. Whether it’s snacks for a road trip, baby or kid food for a weekend, or goods for a beach week, you can pack up some staples to make sure you’re covered.
Plus, it’s reassuring and cheaper to have your own food and snacks on hand to keep everyone fed and happy. You don’t have to stop and rely on whatever the gas station or fast-food has to offer.
Some of my go-to snacks for travel:
A family favorite that takes 5 minutes to put together: trail mix! Customize it to suit your crew.
Other travel snacks we love: raisins, baby carrots, Lara bars, Trader Joe’s fruit bars, cereal (which I put in snack cups for my little ones) and some sort of fresh fruit: grapes, blueberries and bananas work well for us on the go. I try to make treats like my blueberry oat cookies (light, healthy and no melting) or my 5-minute granola bites before we go, too. I often pack a special treat – something they don’t normally get from me at home – just in case. For me, that’s Trader Joe’s animal crackers or graham crackers. Yours might be more indulgent. I make exceptions when we travel because again, it’s all about survival.
If you need to travel with meals – either to have as a picnic on your trip or to have while you’re away – here’s some ideas for easy foods that travel well: Grilled cheese or paninis, quesadillas, beans, frozen peas, roasted sweet potatoes, muffins (such as pumpkin or spinach-banana), peanut butter sandwiches, fruit mix for yogurt, hummus (regular or beet) with crackers and veggies, cheese, overnight oatmeal jars, breakfast oatmeal squares, pancakes and fun treats like banana oat cookies or baby banana cookies. Just make sure to keep refrigerated items nice and cold in a cooler.
* Destination amenities: Will you have access to a microwave or stove to heat things up? Can you guarantee a mini fridge to keep the food cold or will you need a cooler with ice? What can you buy there versus need to bring? I try to buy basics like milk, yogurt, applesauce and peanut butter once we arrive. Plus fresh fruits and veggies. Sometimes even frozen peas and butternut squash just to have on-hand favorites.
* Airplane travel: Check TSA for guidelines but I’ve never had a problem traveling with (large) quantities of food for my little ones. We took M to a wedding when she was 9 months old and I took frozen breast milk and a weekend’s worth of all her food- lots of baby purees and finger foods. She was a big eater even that young.
* Food extras: Don’t forget to pack bibs, utensils, bowls/plates/cups and some extra napkins or paper towels so you’ve got your bases covered.
And be sure to check out my tips for traveling with young children before you set out. Lots of ideas for entertainment to pack, games to play, wiggle breaks to take and quick fixes for fussing.
** What foods and snacks do you always have on hand when you travel?