Ah the joys of flying with a toddler… From the endless amount of gear to all the toys and general distraction techniques hidden up your sleeve — there’s a lot to prep for to make sure that your trip with your tot goes smoothly. But have you thought about the food that he will be eating while in transit?
It turns out, what your little one eats (or doesn’t eat) could very well affect your entire flight. so you’ll want to choose his or her snack wisely. Luckily, his stomach doesn’t have to be at the mercy of processed airport foods that are loaded with sodium and empty calories. So take a breath and look out for the following healthy toddler-friendly snacks that you can find in most airports.
1. Hummus. Most toddlers loves to dip so those Sabra combo packs that include hummus with the pretzels can be a huge hit. If your child will eat veggies (mine won’t) then grab some of those pre-sliced packs of carrots and celery to dip instead of the pretzels for an extra nutrient boost.
2. Dried or baked fruit or veggie crisps. Just double check the ingredient list. Some brands can be high in salt and made with unhealthy oils. So look for ones that are simply baked — apples, snap peas, mixed veggies — and you’ll get more protein and fiber than other crunchy chip alternatives.
3. Cheese. If your little one can tolerate dairy, full-fat (or 2%) cheese sticks or Babybels are both great options for a quick boost of protein and healthy fat. Pair with some multigrain or whole grain crackers for a healthy carbohydrate to add some fiber, which will keep them fuller longer.
4. Popcorn. Ideally you’re looking for a brand with the fewest ingredients and whose first ingredient is simply popped corn. The texture is usually novelty enough for little ones to keep them occupied for a while. You want to avoid any brands that have excess oil, salt or artificial flavors. SkinnyPop is a good brand to look out for.
5. Yogurt. Specifically Siggi’s if you can find it. I’ve found Siggi’s to be the lowest in sugar and the highest in protein, which is the perfect combo when it comes to yogurt. Opt for the plain kind and add your own berries if possible to keep the sugar even lower.
6. Peanut butter packets. Single serving peanut butter is great to travel with and you can put it on pretty much anything from apples to bananas to celery and crackers. Check the ingredients list though, and try and find a brand whose only ingredient is peanuts.
7. Bars. One question I get all the time is whether or not truly healthy bars exist. The answer is yes – but you have to read ingredient labels. The ones that claim to be all natural tend to be very high in sugar and unnecessary ingredients. You want to find a bar that is mostly real fruit or grains with little to no added sugar. My favorite brand is RX, followed by LaraBar and KIND. Some may be too tough for your toddler to chew, so it may not work for everyone.
8. Cereal. Trust me when I say that these will keep your little one busy for a while; and it will satiate him. You can usually find small boxes of cereal at airport stores, but make sure to choose those with the least sugar, like Cheerios or Corn Flakes. The novelty of the box will go a long way.