50 Best Healthy Airplane Snacks For Babies & Toddlers
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Travelling with young children can be challenging, especially when it comes to finding snacks that are both nutritious and convenient.
Long flights and road trips can be particularly challenging, so it’s important to pack snacks that your kids will love, and that won’t make a mess in the cabin.
Tips For Snacking On Airplanes With Toddlers & Young Children
Flying with toddlers and young children can be a daunting experience, especially when it comes to keeping them fed and happy during the journey.
Snacking is a great way to keep little ones occupied and prevent hunger-induced meltdowns. However, packing snacks for the aeroplane can be tricky, as you want to ensure that the snacks are both convenient and healthy.
Consider TSA Liquid Rules
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has set restrictions on the number of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes that can be brought on a flight in carry-on bags. These rules are in place to enhance airport security measures and prevent the threat of liquid explosives.
Here are the general TSA liquid rules:
- Each passenger is allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes in their carry-on bags. This bag must be placed in a separate bin for X-ray screening at the security checkpoint.
- Each individual item in the quart-sized bag must not exceed 3.4 ounces or 100 millilitres.
- Exceptions to the 3.4-ounce rule include medications, baby formula, breast milk, and food or drinks for passengers with medical conditions. These items can be brought in quantities exceeding 3.4 ounces, but they must be declared to a TSA officer for inspection.
- If you have liquids that exceed the 3.4-ounce limit and are not exempted by TSA, you may pack them in your checked baggage.
- TSA may require additional screening of liquids or other items that may pose a security threat, such as electronic devices larger than a smartphone.
It’s important to note that TSA rules may vary based on your departure airport, airline, and destination. It’s always best to check with the TSA website or your airline for the most up-to-date information on liquids and other prohibited items before your flight.
If you’re travelling internationally, it’s also worth keeping in mind that other countries may have different rules and restrictions when it comes to liquids and other items that are allowed in carry-on bags or checked baggage.
If you’re travelling to / from the United Kingdom, then the hand luggage rules and restrictions can be found on the UK government website.
Pack Snacks To Minimise Spills & Messes
When packing snacks for the plane, it’s important to consider individual portions and packaging.
Based on personal experience, I recommend either choosing snacks that come in their own individual packaging or decanting snacks into specialised containers such as the Munchkin snack catcher or Stasher reusable silicone bags.
Having snacks available in this way doesn’t just minimise the likelihood of messes and spills but also ensures that snacks are portioned correctly for your child so you can just pass them the container or packaging and let them snack as they wish.
Consider Durability & Spoilage
When choosing and packing snacks for the aeroplane, consider the duration of the flight and whether the snacks you pack will go stale or spoil.
Again based on personal experience I recommend opting for snacks that are long-lasting and won’t spoil easily, such as dried fruit, trail mix, and rice cakes (an extended list of snack ideas is available below).
You’ll also want to keep in mind that snacks that require refrigeration or a cool temperature may not be suitable for long flights. Instead, you’ll to snacks that can be stored at room temperature to ensure they stay fresh throughout the journey (and beyond!).
Stick To Snacks Your Kids Know & Love
Now is not the time to bring a load of brand-new food and snacks that your little ones have never tried. The last thing you want is for your child to refuse to eat the snacks you’ve packed because they’re unfamiliar or unappetising.
While you can bring a small percentage of snacks for novelty purposes, I’d recommend that the majority of your snacks are ones that your kids know, love and are easy to eat on the plane.
Pack Plenty of Peanut-Free Choices
Due to the high number of people with peanut allergies, many airlines have taken steps to ensure the safety of their passengers by banning peanuts and peanut-based products (including peanut butter) from being sold or consumed on flights.
If you or your child has a peanut allergy, it’s important to inform the airline of your condition before your flight. Some airlines may require medical documentation or advance notice of your allergy to ensure that appropriate accommodations can be made.
Avoid Snacks With Too Much Sugar
When it comes to choosing travel snacks for little kids, I’d highly recommend avoiding snacks that are packed with added (and in some cases even natural) sugars.
While sweet snacks like candy bars and chocolate chips may be tempting, too much of this can lead to sugar crashes and hyperactivity in young children.
While it’s sometimes good to have a sweet treat on hand as a reward or just to mix it up, I do recommend that the majority of your snacks are healthy options and provide sustained energy and are a great source of vitamins and nutrients.
Pack Extra Snacks In Case Of Delays
Trying to understand how many snacks to pack can be difficult. You don’t want to be caught short and have to purchase unhealthy, unknown or expensive snacks at the airport.
Given that flights can be incredibly unpredictable, I always recommend packing extra snacks in case of delays or any unexpected layovers. You could even put these ‘reserve’ snacks in a separate bag or container too.
While it’s important to pack enough snacks to get you through the entire flight (and the return flight in some cases) it’s also important to pack a variety of different snacks to keep your child interested and engaged.
After all, we as adults wouldn’t want to snack on the same thing for 12 hours straight either.
Pack A Water Bottle / Sippy Cup
With so much focus on snacks, it’s easy to forget drinks. Drinking water regularly throughout the flight is incredibly important and can help relieve ear pressure and discomfort that children may experience during takeoff and landing.
I recommend bringing along an empty water bottle or sippy cup (ideally spill-proof) and filling it with water using the free water fountains found inside most airport terminals after security.
Any flight attendant will also be more than happy to fill your water bottle or sippy cup with water throughout the duration of the flight. Much like sugary snacks, I also recommend avoiding sugary drinks or juice boxes, which again can lead to sugar crashes and hyperactivity in young children.
Bring Along Clean-Up Supplies
When travelling with toddlers and young children, it’s especially important to have clean-up supplies on hand in case of any messes or spills.
I recommend bringing along some disinfectant wipes to clean your child’s hands and the surfaces around your seats as you board and again before you eat.
It’s no secret that aeroplane surfaces can harbour germs and bacteria, so wiping them down with disinfectant wipes can help keep your family healthy and prevent the spread of illness. Wet wipes are also an essential item for wiping sticky fingers, and freshening up after meals.
Travelling with kids can be unpredictable, and there’s always the possibility of a huge mess occurring during the journey.
To stay prepared, it’s a good idea to bring a few plastic bags to dispose of any soiled items and a change of clothes (or two depending on the child’s age and the duration of the flight).
Think Ahead To The Return Flight
When packing travel snacks for toddlers and young children, it’s also a good idea to think ahead to the return flight.
I highly recommend packing a separate snack bag for the next flight (especially if you’re flying to an international destination which may not have the same kid-friendly snacks your little ones know and love).
Of course, these snacks are going to travel thousands of miles and likely not be eaten for multiple days or even weeks. It’s, therefore, more important that when choosing these snacks you opt for highly durable foods that won’t spoil easily.
Opt For Filling Foods
When it comes to packing snacks for the aeroplane, it’s important to choose options that are both nutritious and filling. Opt for snacks that will keep your child satisfied and energised throughout the flight (examples are available below).
These snacks are not only a great source of protein and healthy fats, but they’re also filling and can help stave off hunger for longer periods of time.
Avoid Travelling With Fresh Fruit
Although fruit is an awesome snack for toddlers, it may not be the best choice for a flight.
Many international borders (and some domestic ones) have restrictions on bringing fruit through the airport. Additionally, fruit can be squishy and sticky, making it messy and difficult to transport.
Best Travel Snacks For Toddlers & Young Children
Here are some of our favourite healthy snacks for travelling with toddlers and young kids;
- Cheese quesadilla bites
- Babybel cheese
- Dried fruit pieces
- Mini muffins
- Seaweed snacks
- Chex mix
- Beef jerky
- Mini bagels
- Dried cereals or granola
- Baby carrots
- Lara or Cliff bars
- Whole grain crackers or pretzels
- Frozen yoghurt tubes
- Raw veggies
- Fruit leather
- Graham crackers
- Rice crackers
- Pita chips
- Sugar-free cookies
- Annie’s Bunnies Crackers
- Whole or cut fruit
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Gogurt (or other brands of yoghurt tubes)
- Wheat Thins
- Cheese sticks (or other single-serving cheeses)
- Granola bars
- Turkey jerky
- Fruit snacks
- String cheese
- Sandwiches or wraps
- Pouches of applesauce (or similar)
- Seaweed snacks
- Ritz Bits sandwiches
- Trail mix
- Apple slices
- Yoghurt covered raisins
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