Food Tips for Travel with Kids

When you have children, travel is always a more involved process.  You can still just up and go, fly by the seat of your pants, but without the proper preparation you will most likely find some type of tantrum or misery at one point or another.  You can sometimes rely on tablets or computers to help avoid tantrums when boredom is the culprit, believe me we do often but...

what about when the issue is surrounding food and NOT boredom?!

The intangible and tangible benefits of travel with kids more than make it all worth it, in fact we love it, extra work and tantrums included.  Over the past few years though we have come up with a mental checklist of things that help and most of them relate to food and water always being close by.

Now when you are trying to travel on a budget that can oftentimes complicate things even more.  Anyone can rely on a quickie mart stop to get food and drinks but that adds up quickly and trust me can do serious damage to a budget, not to mention your health.

We prefer to eat as healthy as we can even while traveling although admittedly we have fallen short of that on many occasions.  One of our favorite companies is Cascadian Farms, as we believe in their products and have been able to find them in many areas!  All their products are organic, non GMO, and contain actual fruit.  This translates to not only enjoying the food but feeling good about it at the same time.  A rarity, especially when traveling, and sometimes something that needs to be figured out well in advance.

If you are heading out for a day, a week, or even years like us try some of these travel tips in relation to food and I guarantee you will have happier kids, happier parents, a better budget, and an overall more pleasant travel experience.
  • One of the biggest mood killers we have found is what we call the Hangries.  You know when the kids are starving and hungry and it ends up in a tantrum or meltdown?   Be honest you may have had them yourself.  We have found that a huge help is to have handy snacks available.  I nearly always have granola bars or dried fruit of some type in my purse for just those moments.
  • Before heading to a new destination research a bit so you all have a realistic idea of what types of foods will be available in that location.  Start planning accordingly.
  • Make sure to stop often.  The best way to help a hangry child (or adult really) is to avoid the hunger.  Plan to stop every few hours and have a snack.  Pay attention to your child and at the first sign of hungry behavior grab a snack.
  • Carry water with you at all times.  Dehydration can not only kill your mood it can make you feel physically sick.  Avoid headaches, nausea, etc by sipping on water throughout the day.
  • If you struggle with a picky eater try make things they like ahead of time and carry it with you.
  • Relax a bit if you have to!  So they eat nothing but apples and peanut butter for a week straight, if they are not complaining and not cranky let it go knowing you can get back to familiarity when the trip is over.
  • If you find something you all like, buy a bunch and carry it with you.  When we could get our hands on peanut butter in Asia we bought several jars and carried it with us, bread or crackers are always things you can find and coupled together make a quick snack or meal even in a pinch.
  • Bring whatever tools you may need with you.  We carry a can opener, peeler, and 1 good knife.  They have all been lifesavers at one time or another.  On our road trip we even brought a pot and a hotplate so we could do a little cooking (pasta or rice) in the hotel room.  Saved us loads!
  • Do not think you need to be above slight bribery.  I remember a LONG road trip I took alone with small kids, a few lollipops or M+M's went a long way in keeping sanity!
  • To save money take advantage of free breakfasts, avoid ordering drinks when you have to eat out, and have kids share meals.  At  least when mine were young they could never finish one of their own.  In the US, even parents can share, the plates are just overloaded with food!

Have you traveled with your kids lately?  What tips to you have for smoother travel and avoiding the hangries?

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