Traveling with kids is hard! There’s a lot of things to pack and keep track of. From a nutrition standpoint, there’s also a lot to think about like keeping schedules, mini meal snacks, snacking when bored, and travel-safe healthy options.
On our recent 15 hour long-haul flight, I kept some detailed notes I wanted to share with you to make your next trip easier. This list is mostly about nutrition, but contains other general information as well.
- Explain what’s happening and what you know
Before you go anywhere, sit down with your child and explain what is going to happen.
Travel is a big deal for them, they’ll be with other people and away from their home, their toys, their bed, their comfort. Explaining and allowing them to ask some questions is a great way for them to process and start to understand.
- Keep to your schedule
As much as possible, stick to your schedule. If you’re changing time zones like we were, you may need to push a mini meal or a meal to a bit later or a bit earlier. The most important thing here is to keep SOME structure.
- Bring a cold bag
I love the PackIt brand cold bags (click here and scroll to the bottom of the list.) These bags have ice packs sewn into the bag lining and keep the contents cold for 8-10 hours. They’re amazing.
- Useful ice packs
This will sound weird… But sometimes the best and most useful things do.
Freeze some milk (or water) into breast milk storage bags and put them into your cold back. This adds extra coldness and you can consume the contents.
I always freeze some A2 milk because that’s the only milk we drink and it’s never available on the plane. Read more about A2 milk here.
At the time of writing this article, frozen liquids are permitted on planes in carry on.
- Healthy, travel foods
Freeze dried fruits are great to take and go. Check the fruit is the only thing on the ingredient list. I usually press, cut, and pack some tofu because it travels so easily. Cook some frozen veggies and pack them as well. Whole grain crackers, sandwiches with nut butter, cheese, avocado, etc are good options as well. Cheese, cooked pasta, cooked legume pasta, hard cooked eggs, and cucumbers are easy options as well.
Try to get a variety of food groups. It’s great to have as a supplement to any bought meals that may lack veggies and high fiber options.
This is a hormone humans produce that prepares us for sleep. If you’re considering melatonin discuss it with your doctor/pediatrician before using melatonin.
It’s tempting to buy a large dose, but the body actually produces less than 1mg of melatonin. So I buy the 3mg tablet and cut them in half for mysef/husband and cut them into quarters for children.
If you’ve got a child <2, place the tiny pill into a soft fruit and have them swallow it. For kids >2, ask them to chew up a mouthful of food and open their mouth when they’re ready to swallow and pop the tablet in. Of course, please tell them what it is and you’re giving them, being honest is really important! I call it by its name and say “it’s a medicine to help you sleep when we’re traveling.”
Very easy, not scary, and you don’t have to buy any special (and expensive) children’s tablets/liquids – but you can if you want. I buy the “Nature Made” brand because they have the USP label which means they are independently tested for strength and purity of the ingredients.
Give about 30 minutes before bedtime!
- Lots of activities
Pack activities like coloring books, lift the flap books, stickers, activities like tracing/folding/pressing buttons, books, stuffed toys. It doesn’t have to be expensive! I usually remove a few books/toys from our rotation 1-2 weeks before we leave so they are “new” and exciting on the trip.
- Wipes, wipes, and more wipes!
Take lots of wipes with you, especially if you’re children are young. Trust me, you don’t want to be without them! When I travel I take a full wipes pack and I fill/refill a travel reusable wipes pouch that I have at easy reach. (I have some here my Amazon store.)
I really hope you found this guide helpful! Happy, safe, and easy(ish) travels! Pin or save this post for future easy access.
If you’re ready to get into the Mini Meals Mindset at snack time, sign up below for my Snack Staples List and join my NIFTY community (NIFTY = Nutrition Info + Feeding Tips for You!)