Happy kids are fed kids. It’s amazing how much easier travel can go, even if other things are going wrong, if your kids aren’t hungry. Hunger increases stress levels in everyone, kids and adults alike, so make sure everybody is running on all cylinders by bringing a long a good snack stash.
When packing snacks for an airplane trip, I try to follow the general philosphy that it’s more important to have more than you need than not enough. (Actually, this is my approach with all consumables: diapers, wipes, formula, etc.) This is my snack stash for a weekend trip for two small kids:
As you can see, I have two gallon size ziplocs, filled with mostly identical stuff. This means there is one for each kid, and if we get separated, we don’t have to worry about who is carrying what snack (or worse, who doesn’t have any snacks with them at all).
I expect that this will be enough snackage for the flights there, including any delays, the flights home, including any delays, and maybe the time in between, too. Nothing in there is really perishable, so if we come home with leftovers, it’s not wasted.
There should be enough in your snack stash that if an emergency happens (some kind of delay, you were running for a flight and couldn’t stop to pick up food, you thought they were going to sell food on board but they aren’t), you can get at least one small meal, if not two out of your snack packs. Because you could potentially make meals out of your snack stash, you should try to have a range of carbs, protein, and fats.
This summer, my family started eating paleo. This threw a bit of a wrench into our typical travel snack plan, as our standbys were crackers, pretzels, and baked treats of that ilk. Here is a detailed look at what our snack packs contain nowadays:
- 4 Chomps grassfed beef sticks
- 1-2 Luna bars
- Fruit leather
- Annies fruit snacks
- A heap of dried mango – my kids’ favorite.
- A large bag of nuts (we’re partial to cashews, which are mixed with walnuts for this trip)
- 3-4 squeeze packs of applesauce
Note that when traveling internationally, you need to be aware of import restrictions, particularly with regard to fruits, vegetables, and meats. Most places are cool with dried fruit. But the US, for example won’t allow in any meat of any kind, processed or not. So pack and consume your snack bags accordingly.
You can replenish your snack bags at your destination, so don’t worry about depleting them on the trip out there.
One last note here is on the sippy cups you see pictured. You might consider packing redundant drink containers if (a) your child has trouble drinking out of different containers and/or (b) your child is particularly attached to his drinking container. When Andrew was around 12 months old, we would pack 2 bottles for milk (one primary and one backup) and 2 sippy cups for water (one primary and one backup). He COULD NOT fall asleep without his bottle at the time, and he had trouble drinking out of regular cups. Nowadays, at 2.5 and 17 months, both of our kids are skilled regular cup drinkers – the sippies are just for convenience and to limit potential mess. Andrew has long since broken the bottle-to-sleep habit, and Clara never had one of those.
Now the *paci* is definitely an item where we could use some redundancy at this point! But that’s another story…