Thursday, June 07, 2007

Packing food for kids?

Help! We will be visiting the in-laws soon, which requires two flights and an hour to cross the Atlanta airport. I have a nursing 12-month-old with a hearty appetite. What kid foods would you take along or buy at a post-security restaurant?

Remember, liquids, gels and pureed baby foods are limited to 3 ounces in original containers. I don't want to pay a fortune for airport food, but neither do I want to coat the lobby carpet with cracker crumbs.


Kelly said...

Hi Meredith,
We just flew cross country and I took some Gerber toddler pick-ups, the little ravioli kind. I also brought a jar of baby meat sticks. I just had them in my purse and we had no problem with that. We also brought granola bars (the chewy kind and when I break of little bits the little guy can handle it) and fruit leather (again, torn into little bits for the little one). We ended up having meat, grains and fruit. Not too much hassle. We brought sippy cups and actually just drank the juice and milk offered on the flight.
I wouldn't be too surprised if she gets a bit of travelers stomach though. My boys ended up not being that hungry. Finn just wanted to nurse most of the time and he's just a month older than Elise.
Good luck!!

Anonymous said...

Baby bel cheese in the red packaging - sandwiches - fruit cut up in sippy cup. - cherrios - put a cold pack in the bottom of the food bag - dump everything after you have eaten. Airport food is not suitable for a baby and you dont know who has been handling it

MamaBirdEmma said...

We recently went to Texas with our 12 month old. I packed pretzels and original ritz cracker chips. The airplane provided apple juice in a small cup with a lid and straw.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. I didn't know if prepackaged liquidy foods like toddler meals would count as liquids or gels. NOrmally I would bring Tupperwares of steamed veggies, meat sticks, etc--but I don't want to carry those all day without an ice or gel pack.

I'm surprised they let you take freezer packs through security.

Anonymous said...

bananas or kiwis cut in half covered in plastic wrap. Don't peel -- Use a spoon to scoop the fruit out of the intact peel(as you would spoon the flesh out of a halved melon).

cracker-y items. It's only a day and she's still nursing, so not to worry too much about protein.


Anonymous said...

Toddler foods count as "liquids" and "gels." It makes traveling with small children that much more of a pain in the butt. I'd pick the most appealing snacks I could find. You can stuff a decent amount in those ziplock bags!

Granny said...

My kids have always looked forward to trips mainly for my well-known exception to the general no-presweetened-cereal rule. For trips, I allow them, and pretty generously. First, they're more nutritious than many snacks because they're fortified as breakfast foods. Second, they're NOT as sweet as cookies and candies, and third, there are very few crumbs because you don't have to bite off anything. So...Honey-Chex, Honey-Nut Cheerios, Froot Loops, Lucky Charms, Berry Berry Kix (and any generic equivalents)...none of that is allowed on our breakfast table but on long highways or at 30,000 feet, whatever works, right?

Anonymous said...

shelf stable milk boxes hands down my favorite travel food for kids. Horizon makes some and trader joes has its own brand. Juice goes right thru my kids. you can have extra if you are flying with small children check with tsa there is a formula or so i was told.. We recently flew cross country with no problem. Just make sure you seperate it out so TSA has easy access.

cheerios (the to go packs)
mini bagels
string cheese
fishy crackers
granola bars

I would try and have as much in original packaging even if it means spending a bit more. If you get a TSA person having a bad day it can mean a bad day for you as well. Also, rules seem to vary from airport to airport what is no problem at LAX is a huge issue at JFK.

Anonymous said...

As a twice yearly (at least) cross country flier (oh, and did I mention that I do it alone and with 3 children?)I rely on string cheese, apples, and granola bars. This is one of the only times that Gogurt is acceptable. Crackers, in all their messiness, also make the trip with us. As do suckers and homemade sandwiches. I usually buy water and juice once I'm through security.
Hope you have a nice flight. Oops, forgot to mention the importance of a portable DVD player. This is a necessity--and I don't even own a TV at home!

Anonymous said...


I just flew cross country with a toddler. Babies and toddlers fit into the special needs category. You are allowed to have more than three ounces of liquid for them.

All carry on liquids must be in a 1 quart ziploc bag. And you can fit 3-4 8 oz. sippy cups (or bottles) into that bag.

Each individual traveler is allowed their own carry-on bag, as well as their own bag of liquids. So your son is allowed his own carry on bag with his own 1 quart bag of liquids, if your daughter has her own seat on the plane then she is allowed her own carry on bag besides her 1 quart bag of liquids.

There will be less hassle if you are starting your flight in a smaller airport-once you have gone through security there, you won't have to go through it again in Atlanta, unless you physically leave the airport.

Anonymous said...

For the last year, I have flown from Nashville to Detroit every 8 weeks to visit family with my now-18-month-old. We've learned a thing or two along the way. At Nashville's airport I've never had any trouble with any baby foods, liquids or freezer packs I've taken along, and I even flew the day after all the big liquid scare at Heathrow. I even brought along a pint of homemade hummus without so much as a raised eyebrow one time. I don't know if that makes me feel happy or like a threat to the nation. ;)

I take foods she loves and are easily portable and relatively non-perishible, like bananas in peel, cheerios, and her favorite - boxes of raisins. When we fly next weekend, I'll probably go with some animal crackers b/c we can bide some time doing animal noises while eating. She also seems to get a kick out of eating her snack out of the clear plastic cups that come with the beverage service. Go figure...

I always ask for a water refill for her sippy as soon as I board the plane; the flight crew is usually happy to assist when you have a baby and a smile. It also keeps us from having to buy more bottled water than necessary in the airport. When she was nursing, we did that during take-off and landing, but now I try to have her eat something chewy (like the raisins).

I try to keep a little bag of both her favorite toys, some new cheap toys from the dollar tree, and some usually 'off-limits' items like a necklace of mine she loves to play with but doesn't usually get to. We also bring some favorite books and new books to break up the boredom with story-time every 20 min or so. I always opt for my baby backpack in lieu of a stroller (unless you need one at your destination) because it makes getting though the airport so hands-free and easy.

Speaking of being in the airport, I just downloaded a free kids airport diversion guide at at the advice of the Baby Cheapskate blog (Thanks!). It seems to have a number of cool things to check out at airports I frequent, so I look forward to checking them out!

Enjoy your travels!

Grace (in Nashville)

PS - Elise looks lovely in her birthday dress! And thanks for the tip on the 75% off Nashville CityPass books; I just got one yesterday - what a steal!

Jenn @ Frugal Upstate said...

#1-some airports actually have indoor kids playgrounds now. I don't fly often and was surprised to see one the last time I did. If you have a layover it may be worth checking out ahead of time (the airport I was in only had one in the airport, so you might have had to travel from another wing)

#2-what about taking EMPTY sipppy cups and then some of those prepackaged drink mix powders, you know, the ones that are supposed to flavor a single bottle of bottled water. Usually I'd say go with the big jar, but in this particular case it would make it easier to carry, be in original packaging for airport security, and still be cheaper than buying airport drinks. And you can use a water fountain to fill up the sippy cups while in the airport for free.

#3-I usually don't let my kids have any kind of "gummy" fruit except on car trips. Then they think it is a treat.

#4-might be worth buying some dollar store (or small yard sale) toys to keep them occupied on the trip. They are basically disposable so if they get lost on the way it isn't so much of a heartache. Also I've read that you can wrap them in gift paper, then pull them out occasionally as a "surprise".

#5-for the bigger kiddos, a suggestion that someone made in my MOPs group was to buy an inflatable beach ball (the dollar stores sell them)you can deflate and keep in your bag, and then blow up and give them for playing when you are stuck somewhere for a while. The tip was used for car trips and playing at rest areas, but I can see it for those 40 minute waits in between planes at the airport.

Good luck and try to have fun. Does your laptop play DVDs? You can bring some along and try to charge the battery in between flights at the airport somewhere (although I don't know how possible that is)

AnnMarie said...

I brought banan, an apple (got a plastic knife at the airport from a snack place), crackers, and snack food (Cheezits one way, Chex mix the other). I think I also brought bread one time. Some airports will let you come in with an empty water bottle so that you don't have to buy water as a drink.

Basically, I relied on solid foods she could eat already. Even if all she eats are Cheerios, I'd just load up on them! No way would I buy airport food unless I really had to since it's so very expensive.

Meredith said...

Thanks for all your tips! I SOOOO appreciate them! Thank goodness I am still nursing, or I would be a nervous wreck!

I ended up using my Sue Gregg cookbooks to find a hearty, whole-wheat muffin recipe loaded with fruit and fiber. I made mini-muffins for portability.

My kids won't eat much in the early morning on the way to the airport, so I splurged on Horizon organic yogurt smoothies for the drive ($1 each at Harris Teeter).

I've packed some enriched toddler crackers and mini-Ritz with peanut butter from Big Lots, along with a banana. I also bought a pack of organic fruit snacks for them to chew at takeoff. Big Lots is so great for snack foods--the convenience things I rarely buy are often there even in organic versions!

We're taking an empty sippee cup and an empty bottle of water to fill at the water fountain.