We all know how we feel after a day of eating junk while traveling – that dull headache, the fatigue, an uneasy stomach (perhaps constipation) and a touch of irritability. The same applies to our little ones, although they don’t have the option to reach for a cup of coffee to get through.
We end up carrying them through the airport, bribing them with more treats to avoid yet another meltdown, and tolerating more than we can handle. Wouldn’t it be great if our kiddos arrived at our destination feeling energized, nourished and somewhat level-headed (gasp!)? It’s possible and we’d love to help.
First off, the elephant in the airplane is the air quality, with germs circulating throughout the petri dish called the cabin. Ewwww. Our immune systems are vulnerable, and aside from disinfecting your tray table and seat (our favorite product for this), a powerful safeguard is to eat healthy foods that help boost your immune system. Hello, vitamins…peace out, germs!
With a little planning on the front end, your trip’s success won’t be derailed before you arrive. The key is to start with REAL food and layer in some of the healthiest packaged snacks available. Sorry people, this means leaving the Goldfish crackers, cookies and gummies at home. PSA: Unfortunately even the organic snacks are still filled with sugar and processed ingredients. Eating in the airplane usually involves lots of distractions (movies, iPads, new people) so you may be surprised at how easily it is to get your kids to eat healthier options.
Involve your kids in packing their own snack boxes. Make mini meals filled with fruits, veggies, whole grains and protein options. Put out healthy options for them to choose from. Rinsing, chopping and placing them in the little compartments (or their own baggies) makes them feel responsible for the snacks that they select. Avoid lecturing them about how healthy these foods are…instead, focus on pointing out the delicious flavors and vibrant colors. We love Yumbox & PlanetBox! The snack size is perfect for short flights and the standard size is ideal for longer flights or flights during mealtimes.
Here are our favorite snack foods to get you started:
- Any and all veggies (snap peas, carrots, celery, sweet peppers, etc)
- Easy to grab fruits (sliced apples, berries, sliced melon, or unsweetened dried fruit)
- Nuts and seeds (sunflower seeds, pine nuts, cashews, almonds, pistachios, pumpkin seeds)
- Other protein options (organic cheese, hummus, sliced or rolled organic deli meats) and whole grain crackers (we love Mary’s Gone Crackers)
For fun, kid-friendly combos try:
- Prep mini almond (or sunflower) butter and jelly sandwiches with crackers or whole grain bread.
- Make a green smoothie in advance and pack it in their sippy cups. Not only does TSA allow drinks for kids…you can also mask the green color in a sippy cup.
- Pack a whole avocado (pre-sliced in half) and simply scoop out the inside with a spoon. Eat plain or on crackers.
Fill in with healthy packaged snacks. We’ve rounded up some of our kid-approved favorites…
- WholeMe Grain-free Clusters – They taste like dessert but are made with REAL simple ingredients. They pack a big protein punch.
- Navitas Power Snacks – These little nuggets are full of antioxidants from unsweetened dried fruit and protein thanks to the hemp seeds.
- Kids RX Bar – The egg whites add a boost of protein and the dried fruits make it seem like a sweet treat.
- That’s It Bars – Just unsweetened dried fruits. Really, that’s it.
- GoMacro Bars – Vegan macrobiotic bars with a subtle sweetness. Available with cashew, almond, peanut and sunflower butter options.
Reminder: Don’t forget to plan your own snacks. Do your best to show by example (i.e. don’t munch on Twizzlers if you want yours kids to eat carrots and kale chips).
Hopefully these tips help keep you and your adorable kiddos off the sugar rollercoaster and keep their moods more stable. Bon voyage!
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