Here’s a list of healthy, simple, and easy to store and carry travel foods for the family, including babies and toddlers. These plane or road trip meals and snacks will save you time and money while ensuring everyone gets good nutrition!
Whether you are traveling by car or plane, going anywhere takes on a whole new meaning when you throw little ones into the mix.
I’m not the type to overpack, quite the opposite actually, but now that I’m a mom, even weekend trips look like we’re flying to the other side of the world. I see you nodding.
With everything you need to pack and get done prior to leaving, I hope this list of easy, nutritious, and less messy foods will help ease your load!
With some planning ahead of time, you can rest easy knowing that your children will stay nourished and happy during the trip! You will be well prepared for when the hunger strikes.
Not to mention you’ll save a ton of time and money by not having to purchase foods from the gas station, fast food restaurants, or airport.
And all these ideas are great not just for traveling, but also for playdates, picnics, and school lunch boxes.
Food Storage Essentials
- Reusable containers - These bento boxes are great because they are already divided into compartments so there’s no need for extra sandwich bags or multiple containers. They are also lightweight and very sturdy. I recommend packing one for each of your family members.
- Reusable bags - cute and inexpensive for travel.
- Snack Catcher - I like to pack a big bag of dry cereal or puffs and I can easily fill into these cups. Can really help minimize mess, too.
- Refillable water bottle - You will save so much money and it's good for the environment. You can fill them up at gas stations, hotels, restaurants, airports, etc. This one is our favorite for toddlers and kids.
The Ultimate Road Trip Food List (and the plane)
Here's a list of best foods to pack! They are my less messy and easy-to-pick-up options. Be sure to modify the food size according to your child's age and chewing ability.
- Banana (pack both ripe and unripe ones)
- Blueberries (be sure to flatten into discs for babies)
- Grapes (cut lengthwise)
- Mandarin oranges
- Raspberries (see tips section below)
- Dehydrated or freeze-dried fruits (a great option for the plane, especially!)
- Squeezable or individual cups of applesauce
- Baby food pouches
- Homemade smoothies - transfer to resuable pouches
- Bell peppers
- Cherry or grape tomatoes (quartered)
Tip: If you have time, try cutting them into fun shapes using cookie cutters. My toddler is much more prone to eat them this way vs. chopped or sliced. Perhaps yours may too!
These are really great for babies, especially since the texture has to be soft. Root vegetables and winter squash are best for packing.
- Peanut butter - individual packets are super convenient as it allows you to simply squeeze some right on top of raw veggies, bread, etc.
- Nut butter
- Nuts and seeds (trail mix is great)
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Squeezable yogurt tubes (tip: freeze them!)
- Edamame (also add frozen!)
- Milk Carton (yup. Freeze)
- Individual portions of hummus
- Cream cheese wedges
- Canned seafood: I almost always take a can or two just in case. Mash and spread on top of toast or mix into pasta (definitely not for the plane!)
- Shredded or diced chicken (here's how to cook it perfectly every time!)
I recommend whole grains whenever possible!
- Cereal bars
- Cooked pasta - If your child likes legume-based pasta, like chickpea and lentil, it'd be an easy way to boost protein and iron.
- Granola bars
- Dry Cereals
- Rice cakes
All of these are easy to make and travel well! Combine these with any of the finger foods above for a healthy breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Baby Led Weaning Travel Food Ideas
All of the above recipes are suitable for babies 6 months and up. And here's a list of best finger foods and how to prepare them according to their age.
You may also be interested in this list of best first foods for baby.
- If you are on the road, be sure to make a short snack stop. It is dangerous for babies to eat in their carseats as they are not seated in the fully upright position. And eating in a moving car poses an even greater choking risk. Seat them on someone's lap or a portable chair, like this one! It's compact you can store the tray under the seat.
- Be sure to cook and cut the foods appropriately so they are safe for babies.
- This goes without saying, but avoid anything that could pose a choking risk.
Best Tips for Road Trip Food
- This is not the time to try new foods! Stick with what you know your toddler likes and be sure to include their favorite foods. If you discover some foods that you think will travel well, try them several times prior to the trip.
- Be sure to pack food in a cooler, especially during the summer months so everything stays nice and fresh!
- Place ice or freezer packs on TOP of the food rather than at the bottom.
- Eat the most perishable foods first. For instance, eat berries before longer lasting foods, like unripe banana and apples.
- Pack extra ice packs, and if you are traveling by car, purchase ice from a gas station as necessary.
- Don't forget to pack: anti-bacterial wipes, hand sanitizer, trash bags, ziplock bags, napkins, paper towels.
- Limit the number of times you need to open the cooler. l highly encourage you to label the meals and snacks so you can easily locate them, adding ones that need to be eaten first at the top.
Tips for Packing Food for the Plane
- Anything liquid or spreadable (e.g. yogurt, milk, juice, hummus, sunflower butter) - Make sure it follows the 3-1-1 rule : Transfer each item to a 3.4 ounce or less container and place in a clear 1 quart sized bag. Each passenger gets 1 bag.
- Here's how to travel with baby food, breast milk, and formula.
- All of the homemade travel food recipes I included above (minus the vegetable omelette) can last for a long time without refrigeration and can be enjoyed at room temperature. You can also freeze them and pack right before leaving for the airport.
- For foods that need to be refrigerated but can travel safely for several hours, such as cheese, hard-boiled eggs, and yogurt tubes, it’s a good idea to eat them earlier on in the flight.
- Limit peanut or other nut products. While they are allowed on planes, you just never know if any of your fellow passengers may be allergic.
- Fruits and vegetables are prohibited if flying from Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the U.S Virgin Islands to the United States mainland.
- If you're traveling abroad, check out my recap of our trip to Korea from when my son had just turned 2 years old.
Hope this was helpful! Happy Traveling. Now let's go and make incredible memories with our loved ones!