10 good food items to take on a plane for toddlers (and a few to avoid)
Avoiding smelly foods will make you popular with your fellow passengers
Keeping your toddler happy and occupied at the airport and on planes is no easy task, as any well-traveled parent will agree, but don’t worry - food is often the key to keeping bored little ones content and distracted while you look after everything else. Now, where did we put the passports again?!
We’ve flown quite a few times with our children from them being babies right through to pre-teens, so here’s our top tips for the best snacks and treats to take with you on your journey, right through to your final destination.
Cereals such as Cheerios, golden corn balls and Rice Krispies are super easy to transport in snack-sized portions using small plastic containers. They’re also a healthy and relatively mess-free snack option that can be picked at over the course of the journey.
Raw veg sticks
Carrot sticks, sweet pepper chunks and cucumber batons are healthy, easy to prepare options. Again, chop up the vegetables and store in plastic containers, ready for when hunger strikes. These veggies can stay fresh for hours and are easy-to-hold snacks for little hands.
Mini rice cakes (and other pre-bagged dry snacks)
These tasty whole-grain snacks are great for keeping those tantrum-inducing hunger pangs at bay. They also often come in handy snack-sized bags, ideal for a quick hunger fix for small tummies. Brands such as Organix also sell interesting healthier bagged snacks such as vegetable puffs (a bit like crisps), and small bags of bread sticks.
If your small person needs a sugar hit, give them with a box of mess free raisins: perfect for little hands and getting a box of them is a real novelty.
This lovely food is an excellent snack choice as it’s a great source of calcium and comes in all sorts of varieties. String cheeses and mini Babybels are ideal as little ones love peeling them apart, and they remain in edible condition for a while. Or, if you prefer, you can simply cut up some cubes at home and bring them along with you, just try to avoid the smelly types, and only really take cheese on shorter journeys! Dairylea Dunkers are a good option as well as they come wrapped and in a plastic pot and keep things clean and more hygienic (don’t forget your anti-bacterial hand gel)!
Mini cookies are a slightly more calorific sweet treat without the crumbly mess of full-sized cookies. For a healthier alternative consider buying mini oatcakes which you can get in plain, cheese and fruit varieties.
Gnawing on melon: a good idea if you take extra bibs, wipes, clothes....or maybe not!
Fresh fruit slices
Pieces of fruit provide satisfaction for sweet-toothed toddlers and a nutritious serving of vitamins. Apple and melon are great choices as they’re easy to hold and not too juicy. Watch those wasps! Try squeezing a little orange juice over the apple slices to keep them from going brown. We’d avoid grapes, berries or orange slices as they end up turning to mush. Dried fruit is a good alternative and you can get all sorts of varieties including dried banana, pineapple, apple, coconut and more.
Roasted sweet potato cubes are a very nutritious and easy-to-prepare snack and another great way to keep hunger at bay. Simply roast and leave to cool before packing away in tubs and hey presto, a savory snack with a deliciously sweet taste. Our kids love things like olives on the move as well.
This toddler is happy with his sippy cup!
Empty cups and bottles
An empty sippy cup or bottle is a must-have on any plane journey, as you can’t take liquids through security. Once you’re through into the departure lounge, you can buy drinks to take on board or wait until you are in the air, when you can purchase drinks fill up as many times as you need, ensuring your little one stays hydrated and spill-free. Straws are also great to have on hand if your toddler is happy to drink from a glass. Buy water when you land, in case your onward (often warm) journey is delayed.
If an emergency tantrum occurs, don’t feel guilty when you present your little angel with a (sugar-free) lollipop! These must-have-in-your-hand-luggage items have saved us many times, especially when waiting in long, hot queues at airport check-in desks, whilst waiting for the resort transfer bus, on the resort transfer bus (how many stops?!), at passport control…we could go on!
The lolly: your new travel BFF
In-journey foods to avoid:
Common allergens like peanuts or peanut butter are best left at home. You’ll
be in close proximity to other children and adults who may suffer from nut allergies, so it’s safer for everybody to keep these snacks for another time.
Don’t take fragrant items such as hummus on board. Your fellow passengers won’t thank you for it!
Avoid eating and buying chocolate like the plague. We’ve suffered from ‘chocolate pants’ on many occasions where the chocolate escapes, melts and the adults end up sitting on it! Also, avoid highly taking or consuming highly coloured food on your journey otherwise the whole family will arrive at the hotel looking like extras from Avatar.
Try and avoid this holiday travel look