Whether by plane, train or automobile, traveling with kids can pose some major challenges when it comes to eating healthy. But with a little planning, preparation and the decision to stick with it, good nutrition is possible on your next family trip. Here are a few tips to keep in mind, as well as a list of healthy snacks to pick up for your next family trip.
Stick to your normal eating schedule.
While traveling, it seems we’re constantly surrounded by food, which means your child will likely be interested in eating—even when they’re not hungry. Stick to the regular meal patterns you have at home. Snacking while traveling is always tempting, but this can lead your kids’ to create a less than ideal association between traveling and food.
Enjoy family meals.
Make dinner a special occasion. If your travels allow, try to sit down and have a full meal with your family, even if it’s at a restaurant. Your vacation is a great opportunity to explore new foods, but it’s always good to keep an eye out for healthy menu options. Try to share large entrees rather than ordering off the kids menu, which typically only includes less nutritious options like buttered noodles, chicken fingers and french fries.
Conquer the sweet tooth.
If your children already associate traveling with treats, have healthy alternatives at the ready. Dried fruit as well as freeze-dried fruits and veggies (our favorites include Karen’s Naturals and Snapea Crisps) are a few shelf-friendly items. Depending on where your family travels, fresh fruit may be available to satiate your kids’ sugar cravings.
Pack protein-heavy or whole grain snacks.
Consider bringing snacks that will fill up little tummies for the long haul, such as whole grains in the form of popcorn, whole grain cereal or crackers, oatmeal or KIND Healthy Grain Bars. You can also pack a sandwich with peanut butter and jelly, using any peanut butter alternative, along with chopped berries or bananas instead of jelly.
Lead by example.
If you overindulge while traveling, so will your kids. Be mindful that the example you set affects them now and in the future as they grow more independent and have more control over their diet.
Need a go-to guide for travel snacks? Check out our pediatric dietitian-approved, printable Shopping Guide for Healthy Kids Snacks. Keep it with you for your next trip, and you’ll have one less thing to worry about.