My 22 month old is at that age when you can’t leave
the house for more than an hour without bringing along a snack. Coincidentally, at 26 weeks, I’m at that same
stage in my pregnancy. Eating well is a
major priority for our family, and we try to keep it a priority even when we
are out and about. We’ve gotten pretty
good at packing snacks to take on a walk or to playgroup – but what about when
we will be out of the house for most of the day and will need to eat a whole
meal on the run?
Over the next week we will be taking a six-hour road trip
across the state and a few days later will be embarking on a trip to Mexico
which will have us boarding two flights and taking a substantial bus ride
before arriving at our destination.
These long travel days (or even an all-day excursion to the zoo) require
some planning so that we can stay on track with our nutritional goals – and feel
our best as we tackle what can be a challenging day.
The benefit of travel is that after so many hours of sitting in a car or on a plane - a snack is usually a pretty welcome distraction. Here is my go-to list of healthy (and acceptable to my toddler) foods to pack for travel:
Fruit. Some options that travel well include bananas, apples, mandarin oranges, grapes and berries (in a crush-proof container).
Cheese. String cheese, cheese rounds, or just slices right off the block of cheddar you have in the fridge.
Veggies. Sugar snap peas are our all time favorite for the road - but you can't go wrong with carrot sticks, cucumber slices, or pepper strips.
A bowl of... Anything really. You can only eat so many snacks out of resealable baggies. Even though packing a bowl (with a lid) and a spoon is usually too much hassle for a regular day, on longer days it can make a bunch of snacks feel more like a meal. Leftovers from dinner the day before, hummus for dipping veggies, yogurt, cottage cheese, veggie puree soup and brown rice, or applesauce are all good choices.
Sandwich. The ultimate portable meal. We like to make a batch of chicken, tuna, or egg salad with yogurt and shredded carrot or finely diced spinach and serve it on whole grain bread.
Hardboiled egg. Protein packed and self-contained.
Granola bars. We make our own (easier than you think!) and pack them full of oats, nuts, dried fruit and flax meal. I sweeten them with a bit of honey and use peanut butter as a binder. They feel like a treat, but really are quite nutrient packed.
Water. Of course. We always have a tumbler/bottle/sippy cup full of water.
Choosing several items from this list usually will get us comfortably through the day. Often we will supplement our packed meal with a purchased treat - like frozen yogurt or French fries. I'm ok making a compromise on a treat if I know we are eating well overall.
Do you pack food when you travel? What are your favorite on-the-go meals?