Mom to Mom

Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Eating Well On The Road
March 20, 2012 at 12:00 AM

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?


  • KristinRox
    March 21, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    We also freeze water bottles. Its good for keeping the water cold for the entire day. 

    Quoting LancesMom:

    Yes, we pack lots of fruits and vegies. I freeze water bottles to keep stuff cold and use to drink from! Sandwiches are our go to quick meal on the go!

  • KristinRox
    March 21, 2012 at 9:57 PM

    Ive also never had dried snap peas. I bet they are yummy. 

    Quoting carolina_gal:

     I've never had dried snap peas. Interesting.

    Quoting Wish2Be:

     I take fruit on ice sometimes.

    Mostly I take dehydrated snap peas, raisens, craisens, and granola...


  • KristinRox
    March 21, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    I forgot about gold fish. They are a staple for our travels. 

    Quoting NearSeattleMom:

    I used to pack food when my kids were young . . . usually goldfish crackers and string cheese. 

  • KristinRox
    March 21, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    We have 6 people in our family, and its definitely MUCH more cost efficient to pack stuff from home, rather then stop and eat on the way. 

    Quoting Kmakksmom:

    We don't travel much, but when we do it is cost effective for us to pack snacks and some food.  There are 7 people in our family.

  • Leelee1008
    March 21, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    we would do that as well. a day trip to the beach or a trip to the zoo we would pack our own sandwiches, and saved money on eatting out.

    Quoting ethans_momma06:

    I grew up in a fam that did. sandwhiches are the way to go.

  • Leelee1008
    March 21, 2012 at 10:48 PM

    We went for a weekend trip to the beach for my sils wedding this past summer. We packed alot of snacks and drinks for the whole weekend, we didnt have alot of money to eat out.

  • babyboxfish
    March 22, 2012 at 1:26 AM

    I have never heard of pepper strips oddly enough.  Thank you for these great tips!

  • Kainalu55
    March 22, 2012 at 2:57 AM

    i usually pack little snacks like crackers and granola bars as well as water bottles and capri sun

  • elasmimi
    March 22, 2012 at 7:31 AM

    Individually packed crackers, dried fruits, cheese sticks and juice boxes are favorites with us.

  • elasmimi
    March 22, 2012 at 7:32 AM

    Oh, we never travel w/o goldfish, lol.

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