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?


  • ceciliam
    March 20, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    We do a lot of the things you listed. I always have mini bottles of water, as well.

  • KaylaMillar
    March 20, 2012 at 10:54 AM
    We do a lot if sandwiches, crackers, and fruit. We always have a cooker full of drinks
  • momkaribg
    March 20, 2012 at 10:59 AM

     This is what we do also.

    Quoting KaylaMillar:

    We do a lot if sandwiches, crackers, and fruit. We always have a cooker full of drinks


  • lalasmama2007
    March 20, 2012 at 11:05 AM
    Sometimes we pack food for long car trips. We pack mostly the things you mentioned...sandwiches, water, fruit and granola.
  • dusky_rose
    March 20, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    We do sandwiches, homemade cookies, chips and fruit of some kind. And of course something to drink.

  • elasmimi
    March 20, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    We don't pack a lot; crackers and fruit maybe. We do freeze bottles of water and drink them as they thaw.

  • goddess99
    March 20, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    We always take food when we go even an hour from home. I have a small cooler and always bring water, we pack grapes, bananas, crackers, and sometimes pb sandwiches.

  • Leelee1008
    March 20, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    we dont travel often, but I do have a 14 month old who requires snacks when we are out and about. for her I bring a sippy cup, and a juice box. She gets her gerber puffs, a fruit squeeze pouch too.

  • Leelee1008
    March 20, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    Thats what we do.

    Quoting KaylaMillar:

    We do a lot if sandwiches, crackers, and fruit. We always have a cooker full of drinks

  • ethans_momma06
    March 20, 2012 at 1:33 PM

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

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