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?