Having travelled quite a few times long haul with children I’ve discovered what snacks are good and what snacks cause so much mess they are not worth taking. In just over a week I will travel from Brisbane to Dublin (24 hours) solo with 3 kids (5, 3 and 11 months old). Which one is going to be the most challenging? Ha, by far the 11 month old. She does not want to sit still and there is no chance I can entertain her on my lap.
Kids snack, all day. Adults can survive on 3 meals a day but kids seem to need to eat about 5 to 6 times a day! Although the airplane will provide food for 2 of my children, that food may not come at suitable times and may not be something that they want at that time. As Little F is 11 months old she is termed an infant which means they will provide baby food (aka jars of puree). Little F has never eaten puree as I introduced proper wholefood at 6 months. Somehow I don’t think jarred puree will keep her happy. This means I will share my food with her and will bring snacks to keep us all going.
In the past I’ve brought lots of different things. I now know, non-messy food is important as there is nothing worse than a sloppy mess in your bag (picture a mashed banana or deteriorating grapes)! The airplane environment is different, the air is dry and sometimes quite hot, the pressure is stronger – this means food does not last as long as it would in normal circumstances. Also you are carrying it with you for a long time.
The biggest thing I want to avoid on a 24 hour trip with my kids is sugar! Yes it’s easy to give them a treat to keep them quiet but they don’t stay quiet for long and I cannot deal with sugar highs and sugar crashes while travelling alone with little kids. Here are 10 non-messy portable snacks that I will be bringing with me next week. Keep in mind, I will not bring much of each thing as I know the airline will provide plenty of food, these are just extra snacks to keep us going.
1 Frozen muffins (sweet and savoury).
Our first flight is over 14 hours through the night so these snacks won’t be needed until the next day. This is why I will bring them frozen, so they last longer. This week I made 2 varieties; carrot and pumpkin and banana and blueberry. I’ve already given them to the girls so I know they like them. I made them as mini-muffin size so they are easier to eat and gone quicker. You don’t want a child struggling through a larger muffin while dropping crumbs everywhere. You are spending a lot of time in your seats so you want to keep them as clean as possible. They are packed full of fruit and vegetables so they are healthy and of course sugar-free. Generally the muffins offered from the food trolley on a flight are processed and full of sugar so I want to avoid this as much as I can. See note above about sugar highs! I will be using some recipes from my Healthy Recipes section, check them out here.
This is a staple go-to for all of my girls. They all love fruit and it’s a nutritious snack. In the past I’ve brought an array of fruit, some of which doesn’t travel too well. This time I will be bringing apples, mandarins and an avocado cut in half (I’ll ask for a spoon and Little F will eat it as a snack).
Our girls are weet-bix kids, they love the stuff. It’s healthy and filling and so portable. Throw a few biscuits of it into a zip-lock bag and off you go. This will do as a snack or as breakfast, if they don’t like what is on offer. I plan to ask for milk, spoons and bowls (they always have something suitable to use as a bowl).
4. Corn Thins (similar to rice crackers)
These are a favourite in our house. They can be eaten by themselves, and often are, or spread with something. As I will have the avocado I can use that or will just ask for butter. They are dry and mess-free.
5. Frozen pancakes
Again I will bring these frozen, by the time I need them as a snack they will be defrosted. I have a quick, easy, sugar-free recipe that the girls love and again can just ask for something like butter to spread on them. I am keeping it as simple as I can!
6. Frozen bread
Yes simple but easy. It fills a gap and is non-messy. I will bring a few frozen slices in a zip-lock bag. My girls would eat it plain but I will ask for a spread from the hostess. I know long-haul planes even has toasters (for first class) so could potentially ask for it toasted. The key here is ask when everything is quiet, no point in annoying the hostess when they are busy – you’ll get nowhere.
7. Frozen raw balls
Everybody loves raw balls/bliss balls. Well I know everybody in my family does. I make them full of good nutritious stuff, like sweet potato/pumpkin, nuts, coconut, oats etc. They keep you full and taste yummy. Again I will bring these frozen to ensure they don’t turn into a mushy mess. These will pass as a treat for the girls when I need to confiscate the sugar-filled treats that come in the kids meals.
The day we fly I will make a small batch of popcorn and put portions into zip-lock bags. I won’t bring much but this is a nutritious, filling non-messy snack. Unfortunately it’s not suitable for Little F though. She hasn’t had popcorn before and I wouldn’t risk that choking hazard on the plane!
These are for me. My girls don’t really like whole nuts but love peanut butter. I’m unsure when I’ll be able to eat, considering I’ll have a baby on my lap, so I want a few protein rich foods to keep me going. I always have an array of nuts in my pantry so will put a mixture into a zip-lock bag
10. Long-life milk
In the past, when travelling with my kids when they were younger, we always brought milk – they seemed to turn into milk monsters while on the flight and wouldn’t eat any food. I know now that they are older so this won’t be the case but still they associate flying with ‘airplane milk’. They call small cartons of long-life milk airplane milk. These are perfect as a snack as they don’t need to be kept cold and my girls like room temperature milk. Little F is breastfed but as I am travelling with a baby I get the concession of taking more than 1 litre of liquids on board. Others will know that you can bring formula etc and I’ve never had a problem bringing milk. These will be seen as a treat to my girls and they will be excited about their airplane milk!
So that’s it, wish me luck!