Travel Food: Easy Ways to Make Food Fun
How is school lunch packing going for you? Are you still packing Pinterest-worthy lunches or have you already thrown in the towel? We just started school last week, so I’m feeling strong with my SunButter sandwiches and fresh fruits and vegetables. I’m lucky that my 8 year old, Ella, likes consistency and could eat the same lunch every day for a year (or three). Still, I do try to switch things up as much as I can, while still providing foods I know she will eat. Today I’ll share some of the basic lunch foods I send to school which also work for travel food when flying. When packing food for a flight, remember the restrictions on liquids and gels. Anything that is not solid food needs to be in container that is 3.3 oz. (100mL) or less and fit within the Quart sized Ziploc bag that you will show separately at the TSA Checkpoint.
My daughter, Ella ate a Sunbutter* and Jelly sandwich every school day for over three years. I don’t feel bad about that. We supplemented with a good variety of fruit and veggies, and we knew she would eat the food rather than throw it away. Your child might prefer more variety, so here are some ideas for sandwiches that travel well:
- Sunbutter and Jelly
- Cream Cheese and Jelly
- Ham/Turkey/Roast Beef and Cheese
- Plain Cheese
- Peanut Butter and Banana
- Pepperoni and sliced Mozzarella cheese
- Cold Grilled Cheese
- French Toast with Cream Cheese Sandwich
- Fluffernutter (Marshmallow Fluff with Peanut Butter)
- Packaged Sandwich Bars
*Sunbutter is a great alternative to peanut butter for those with nut allergies. It is made from Sunflower seeds and has a very similar texture to peanut butter. Be aware that although rare, there are still some people who are allergic to sunflower seeds.
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Make things more fun with a sandwich cutter or sandwich press!
Vegetables don’t have to be boring! I am the first to admit I am lazy when it comes to preparing food. But if your child doesn’t like to eat a boring carrot stick you might find that a different presentation does the trick. Try cut or shredded veggies to try to peak their interest. Changing the cut of the veggies also changes the texture a little bit, so a child sensitive to textures might prefer them one way vs. another. I’m going to include dried veggies in this list, because they tend to be accepted by more kids and are great for travel. Just look at the ingredients to check for added junk. I prefer buying these packaged items from Trader Joes because I know that they don’t carry anything with preservatives, food coloring, or corn syrup.
Some of our favorites:
- Fresh Sugar Snap Peas
- Snap Pea Crisps
- Freeze-Dried Peas
Veggie Cutter Animal Shapes
There are a lot of fruits that travel well. Some of our favorites:
- Mandarin Oranges
Bananas bruise so easily but are otherwise a perfect travel food. I love the Banana Saver, a plastic case that protects the banana from bruising. I have even used this to pack bananas in my checked luggage and they have come out perfect, with no bruises.
Plane Cupcake Picks with Spoons
Maybe your child doesn’t like sandwiches or is just getting tired of sandwiches every day. Here are a few other ideas for packable food:
- Hard boiled egg
- Pizza Bagel
- Hummus & Pretzel Chips
- Cheese & Crackers
- Nuts (be aware of allergies)
- Granola Bars
- Cereal Bars
- Yogurt Tubes (Freeze and then it will be slushy when ready to eat. Remember if flying with these they must be frozen solid when passing through TSA Checkpoints.)
- Food pouches
- Banana (use banana saver to transport without bruising)
- Powdered food- I love these packets of powdered veggies and grains. Just add water and you have a meal! I mix this in a Boon Spoon to have the food ready to eat. Read my Nuture Me Review here.
If you’re traveling with a baby or toddler, packing food might seem even more overwhelming since there may be less food available that is suitable for them. Food pouches with pureed food are a parent favorite. You can stay within the TSA liquid requirements if you use pouches that are 3.3 oz. (100mL) or less, and put them in your Quart-sized Ziploc bag to show separately at the security checkpoint. Remember you get to bring one Quart-sized Ziploc bag per passenger, so if you purchased a seat for your baby that adds an additional bag you are able to pack.
Tools for Baby Food
Baby Food Scissors– Easily makes fresh food a safe finger food for toddlers
Food Dispensing Spoon– add cereal or puree to to container, then squeeze straight into the spoon.
Fresh Food Feeder or Mesh Feeder– Minimize the risk of choking; only small bits of food can get through
What are you favorite travel foods? Do you have any tools that make preparing food easier or more fun? Share with me in the comments below. If you have a blog post on the topic of travel foods, please share! I’ll pin it to my travel food Pinterest board.