Baby tales, Travels

Kids travel| mealtime|Eating on the road|Tips from 10 traveling families

Traveling with kids can be fun and rewarding, if you have the right outlook and temperament to handle it. It will inevitably go out of hand at some point but fret not, it shall pass and you can have that trip of a lifetime that you’ve dreamed about. Read on to see how you can handle travel kids mealtime during your travels.

Find out what 10 traveling families do to manage their kids meals during travels

Don’t get upset

Priyadarshini – Glorious Sunrise

When on a vacation, be it a just a road trip for the day or for a week, it is important to not get upset if the kids don’t eat what you serve them. If you forget this, you risk spoiling the vacation mood. After all, they are kids and their tastes change, behavior changes depending on the environment.

Have fun and make the trip memorable. Pack all their favorite snacks that are healthy like fruits, fig bars, animal crackers, and juice boxes.  Try to keep the snacks non-messy to save your car seats and floor 🙂 So, you need not worry too much if they don’t eat enough at mealtimes.

Snack preparation is key for road trips with kids

Cath – Battle Mum

We’ve done a few road trips with our son and one thing we always do during our preparation is to ensure we have enough snacks for two reasons. Firstly, in case we don’t find suitable food to eat
during pit stops. And secondly, to help combat boredom, which can happen when travelling with kids. I typically prepared a lunch box of fruit and some sandwiches we will all eat. I also bring dried fruit such as raisins and frozen yogurt pouches. A few biscuits might also find their way into our car.

Preparing this way means you can also pit stop wherever you want. And we always ensure we have plenty of water in the car, especially if the temperatures outside rise. We’ve even helped some
fellow travelers by replenishing their water from our stock on hot days.

Raid the Breakfast Buffet!

Keri – Our Globetrotters

Travel kids meal time

You don’t know the pain of meal times away from home until you have a fussy eater. We have found the least contentious meal of the day (and as your mum no doubt reminded you a hundred times the most important!) is breakfast.  We always try to find accommodation that will include a breakfast buffet when we travel so that everyone’s tastes are satisfied with a wide range of choices.

A buffet takes the pressure off having to make menu choices and modifications (especially important if you are dealing in a foreign language) and always has a lot of carb rich foods such as fruits, breads and cereals, wonderful for getting you through a good portion of the day before the hunger pangs hit.  Just in case they do, we always make sure to grab an extra apple, cereal bar or little pastries –   perfect for the handbag and to stave off the mid-morning munchies!

Pack & go

Lori – Fitz 5 On the go

When we traveled through Europe we quickly learned that the best way for us enjoy our food is to pack our meals and snacks.  Our backpack will often contain easy peel oranges, apples, peanut butter wraps (just tortilla shells and peanut butter), cheese (usually Baby Bellas) and pepperoni.  We like to stop by the local market in the morning and grab a few freshly made baguettes.  We eat at parks, playgrounds, museums and just along the street.  It’s more affordable and a lot easier. We don’t have to set aside time to go find food so we have more time to explore. The kids like the snacks food better, it’s generally healthier and we don’t spend lunch going “sit still, it’s coming, put that knife down …”  It worked so well for us we now do this at home too.

Don’t wait for them to get hungry

Marta – Learning Escapes

My best tip to make meal time easier when travelling is to make sure you have your meals before the kids are excessively hungry. We learned this during our first trip abroad. My kids are not the most adventurous eaters and so, in an attempt to make meals out easier, I thought a good idea would be to make sure were would go to a restaurant when they were hungry… Surely they would eat anything if the time was right… right? It turned out, I was oh so wrong! Hungry kids are not more open to try new things but rather, much less. Hunger is hard to handle for them and  presenting them new food at that time caused them distress and frustration. From that moment on, I considered myself warned: any adventurous culinary adventure must start on a full, rather than empty stomach!

Keep them busy

Margie – DQ Travel Blog

One tip I have for handling mealtimes with kids while traveling is to keep them busy while we wait for our food. After we sit down, discuss the menu and order, we usually have a recap of our favorite moments of the day. We then discuss the upcoming day and what we are looking forward to doing or seeing. After that, we break out the “entertainment”. We try to bring paper and a pen/crayons for drawing and coloring, and a small set of trivia and discussion cards. Depending on the kids’ preferences that day, we ask the questions prompted on the card and take turns answering them. The cards vary from “what would you do if…” type questions to “if you had to rename a city what would it be and why”. Overall, meal time is a great wrap up and discussion time to our long days of travel.

Start before the trip

Emily – Kids & Compass

travel kids mealtime

What do you do if your kids are really fussy eaters and will only eat familiar foods?  It’s often really difficult to get my small kids to eat anything that looks different or has a strong flavour.

A trick that I’ve come up with is to ease them into eating new foods by taking a practise run (or several) first.  Later this year we’re heading to Japan where the cuisine is one of the highlights of a visit… except for picky kids!  As the food we’re going to encounter is going to be very different to our usual fare we’re going to be getting takeaway from our local Japanese restaurant until the kids get used to how Japanese food looks and tastes – that way we will minimise the risk of food-meltdowns when we’re away.

Carry your own food & cutlery

Cerise – Enchanted Vagabond

We started our lives as parents as international travelers when we traveled to Ethiopia and Vietnam to adopt our young kids years ago. To manage meal times when we are traveling the world or in Taiwan where we live as expats, the kids now ages 7 and 11 always carry their own metal straw, chopsticks and spoon set and a few packages of instant ramen or favorite soup packet.
These travel hacks help us avoid middle of the night hungry kids when we arrive late to a new destination or are awake at odd hours from jet lag. We can always get hot water for making noodles, and with utensils we can easily manage yogurt or cereal in our vacation rental or hotel. The kids like carrying their own utensils and reducing the use of plastic straws. I like knowing we won’t be experiencing a hunger-induced crisis when we travel!

Start young

Ketki – Dotted Globe
I have traveled a lot with my toddler including on month long trips to 4 different countries and taken him on road trips through various US States. He is not yet 3 years old but has eaten Ceviche in Chile, salmon Carpaccio on Easter Island, pigeon in Qatar, roadside Bhelpuri and other Chaat in India, dumplings in China, and Cajun boiled lobster in New Orleans. But the best part was, he really liked it all. What worked for us was slowly introducing him to different textures, tastes, spices and cuisines right from the time he started eating solids at 4 months. We let him develop a taste for variety of foods rather than pushing him towards the familiar foods. Now we seldom carry food for him when we travel and never have issues in finding a suitable restaurant when traveling.

Travel kids mealtime tips from Deexterous:

Have some go-to foods like Pasta that you can always fall back on

Try to get them used to certain easy & readily available foods like Pasta. It can be easy & almost mess-free.

Puree fruits & veggies and freeze them till you travel

Prep work always helps. Leaving for a trip can be hectic so I always suggest to puree fruits & veggies before hand. They store well for months in the freezer.

Keep screens out of the dinner table

It is convenient to get your parenting tasks done if you push a screen in front of your kid. It’s fuss-free & low maintenance, right? Wrong! It’s a vicious cycle that you won’t be able to wiggle out of – ever! Also when babies are distracted, they tend to not care about what they are eating. Read my detailed post on keeping your baby screen-free.

Eat together as a family

From when you start feeding your kid around the 6 month mark, make this a priority. Eat as a family, at least 1 meal a day. It is difficult to match schedules but make it work for your sanity for future.

Tot seat is a great product for traveling families

Totseat is a phenomenal product that many of my fellow family bloggers had recommended. We’ve used it on multiple trips and really love the convenience of having a high chair when we are out & about. It is really simple to use and easy to carry!

Keep hydrated but avoid after 6 PM

Breastfeeding is the easiest. I found it less cumbersome than carrying bottles and formula. I now carry empty bottles and always stock up on water whenever I can.

Take breaks during long road trips

Consider taking breaks at meal times. Don’t compromise

Baby-led weaning

I strongly believe in BLW. Not the extreme case. I do a combination of feeding him, but after I’m done with letting him explore his food on his own.

Don’t distract or disguise food

Always tell your kids what you are feeding. Hopefully this helps them understand food

Bookmark recipes

Few websites I recommend for recipes:

Yummy Toddler Food

Baby Foode

AVOID sugar and chocolates

This is for kids of all ages. While dark chocolates are great anti-depressants, sugar spikes will always disrupt your plans. They play with the kids brain wiring and leave them cranky a few hours after consumption.

Hope this post helps you in your next journey with the kids!

Much love,

Mama Dee

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10 thoughts on “Kids travel| mealtime|Eating on the road|Tips from 10 traveling families

  1. Isnt it amazing how becoming a mom you literally become superwoman. I never knew I could get creative but mommyhood did that.
    I love the tips these mommies shared.

  2. Great points and tips shared here. Whenever I travel with kids I make sure we always have a good stash of snacks handy for their untimely hunger. We try to keep it all healthy but chips etc are allowed once in a while.

  3. That was quite detailed. All of these are handy tips even for adults. Finding a right place to eat while travelling is hard. Will try this.
    #MyFriendAlexa #literarylehareads

  4. That’s a helpful post …My son is 3.5 and has tasted almost every Indian food. I started adding a bit of spices (apart from salt) in his food when he was 8 months old and so now I feel he is habituated. Luckicly I dont have a picky eater and so dont face much problems when we are out.

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