As more families return to travel by plane this year, I want to share some of my best airplane snacks for toddlers and kids. Whether you are heading out on a long flight or even just road trips, it is a good idea to pack plenty of snacks to keep the whole family happy! During a long travel day, get those carry-on bags ready with plenty of healthy snacks (and some treats too)…a great way to perk weary toddlers and young kids alike.
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Prep your carry-on bags for security
When you plan airplane travel with toddlers and kids, prep your carry-on bags for airport security. I find that TSA security line varies in rules from city to city, particularly in regards to how they screen food items. My best snack-packing tips include: check the TSA’s website for the latest info on what you can bring on board and remove snacks from your bags before they enter the screener.
If your toddler needs baby food or breast milk, they are both allowed in your carry on luggage. You are also allowed to bring breast milk in your carry-on, even if your baby is not traveling with you. Most likely, you should remove these from your backpack before entering the security line and place them into the bins for easy scanning. Be sure to also pack ice packs or freezer packs to keep breast milk at the proper temperature during plane travel. These inexpensive small freezer packs are a great option for a long trip.
Another great idea is to put snacks into resealable bags before you travel. You can either empty large snacks boxes and bags into the smaller bags or pack several snack bags into the resealable bags. The first time, I went through security in Orlando, I put various snacks throughout each child’s small backpack. I was then told to take every single item out one by one to be scanned. That was less than fun!
From now, I take the best airplane snacks out of the packaging and put them in gallon sized zip bags. That way, they are easy to grab and place into the bins. It is also helpful to have resealable bags to keep them fresh until we reach our final destination.
Lastly, resealable bags also prevent creating a huge mess from having an opened bag of Goldfish tilted in the bottom of the backpack. I find that my young children and my older kids enjoy helping me prep for our trip by packing our backpacks full of our favorite airplane snacks, alongside of our favorite airplane activities. If you choose to not use resealable plastic bags, pack rubber bands or clothespins to use as clips for your snacks.
These are a few of my favorites from Amazon.
Healthy Snacks: Best Airplane Snacks for Toddlers and Kids
When you brainstorm the best toddler airplane snacks, make a list of what excites your child the most while you are at home. It may not be the time to try new foods, strong unknown flavors, or anything that may be a choking hazard like nuts or popcorn. The last thing you will want to do is have an emergency on board!
Apple slices make a fantastic healthy snack on the plane. You can slice your own and store in toddler snack containers or buy prepackaged sliced apples. If you opt to slice your own, be sure to add a little lemon juice to prevent browning.
Granola bars make a great option and always make our list of the best airplane snacks. Some are messier than others, so consider testing them out before you pack them. Little kids usually love an option with chocolate chips or peanut butter, at least in our household!
Besides apple slices, consider providing other fresh fruit as well. Our kids enjoy easy peel clementine oranges, sliced grapes, bananas and pears. I usually pack some plastic grocery bags to serve as a temporary trash can during the flight to store any cores or peels. Fresh fruit makes a delicious and filling snack!
Nowadays, you can find rice cakes in a wide variety of flavors. Our kids love cheese, caramel and the plain varieties. If you are feeling brave, pack a small container of almond butter to add a bit of protein for a great snack!
If you plan to bring some refrigerated items, consider yogurt tubes, particularly for older kids. These make great options, especially if you freeze them the night before and allow them to partially defrost on your travel day. If you have young toddlers who may make a mess with yogurt tubes, these aren’t particularly toddler friendly snacks. Pass on these for now.
Baby carrots in individual portions make another great snack for air travel. My kids love the crunch and I love the healthy simplicity!
Fruit pouches make the best option for great toddler snacks. If your little one is new to solid food items, the food pouches make a great way to get some fruits and veggies while on the airplane. Also, the screw off lids make great stackers while traveling..so much fun!
String cheese or Babybel cheese
String cheese is an easy way to get some dairy into younger children during your travel day. The best part is there is very little clean up involved! Kids of all ages love to pull them apart. My own children like to pull one side apart while leaving the other side intact to make little brooms. Add a pretzel stick to the top and voila!
You can also try Babybel cheese which is a great option for great travel snacks. I love that they come with their own individual wrapper and you can easily spread them on top of crackers with a plastic knife.
What individual fun snacks should I pack for my toddler or older kids?
There is no doubt that packing some fun good snacks that your kids may not have on a daily basis can be fun too. It is a great idea to consider these fun snacks as a reward for good behavior on your way to your favorite place! Consider some individually portioned snacks for each transport. We find that bags of Goldfish or small Pringles containers make great options for the perfect toddler snack containers.
You can also pack a Munchkin snack catcher like the one below. I usually keep a couple in our diaper bag to distribute our own snacks easily, if I am using a larger bag to distribute amongst multiple children. They also help keep the car seat from getting covered in crumbs. The flight attendant probably appreciates less mess as well!
Here are a few of our favorite “fun snacks.”
Our kids love the variety of flavors and the easy to hold containers of the individual Pringles chips.
I don’t know what it is about Goldfish crackers, but they are simply the best snacks. We make a little mix of the cheddar, pretzel and rainbow ones, chomping while we stare out of the window seat.
Our kids love the treat of fruit snacks. I tend to buy the ones made from real fruit juice that I find at Costco. Our toddler eats these up while having some screen time on the plane.
If you have time before you leave, consider making your own snacks with a batch of homemade muffins. If you have an overnight flight, this can be a great option for early morning arrivals. It’s an easy way to fight off any blues from a lack of sleep!
If your little one is old enough to eat lollipops, consider throwing some in your bag to keep little ears from popping. For your older kids, keep some gum in your purse.
Pack a drink
Be sure to pack an empty water bottle and a sippy cup for your little one. Most airports have water fountains for refillable water bottles throughout the airport. Remember that flying causes dehydration so keep your kids (and yourself) hydrated while you fly!
We prefer stainless steel options to keep drinks nice and cold.
More tips on travel with toddlers
I hope this post encourages you to travel with your toddlers! Though it is not always easy, it is worth it! Some other tips to consider:
- Pack hand sanitizer and Lysol wipes to wipe down airline seats and tray tables.
- Take advantage of airport bathrooms to wash hands often.
- Pack comfortable pajamas to change into for overnight flights to encourage sleeping.
- Always bring a car seat on board, if possible. Check dimensions of the car seat and your plane’s seat to ensure it will fit.
- Consider packing an outfit change for yourself and your little ones. Accidents will happen!
- Also throw in a disposable bag for any dirty clothes and wet items.
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