Mom Nancy writes:
Hello Lovely Pretty Mir!
My question pertains to a family trip (9hour flight) we’re taking mid-January with three kids under age 9 — one with a peanut allergy. I need some suggestions for snacks in their carry-ons that won’t have them all sugar-high half way through the flight, and that won’t cause a need to break out the Epi-pen. Every kind of snack/cereal bar I look at is either loaded with high fructose corn syrup, or may contain peanuts.
I remember you mentioned packing your own snacks when you went to BlogHer, and I recall Monkey was a no-nut kid as well. So I’m hoping you’ll have some great suggestion that Iâ€™m obviously overlooking. I’m limited to regular supermarkets — no Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods within an hour of me.
Any other flight tips are welcome as well!
Ask and ye shall receive, Nancy!
First of all, if you go back to this post about flying with children, you’ll find not only my tips but a ton of awesome reader input on entertaining kids on a plane. Great stuff in the comments, there.
Second: Snacks. I love snacks. I love to eat them, I love to talk about them. I… think I love you, Nancy. (Was that too much? I think it may have been. Sorry.)
Anyway. Here’s the thing about me and trips and the kids. Although we eat what I would consider fairly healthy food 99% of the time, I think a long trip is a good time to bend the rules. So, sugar? High-fructose corn syrup? Bring it on. I don’t actually mind those things as an occasional indulgence, and in fact usually leverage the impending goodies in my favor. (“If you don’t behave, we will not be taking the Pez dispensers on the plane,” etc.)
Now, having said that: I still have plenty of relatively healthy favorite snacks. For a trip like this, I’d encourage you to pack an insulated lunch bag for each child, filled with more food than you think you could possibly need, and then they can graze whenever they’re hungry. So here are my suggestions:
- Fruit. Check and make sure that you’re not traveling somewhere that forbids the transport of produce. If that’s not an issue, go nuts. Apples and oranges will travel better than bananas, obviously, because you don’t have to worry about them getting squished. Grapes are a favorite, too, and can be frozen beforehand to stay nice and cool for the day.
- Veggies and dip. Again, you need to check into produce transport. And you need to have kids who will actually eat them. But my kids love carrot “chips” (I buy them in a bag in the salad aisle, already cut), celery, green pepper, green beans, and cucumbers. Throw in a little container of ranch dip and they’re good to go.
- Robert’s American Gourmet. I can buy this stuff at my grocery store, but if you can’t, definitely check it out on Amazon through the link. We have yet to try a Robert’s American Gourmet snack which we don’t all immediately love. I recently order a case of Chaos when buying Amazon groceries (and using the coupon code GROCERY3 to save $10 off of my $49+ order), and the kids are crazy for it. We also like the various “Booty” snacks, the Tings, and the Veggie Chips. I love this company; all of their snacks are relatively healthy, free of artificial stuff, and delicious.
- Make your own trail mix. I haven’t done this much, lately, because my son outgrew his peanut allergy and now we can eat commercial mixes… but the kids always loved this. Mix together popcorn, favorite cereals, raisins, dried cranberries—anything they like, really. You’re just making a nut-free trail mix.
- Cheez-Its. It seems silly to mention this, but this is the go-to snack for us in a pinch. Everyone likes them, they’re relatively filling, and now that you can buy the “White Cheddar” flavor, they’re not even electric orange. Works for me.
- Cookies. Cookies? Yes, cookies. This is another of my cheats: I bake semi-healthful options (oatmeal raisin, banana wheat germ) (yes, really… stop looking at me like that) and then pass them out as if they’re candy. The kids are impressed and I still feel okay about what they’re eating.
The biggest trick, I think, is to pack individually for everyone. And that doesn’t mean buying single-serving packs of everything; snack-size Ziploc bags are your friends. Pack a large variety in an easily-accessible manner, and I doubt you’ll have any complaints.
Have a wonderful trip!