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Getting ready for a long flight with your little one and wondering about the best airplane snacks for toddlers that will keep them happy and satisfied in the skies? I’ve got you covered. Whether it’s a quick hop or a long-haul journey, picking the right snacks can make all the difference.
Here’s a top recommendation to start: Peanut butter sandwich squares. They are a fantastic option for young kids. They’re not only packed with energy but also hold up well over long trips. Easy to handle and not too crumbly, these squares can be a tasty and filling snack without causing a huge mess. Plus, they’re a good source of protein and can be made with whole-grain bread for an added health benefit.
Remember to check for any allergy restrictions for the passengers around you, but if you’re all clear, peanut butter could be a great way to keep those little tummies full until you reach your final destination. For longer flights, consider pairing these with fresh fruit like apple slices – they stay fresh at room temperature and are a sweet treat for little kids.
Just a quick reminder: Always check the TSA website – or your local government equivalent for the latest guidelines on what you can bring. Baby food and breast milk are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding the usual limits for liquids, but they might require additional screening.
Now, get those carry-on bags ready with these tasty treats, and you’ll be all set for a smooth and snack-filled flight with your toddler!
60 Airplane-Friendly Snacks for Toddlers
When you’re high above the clouds with a toddler in tow, the best airplane snacks are those that don’t demand a cold pack and can withstand a bit of turbulence without creating a Picasso on the tray table. For those long flights, it’s all about convenience and keeping young children content, without the hassle of ice packs or the worry of food spoiling. Luckily, we’ve put together 60 great snack ideas for your toddler to take on the plane, here they are:
- Sliced cucumbers – cool and hydrating.
- Rice cakes – light and crunchy.
- Mini rice rolls – easy to handle.
- Dried fruit – naturally sweet.
- Rice puffs – melt in the mouth.
- Cheese cubes – packed with calcium.
- Graham crackers – less crumbly than cookies.
- Oatmeal cookies – a wholesome treat.
- Pretzel sticks – fun to munch on.
- Air-popped popcorn – without added butter or salt.
- Banana chips – crunchy and sweet.
- Freeze-dried berries – no mess, lots of flavor.
- Roasted chickpeas – a protein-rich bite.
- Baby carrots – a satisfying crunch.
- Whole grain tortilla chips – a better alternative to potato chips.
- Nut-free trail mix – safe for allergies.
- Edamame – packed with protein.
- Snap peas – crispy and nutritious.
- Sunflower seeds (shell-free) – for a bit of texture.
- Mini bagels – a filling option.
- Seed crackers – packed with nutrients.
- Sugar-free gelatin cups – wobbly and fun.
- Plain yogurt in spill-proof containers – for a dose of probiotics.
- Applesauce pouches – no spoon needed.
- Cheese strings – fun to peel.
- Raisins – in small boxes for easy handling.
- Natural fruit leather – sweet without added sugar.
- Whole grain waffles – soft and chewy.
- Pita slices – pair with spreadable cheese.
- Blueberry muffins – made with whole wheat.
- Baked sweet potato fries – soft and sweet.
- Quinoa puffs – a light snack.
- Almond butter packets – for dipping or spreading.
- Roasted seaweed snacks – crispy and salty.
- Pea crisps – a veggie snack with a crunch.
- Unsweetened shredded wheat – a fibrous choice.
- Spinach and kale chips – for a green veggie boost.
- Pear slices – juicy and sweet.
- Zucchini bread – sneaks in veggies.
- Cauliflower tots – tasty and trendy.
- Sugar snap peas – a sweet veggie treat.
- Hummus cups – for dipping veggies or crackers.
- Sliced bell peppers – colourful and sweet.
- Baked tofu cubes – a soft, protein-rich option.
- Mini cornbread muffins – a touch of savoury.
- Fruit cups in natural juice – no added sugar.
- Gluten-free fig bars – for sensitive tummies.
- Nut-free granola – sprinkle on yogurt or eat solo.
- Veggie straws – less greasy than chips.
- Guacamole cups – healthy fats and flavours.
- Pumpkin seeds – a nutrient-dense nibble.
- Baked apple chips – a naturally sweet choice.
- Watermelon cubes – hydrating and refreshing.
- Organic fruit snacks – made with real fruit juice.
- Coconut flakes – a tropical twist.
- Chia seed pudding – in a portable container.
- Homemade mini pancakes – easy to eat.
- Cherry tomatoes – a burst of juiciness.
- Soy yogurt – a dairy-free alternative.
- Whole grain English muffin – with a spread of your choice.
These snack options aim to keep your toddler content and nourished from takeoff to landing, providing a balance of flavour, nutrition, and convenience.
Best Healthy Snack Options For Toddlers
Healthy snack ideas are a cornerstone of a peaceful flight with toddlers, especially on those long-haul flights where options may be limited. Here are some top healthy travel snacks that are perfect for young children and easy for parents to manage in a confined space like an airplane.
Hard-boiled eggs are a solid food item rich in protein and can help keep your toddler’s hunger at bay. They’re a filling snack and can be a good option for parents looking for something wholesome and substantial. Just peel them in advance for mess-free eating.
For a dairy delight, consider packing some individual portions of cheese sticks. They’re mess-free, don’t require spreading, and don’t come with the extra cost of pre-packaged snacks you’ll find at the airport. Plus, the calcium and protein are great for young kids.
Dried fruit, like raisins or apricots, can be a great airplane snack, providing a natural sweetness without the spike in sugar levels. They’re easy to pack in small plastic bags and don’t create a huge mess. Remember to balance these with other snacks, as the concentrated sugar content can still be quite high.
Whole grain cereal or oatmeal packets can be a surprisingly convenient and healthy option. Many flights offer hot water, which can be used to quickly prepare oatmeal. For cereal, you can bring an empty water bottle to fill after passing airport security, add some milk from the flight attendants, and you’ve got a healthy snack. Plus, the whole grains will provide lasting energy for those long trips.
Sippy cups or spill-proof containers with your child’s favourite beverage can be a lifesaver. Fill them with water after going through airport security to ensure your toddler stays hydrated throughout the flight.
For a vegetable fix, snap peas or sliced bell peppers are refreshing, hydrating, and packed with vitamins. They also provide that satisfying crunch toddlers love.
Lastly, don’t forget about food pouches containing pureed fruits and vegetables, which are a great way to include baby food for younger children without the need for spoons and bowls. They’re a healthy snack option, easy to consume, and some are even designed to be served at room temperature, making them a hassle-free snack for air travel.
By selecting a variety of snacks, you’re not just catering to the nutritional needs of your toddler, but also keeping them engaged with different tastes and textures. This approach minimizes fuss and maximizes satisfaction for both parents and young travellers, ensuring a smoother journey to your final destination.
Tips for Bringing Snacks on a Plane
When flying with toddlers, being prepared with the right snacks can make your air travel experience far more enjoyable. Knowing the TSA regulations and best practices for packing can save you time at the security checkpoint and ensure you have a happy, well-fed little traveller on your next flight.
Understanding TSA Regulations
First and foremost, familiarize yourself with TSA rules regarding what snacks and drinks you can carry onto the plane. Solid food items like sandwiches, granola bars, and crackers can be packed directly in your carry-on bags. If you’re carrying liquids or gels for your young children, such as baby food or breast milk, the TSA allows these in reasonable quantities exceeding 3.4 ounces, and they don’t need to fit within a quart-sized bag. However, they must be presented to the officers at the security checkpoint for additional screening.
Packing Strategies for Carry-On Luggage
When it comes to organizing snacks in your carry-on, clear plastic bags are your friend. They can be easily scanned by security and also allow you to see and grab snacks quickly during the flight. Using separate bags for different types of snacks can help keep things organized—think one for dry snacks, another for fruits and veggies, and a separate one for any liquids or gels.
Snack containers specifically designed for toddlers, such as the Munchkin Snack Catcher, can also be incredibly helpful. These not only prevent spills but also allow toddlers to help themselves, which is a great way to keep them occupied.
Quantity and Accessibility
When deciding on the quantity, it’s a great idea to pack more snacks than you think you’ll need. Delays are common, and the last thing you want is to run out of food with no access to additional supplies. A good mix of protein, carbs, and fats will keep energy levels steady.
Accessibility is key during a flight. Keep the most frequently needed snacks in an outside pocket or at the top of your bag so you can get to them without rummaging. This is where an empty water bottle can come in handy, too. Once you’re through airport security, fill it up at a water fountain so you’ll always have hydration close at hand.
Lastly, remember that while flight attendants can often help with basic needs, they might not always be available right when your toddler needs a snack. Having everything within arm’s reach means you won’t be caught off guard at the first signs of a hungry whimper.
By following these tips and preparing in advance, you’ll ensure that snack time is one of the smoothest parts of your journey, keeping both you and your young kids content until you reach your destination.
Toddler Travel Nutrition 101
Travelling with toddlers presents a unique set of challenges, especially when it comes to maintaining a nutritious diet. It’s essential to prioritize travel-friendly foods that provide sustained energy and support overall health without causing discomfort during the flight.
Choosing the Right Types of Food
For young kids on the go, whole foods are the best option. Whole grain sandwiches with lean protein, like turkey or chicken, can be a great source of energy. Foods that are rich in fibre, such as fruits and whole-grain crackers, help maintain regular digestion, which is especially important during long-haul flights.
Hydration is another crucial element of travel nutrition. Dry airplane cabins can lead to dehydration much quicker than most realize. Encourage your toddler to drink water regularly throughout the flight. Bringing an empty sippy cup or a spill-proof bottle to fill up after passing through security can make this easier.
Foods to Avoid
It’s wise to avoid giving toddlers foods that are high in sugar, as these can lead to energy spikes followed by a significant drop, which might result in mid-air tantrums. Also, steer clear of overly salty foods, as they can exacerbate dehydration. Be cautious with new foods; a long trip is not the best time to introduce something unfamiliar that could upset your child’s stomach.
Additionally, try to minimize any foods that might create a huge mess. Stick to snacks that are easy to handle and won’t leave your seat looking like a battle zone. This will not only keep your toddler clean but also minimize the cleanup you have to do before disembarking.
When planning for the trip, consider your flight schedule and how it aligns with your toddler’s usual meal times. A good strategy is to have a substantial meal before the flight to mitigate hunger during the journey. However, having a variety of snacks on hand to offer at regular intervals can help prevent hunger-related fussiness. Offering something to munch on during takeoff and landing can also help with ear pressure changes, with the bonus of keeping your toddler distracted during these critical times.
Remember, while air travel can disrupt regular meal routines, sticking as closely as possible to your toddler’s normal eating schedule can help maintain a sense of normalcy and prevent hunger from turning into hanger.
By focusing on hydration, nutritious food choices, and smart meal timing, you’ll be setting the foundation for a more pleasant travel experience for you and your young children, ensuring that you all arrive at your destination ready to enjoy the trip.
Pre-Flight Prep for Your Toddler
Preparing for a flight with a 2-year-old means considering how to best balance their meals and snacks before boarding. A little planning can go a long way in ensuring your toddler is content, well-fed, and ready for the adventure of flying.
Pre-Boarding Meal Suggestions
Before heading to the airport, aim to give your 2-year-old a balanced meal. This meal should include a good mix of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats to provide sustained energy. For instance, a peanut butter sandwich on whole-grain bread with slices of banana offers both nutrition and appeal to young kids. The protein and healthy fats from the peanut butter will keep your child satiated, while the carbs provide immediate energy without too much sugar.
Balancing Meals and Snacks
The timing of this meal is crucial. Plan to have this meal finished at least an hour before you leave for the airport to allow for digestion and to prevent any discomfort during the journey to the airport. After this meal, avoid heavy foods that might make your toddler feel sluggish or uncomfortable.
When it comes to snacks, pack a variety of options. Fresh fruit like apple slices can be refreshing and won’t cause a sugar rush. Small portions of granola bars or yogurt tubes can also be good options, offering nutrition without filling them up too much before the flight.
Integrating Snack Time Into Pre-Flight Routine
Snack time isn’t just about eating; it’s an integral part of the pre-flight routine that can also serve as a distraction and comfort during the hectic process of getting to your gate. Having a snack before the flight can also help in situations where takeoff is delayed, and meal services are postponed.
Bringing familiar snacks from home can also provide a sense of comfort and routine, which is beneficial for toddlers when travelling. The familiarity can have a calming effect, which is always a plus before embarking on a flight.
Lastly, remember to use snack time as an opportunity for your toddler to hydrate. Offering an easy-to-drink-from sippy cup with water can keep them hydrated before the dry cabin air takes its toll.
With these pre-flight prep strategies, you can help ensure your 2-year-old is as comfortable as possible, setting the stage for a smooth takeoff to your next flight.
Creative Airplane Snack Box Ideas
Creating an engaging snack box for your toddler can turn snack time into an exciting activity on a flight. The key is to include a variety of textures and food groups, ensuring that it’s not just nutritious but also interesting for your little one.
Assembling a Visually Appealing Snack Box
Start with a colourful assortment of fresh fruit. Baby carrots and apple slices offer a satisfying crunch and are a hit with most young kids. For a dose of dairy, you can add cheese sticks or cubes – they’re a good source of calcium and protein, and their firm texture makes them easy to handle.
Variety is Key
Incorporating a range of textures and food groups keeps things interesting and caters to your toddler’s evolving palate. Soft foods like food pouches with pureed fruits or vegetables are mess-free and easy to consume, especially for younger children. Pair these with some whole grain cereal or cereal bars for a bit of crunch.
For protein, hard-boiled eggs can be a filling snack, or you can opt for granola bars that contain nuts (if allergies are not a concern). Peanut butter can also be a versatile addition – try spreading it on whole-grain bread or rice cakes.
Fun and Engagement
To keep your toddler’s attention, turn snack time into a game. Small containers or a Munchkin snack catcher can add an element of fun and minimize spills. They allow little hands to practice fine motor skills while they reach for their snacks.
Create little “snack packs” within the box using silicone cupcake liners or small, colourful containers to separate the snacks. This not only makes it visually appealing but also gives your toddler a sense of surprise as they discover what’s in each section.
Include a mix of familiar favourites and maybe one or two new snacks. The excitement of something new can be quite engaging for a toddler, as long as you’re confident it won’t cause any adverse reactions.
Finally, consider a ‘DIY’ element in the snack box. For example, provide individual portions of cream cheese and let your toddler spread it on a bagel or some crackers. This activity can keep them occupied and encourage them to eat.
By putting a little thought into your snack box, you not only provide nourishment for your toddler during the flight but also turn snack time into an entertaining diversion, keeping them occupied and content as you make your way to your final destination.
Packing Hacks for Toddler Snacks
Packing snacks for your toddler for air travel can seem daunting, but with a few hacks and the right materials, it can be a breeze. Efficiency is key, so here are some practical tips to make sure your snacks are packed in the best possible way.
Choosing the Right Containers
Invest in good-quality, spill-proof containers. Munchkin snack catchers are great for dry snacks as they prevent spills and give your toddler easy access.
For liquids or semi-solids like yogurt or applesauce, airtight containers with secure lids are a must. We’ve loved the Yumbox containers which we’ve used for years for our oldest’s school lunches. They do claim they are leakproof, but that isn’t always the case for super liquidy things like yogurt or applesauce but if you keep the case reasonably upright most of the time the contents do stay apart quite well. Silicone tubes or reusable food pouches are great for mess-free snacking and can be easily held by small hands.
To keep snacks like fresh fruit or string cheese at a cool temperature, use small ice packs. They are TSA-compliant as long as they’re frozen solid when going through airport security. Wrap these ice packs with paper towels to absorb condensation and prevent other snacks from getting soggy.
Plan and prep your snacks ahead of the flight. Portioning out snacks into individual servings not only saves space but also makes it easier to hand a snack to your toddler without fuss during the flight. Utilize stackable containers that can neatly fit into each other to save space in your carry-on bags.
Use a separate bag or a compartment in your carry-on specifically for snacks. This makes it easier to find what you need without having to rummage through other belongings. Clear plastic bags can be handy for grouping together smaller items, and they allow flight attendants to quickly see what’s inside, making the security check a smoother process.
Pack the snacks you’re likely to use first on top or in an easy-to-reach spot. It’s a good idea to have a few snacks ready in your seat pocket if you can’t access your overhead luggage right away.
By planning ahead and packing your toddler’s snacks in an organized and efficient way, you ensure that you have one less thing to worry about during your journey. This preparation means you can focus on the excitement of the trip with your young kids, rather than the stress of rummaging for snacks mid-flight.
Wrapping Up The Best Airplane Snacks For Toddlers
Wrapping up, keeping your toddler happy and well-fed on a flight boils down to choosing the right snacks and packing them smartly. Remember, long flights demand snacks that are not only nutritious but also engaging. Peanut butter on whole-grain bread, fresh fruit, and individual portions of cheese and crackers can be both satisfying and entertaining for your little traveller.
Always check the TSA website for updates on what you can bring on board and use those ice packs to keep baby food and yogurt tubes cool. Explain to flight attendants that you have baby food and breast milk with you; they’re usually more than willing to help.
With your snack box filled with great airplane snacks and your carry-on bags organized efficiently, you’ll be ready for your next flight. And don’t forget to hydrate—bring an empty water bottle to fill up once you’re through security.
Finally, planning and prepping snacks ahead of your travel day will always be the best way to ensure a smooth trip. With these tips and a little bit of creativity, snack time can be a breeze, giving you more time to enjoy the journey and the destination with your young kids. Safe travels and happy snacking!