Friday, October 14, 2011

Flying with kids: favorite snacks & how I pack them

When you're flying with kids, it's a good idea to pack some familiar snacks in your hand luggage. Of course, you can usually buy snacks and food at the airport or on board the plan, but bringing snacks is often cheaper, and you can pick things you know your kids like and will eat. Hungry kids on long flights are no fun (neither are hungry adults!).

Snacks on a plane should not be too sticky or messy: that's just asking for trouble. Anything chocolate covered, for example, is just a disaster waiting to happen. I also try to bring a bit of a selection of savory and sweet along. Here are my favorite five snacks to bring for my own kids:
  1. Granola bars - These make good travel snacks, and I usually bring a big supply just in case the kids won't eat the on-board food, or if we end up delayed somewhere along the way. My kids especially like the Quaker Chewy Granola Bars. Just make sure you don't get chocolate covered granola bars. The chocolate will probably melt in your child's hand and end up everywhere.
  2. Pretzels - I go for the smaller pretzels: alphabet pretzels, waffle-shaped ones, or Tiny Twists, just because they are easier to pack in small containers.
  3. Crackers - I've brought various versions of the kiddie-friendly Goldfish crackers, but my kids also love the Breton Mini Crackers and Vinta Crackers
  4. Raisins - a sweet treat that isn't sticky, and feels more nutritious than many other sweet snacks you can bring along (though fruit roll ups are nice too, though they tend to be a bit sticky which can be a problem).
  5. Muffins - On my last trip with the kids, I bought some muffins at the airport and brought on one of the flights. I might do that again because it was a big hit. Next time though, I might try to bake them at home (because I am a bit of a baking freak). I'll also try to bring mini muffins rather than the big ones, just because they're easier to pack in a container, and easier to eat without making a crumbly mess. Blueberry muffins, banana muffins, lemon poppy seed... pick a variety your kids like and you've got a great travel snack.

When I fly with the kids, I also bring some candy along, stuff I know they really love. I use these special treats when the kids are getting very bored or antsy (for example when we're waiting in a long lineup). I find it helps take their minds off whatever might be bugging them for a bit, hopefully long enough for the mood to pass. I usually bring:
  • Lollipops - because my daughter loves them
  • Fruit Gummies - because that tiny bit of fruit juice makes them slightly better for you than straight up candy, right?
  • Smarties - because they are chocolate, but won't melt in your hand (or in your bag)

To pack the snacks I bring:
  • Plastic containers with lids - For example the Lock & Lock Containers. These are awesome for pretty much any kind of snack and keep them from getting crushed in the hand luggage.
  • Ziploc bags - Bags won't protect snacks from being crushed, but are good for sturdy snacks, and also for garbage and leftover, half-eaten snacks.
  • Lunch bags/boxes - I usually put the snacks (packaged in containers or bags) for the kids into a lunch box that then goes into their hand luggage. That way, the snacks are easy to find in the hand luggage.
  • And I always, always bring one Litterless Juice Box per child. I pour any drinks they get on board into these, and it really helps avoid spills.


  1. excellent list. i'm off on a very long flight, and was out of snack ideas.


  2. Thank you! And have a good flight. I'm not heading out with the kids again for another couple of months. Thinking mini-blueberry muffins for that trip!


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