You’re going on a holiday and you have a long flight ahead of you. You’re all ready to rock and roll!
The thing is, you’re not going alone. You have a child with you on this trip. Maybe two. Or three.
When prepping for long flights, the concern is never about the parents – it is always about keeping your little kids occupied and to a certain extent, well-behaved in the plane. You want a peaceful flight. You want to be able to hold on to your temper. You want to get there in one piece. (You know what I mean).
You’ve prepared coloring books. Stationery. Ipads. Toys.
What’s left is to prepare the yummiest snacks you can find that’ll keep your children’s mouths (and hands) busy. For 30 minutes, at least. Hopefully.
I’ve compiled a list of the best airplane snacks for kids you can absolutely bring along – they’re easy to pack, tasty and are not messy (maybe just a little).
Imagine packing awesome snacks and having to ditch them at the airport because they didn’t pass the screening process by the airport security team!
If that’s happened to you before, here’s a guide on what’s been approved so you know the types of toddler plane snacks you can prepare for your next flight (or even road trip!)
Baby Formula And Breast Milk
Carry on bags: Should the quantity exceed 100ml or 3.4oz, inform the officer at the beginning of the screening process.
Remove these items to be screened separately from your other belongings.
Things to know:
- Formula milk, breastmilk, toddler drinks and baby food are considered medically necessary items, and are allowed on the plane.
- TSA x-ray machines do not adversely affect food or medicine.
- Ice or freezer packs, gel packs and liquid filled teethers are also allowed on board.
Carry on bags: Amount to be less than or equal to 100 ml or 3.4oz.
Things to know:
- You can bring an empty sippy cup or empty water bottles on board and fill those up with water in the plane, after you’ve gone through the screening process.
Other Food Allowed On A Plane
- Solid cheese (creamy cheese to be limited to 3.4oz in quantity)
- Solid chocolate (liquid chocolate to be limited to 3.4oz in quantity)
- Dried fruits
- Fresh fruits and vegetables (in solid form)
- Fresh fruits and vegetables (those in creamy form need to be limited to 3.4oz in quantity)
- Gravy (limited to 3.4oz in quantity)
- Honey (limited to 3.4oz in quantity)
- Jam and jelly (limited to 3.4oz in quantity)
- Juices (limited to 3.4oz in quantity)
- Peanut butter
In summary, solid food items are usually allowed during air travel, and the standard liquid rule is to keep all things liquid below 100ml or 3.4oz with the exception of formula milk and breast milk.
Always double check the regulations of the country you’re flying into, just to be on the safe side.
Now that we’ve got the rules clear, let’s check out 21 of the best toddler airplane snacks you can bring to make your plane travel experience a great one!
Best Airplane Snacks For Toddlers And Young Children
- Granola bars
Image source: Love and Lemons
Granola bars make great toddler snacks because they:
- Can be homemade with minimal sweeteners
- Have a great chewy texture
- Can be stored for a decent period of time without going bad
- Flavors include: chocolate, strawberry banana, peanut butter, double chocolate
- Fresh Fruit
Fresh fruits are healthy snacks which are easy to prepare. You can slice them and pack them into little zippered bags or small containers. Examples of fruit snacks include:
- Apple slices
- Grape slices
- Banana slices
- Pear slices
- Raw Veggies
Image source: Two Healthy Kitchens
Raw vegetables are my favorite airplane snacks. For one, they are incredibly easy to prepare. They do not oxidize as quickly as fruits, and with their solid and less slippery texture, my kids are able to hang on to them without the vegetables slipping out of their hands the way fruits do.
Examples of vegetables you can pack include:
- Baby carrots
- Cucumber slices
- Yogurt Tubes
Yogurt tubes make for a great snack because they contain calcium, Vitamin D and protein that young kids need. There are brands in the market that do not contain artificial flavors or coloring – in fact, you can make your own yogurty snack as well!
Yogurt tubes are best eaten frozen or cold, so you can pack them along with some ice packs to keep them yummy during the flight.
- Dry Cereal
Cereal is usually fortified with lots of vitamins and minerals, and thus is a great way to get your kids the nutrients they need. Just pour out reasonable quantities into your munchkin snack catcher and you’re good to go! Even if spilled, they’re easy to clean and do not cause a huge mess. Examples of cereal include:
- Cinnamon crunch cereal
- Chocolate Chips
Image source: Chocolate Covered Katie
Chocolate chips are so yummy, I pack different types of them as my own snacks as well when I travel! You can have chocolate chips with oats, plain chocolate chips, chocolate chips with macadamia nuts or even chocolate chips with fudge!
Chocolate chips are pretty much easy to find, but if you’re into baking, you can always make your own healthy batches with reduced sugar and additional fiber.
- Dried Fruit
Dried fruits make for a filling snack, even for older kids. Dried fruits are packed with micronutrients which are good for the eyes and the nails. Dried prunes and peaches contain probiotics and help with your child’s digestive system.
On top of that, dried fruits store pretty well at room temperature.
Sucking and chewing on yummy dried fruits are definitely a great way to keep your kids occupied in a plane!
Examples of dried fruit include:
- Cheese Sticks
Packed with calcium and Vitamin C, cheese sticks are a great go-to snack for children. They’re also easy to pack in toddler snack containers.
If you have a toddler, you may want to keep an eye out on his chewing, in case he bites off a huge chunk which may become a choking hazard.
Popcorn as a snack is a good idea for older children (preferably those above 4 years of age) because they may be hard to chew and swallow at times. That being said, popcorn, especially when homemade, is packed with fiber and a great source of carbohydrates.
- Fruit Pouches
Fruit pouches seem like the best option when you’re trying to squeeze in more fruits and vegetables into your kid’s diet. Unlike fresh fruits, these pouches do not get bruised when packed in a bag, nor do they get squashed up and spoiled.
Packed them but not needing them just yet? No problem. Fruit pouches can be stored for a long time until you’re ready to use them – a most convenient thing to bring onboard a long flight!
Crackers are great toddler snacks. They’re convenient and easy to prepare. They come in a wide range of variety, too, from flavors to shapes. Children especially love crackers that come in shapes of the letters of the alphabet!
Crackers also taste awesome with other food like meat, chicken floss, jams and dips!
Muffins make great airplane snacks. Firstly because it takes time to finish them – giving you more quiet time. Secondly they’re filling and your toddler or child is less likely to fuss so soon after eating.
Thirdly, muffins can taste really good. If you’re worried about the amount of sugar and fat inside them, check out the ingredients and get those that are high in protein (containing whole eggs or egg whites) and fiber (oats and wheat). You can also bake your own!
Some muffin ideas you can use:
- Chocolate chips
- Lemon zest
- Carrot, apple and chia muffins
- Blueberry & Courgette Muffins
- Strawberry Muffins
- A combination of any of the ingredients above
- Baby Puffs
Bringing baby puffs on the plane is a great idea, because it is so mess-free! Furthermore there are many brands in the market that produce high-quality, organic baby puffs of all sorts of flavors.
Puffs do not contain too much sugar, can be packed into individual portions if you have more than one child with you and because they practically melt in the mouth, you don’t have to worry about them being choking hazards!
- Rice Cakes
Rice cakes are generally a healthy snack, especially when paired with nutritious foods like avocado and fruits. According to Health, if you’re worried about whether rice cakes are good snacks, just keep an eye out for those flavored ones which are high in sodium and sugar.
Rice cakes made from brown rice can be a source of antioxidants. Many parents add these nutritious foods inside their home made rice cakes. Hence, they can make for very nice and delicious treats on the plane!
- Peanut butter
- Smoked salmon
- String Cheese
String cheese is fun for kids of all ages because they get to tear apart the cheese before eating them. String cheese is a great source of calcium (in fact, one string cheese can contain up to 20% of the recommended dietary allowance of calcium) and B12.
This is one snack that is bound to keep your kids busy trying to tear them into little pieces!
- Candy Bars
Younger children (okay, the whole family) love candy bars so this is easily one of the best travel snacks you can bring on a long flight. It’s so much fun to eat and all you’ll need to do after is wipe them down with a wet wipe or a paper towel.
Many popular candy brands are actually dairy-free, gluten-free, shellfish-free and nut-free, making them the right snacks for kids with allergies!
Important tip: Don’t give them candy bars when it’s near nap time – you want them to sleep as much as possible in the plane, because honestly, them sleeping is so much more peaceful than them snacking!)
- Food Pouches
WebMd says food pouches are great as an occasional snack. Especially on the plane! Simply ask the flight attendant for an empty bowl and a spoon, pour the food out from the pouch and have your kid enjoy feeding himself.
There are many healthy options from Gerber and HappyBaby that are not only organic, but contain veggie and fruit blends – every mom’s dream combination!
Raisins are one of children’s favorite snacks, because they’re sweet and tasty. A tablespoonful or a mini packet of raisins make for an easy snack in the plane because they’re easy to store and do not require refrigeration. The only exception to raisins is that they’re high in sugar and can cause your child to become more active, but that can be easily countered by giving them moderate amounts.
Pretzels are popular snack ideas, mainly because they’re convenient and easy to get. Some may worry if pretzels are healthy snacks but there are healthier options – get unsalted and whole-wheat ones. Bear in mind that this is just for a long flight, not for everyday consumption! Pretzels are also messy-free and yummy!
Sandwiches are pack snacks, meaning they’re usually packed individually. They can be slightly messy depending on what’s between those slices of bread. You can have avocado on toast, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, egg and cheese sandwiches and tuna sandwiches, to name a few.
- Hard Boiled Eggs
Hard-boiled eggs are the last thing one would think of bringing on a plane as a snack – imagine crumbs of hard-boiled yolk all over your seat!
However, eggs are a wonderful source of protein and vitamins. They taste great and are very filling, too. In fact eggs are one of the best snacks there is – if you don’t mind doing a little cleaning up after.
Snack-Packing Tips For A Stress-Free Flight
Use these tips to help you get your snacks ready and easily accessible on travel day!
- Prepare different types of foods as snacks. Don’t forget your own food!
- Check out the rules of what can and cannot be brought onboard especially when going on international flights.
- Bring small juice boxes that your little ones can finish and that you can dispose of easily.
- Save the yummier snacks for when they live up to their promises of good behavior in the plane.
- Most parents’ favorite place to store snacks will be in a separate bag, preferably a small backpack dedicated to only snacks and drinks. This will make the food more easily accessible and you will not have to dig through a ton of other stuff in between to get to it.
- If you’re bringing fresh produce such as apples and bell peppers, keep them at the top of the bag so they do not get bruised or squashed easily.
- Pack wet wipes and tissues in the same backpack.
- Bring bibs to avoid messy shirts.
- Pack an empty water bottle (or two) and fill it up in the plane for drinking.
- If you’re breastfeeding, pack your poncho and a little cloth so you can breastfeed comfortably.
- The snack bag should always be separate from the rest of your belongings.
There you go! Yummy treats for an awesome flight experience. Hopefully this list of snack ideas and packing tips will make your next long flight with your kids a much more pleasurable one!
Kristy is a pharmacist turned funnel builder. She builds funnels and copywrites for 7 figure businesses. She is also an avid blogger, loves geeking out over SEO, and writes regularly for publications on Medium.com. She shares her journey and tips for freelancing at https://kristyting.com
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Anna Marikar, mum of four and seasoned blogger, has spent over a decade sharing her parenting journey and passion for kid-friendly crafts and free printables.
Her easy-to-follow craft ideas and practical parenting advice have transformed In The Playroom into a cherished resource for parents.