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In Part One of this series, I talked about entertainment stuff to bring with you when you have to fly with a toddler. Now, we're on to the second most important aspect: Food.
1) Empty Sippy Cup
Apparently, TSA is supposed to let you bring water through security for children, but I just didn't want to push my luck. I brought an empty sippy cup, the kind she was used to, and then just bought a bottle of water for myself when we got through security, and poured some of it in.
2) Applesauce Pouches
You know the ones. They're everywhere now. I'm not actually a huge fan because they are more expensive, wasteful in their packaging, and they don't teach kids the same good eating habits as handing them an actual piece of fruit. However, on the go, they're pretty awesome.
A word of warning though: Don't use these to try to calm an upset child. I gave one to Cricket when she was upset, and she angrily squeezed it, resulting in an applesauce eruption all over my clothes and hers. Not cool. Also, make sure to pack these in such a way that they don't get squashed in your bag. I put a bunch in Gladware or somethings similar. It's a trick we use when we're camping and it works great for crushable things.
I packed these in Ziplocks and put them in the Gladware boxes, too. I brought several different kinds of crackers, just for variety, and actually she didn't eat that much. Still, they are light and good to have around, and she ate some while we were at our destination, too.
I didn't bring these, but the lady next to me on the plane did, and they were great. She got them at Trader Joe's, and they didn't have any artificial dyes/etc. in them. (I told her at that point, I didn't care if they had actual drugs in them, but still...) Cricket had never really had candy before, so the novelty of a sucker kept her occupied for a while. Suckers are also great for takeoff and landing if your child doesn't use a pacifier but isn't ready for gum. Giving them something to suck on helps them swallow and equalize the pressure in their ears.
There is something about cereal that just captivates most toddlers. I don't know what it is. What I do know is that I brought a divided container (the kind you use to pre-measure your formula when they're babies) and filled it with Cheerio's, rice puffs, and Chex, and Cricket drained that entire thing at least twice on our trip. She can eat Cheerio's for days. Plus, she loved having the compartments to sort her cereal back and forth. Downside is obviously that this is messier, but I am perfectly happy to clean up the floor if it means she is content for 20 minutes!
Food to Buy En Route
1) Snack Packs
A couple of the flights we took actually sold snack packs and meal packs. Mom got one that had a couple of cheeses, crackers, grapes, and apples in it, and Cricket at that entire thing! If your airplane doesn't have them, lots of the food stands in the airport sell similar packages, and Starbucks even sells them sometimes. It was good to know that she was getting some actual nutrition in the middle of all the chaos, and it was a pretty big meal for her!
Starbucks sells cups of just plain milk, and a lot of the airport stands have milk, too. Most airplanes don't, though, so if you want some for your toddler while you're in the air, you'll have to bring it with you or just get juice. Again, from what I read, you can bring it through security if it's for your child, but I just wanted to get through that mess ASAP, so I didn't risk it.
If you do an all-day flying adventure like we did, you're going to have to get a meal at some point. Just about every restaurant will have a kids' menu, so I just trying to find the healthiest option on there that Cricket will eat. Usually that means some kind of grilled cheese or quesadilla, and maybe a fruit plate. Of course, you could just use the snack pack that I talked about earlier as a meal, which did work for us at one point. It kinda depends on how much time you have.
In Part 3, I will finish this series by going over survival tactics.