A peek Into My Kitchen: Vacation Snacks to Pack for Small Children

I’m typing this post into my phone with one thumb in a hotel room in Israel with intermittent WiFi…
Traveling with kids can be tough, routines get thrown off, familiar stuff is left at home (the favorite stuffed animal or blanket of the moment almost always turns out to be the one you left behind) and, often, changes in time zone wreak havoc on sleeping patterns.
I’m a big believer in traveling with a whole bunch of medication, toys, gear and especially snacks to make the change more palatable. I promise to share my other lists at some other point, but here are some easy to throw in a suitcase foods that can be ready to appease little mouths for your actual traveling time as well as for when you get to your destination and thoughout your stay:
For plane/car/bus/train:
*Refillable water bottle per child (if you’re flying internationally, empty it before you go through security so the TSA doesn’t bug you and have stewardesses refill on the plane)
*Empty milk cup/bottle per child (good to keep your cups for milk and other beverages separate, especially when you may not be able to wash them so well)
*Applesauce or other puréed fruit pouches–some good ones are Happy Baby, Plum Organics, Earth’s Best, Revolution Foods and GoGo Squeeze. These are great for older kids as well! Freeze a couple and pop them in your bag for slushy treats en route! They also make great ice packs for…
*cut up apples, pears, grapes, carrots, clementines, cheese sticks/cubes
*frozen single serving shelled edamame
*raisins, dried apricots or other dried fruit
*fruit leather
*cereal (either in small bags or snack cups)
*crackers, pretzels, rice cakes, cookies, cereal bars, yogurt drops
*For a plane–lollipops, sucking candies gum are essential for kidlets too big to suck on a bottle or to nurse during takeoff and landing. Toddlers under 3 should probably stick to the lollipops to prevent choking scares.
*small sandwiches, mini yogurts or yogurt squeeze sticks if it’ll be meal time
Note: if you are traveling between countries, you may need to leave any leftover produce on the plane so as not to have problems with agricultural authorities (particularly when entering the US)
For the trip itself:
*more of all of the non-perishable items from above
*if your children are avid milk drinkers, you may want to pack a few boxes of shelf stable milk–particularly if you prefer organic, which isn’t always easy to find. Milk tastes different in different places, and, you may not want to jeopardize this source of protein and calcium for a picky child.


A peek Into My Kitchen: Sweet & Salty Caramel Apples (nut-free)

To be honest, it has never really occurred to me to cook with pretzels. Every once in a while, I’ve seen a recipe for Pretzel-crusted this or that and I’ve definitely watched an episode or two of Chopped in which pretzels were one of the mystery ingredients…but I don’t generally think of them as more than a snack food staple in my pantry.

That’s actually one of the reasons that I thought it would be fun to do this post–to stretch my culinary imagination a bit.

Trying to figure out what to make, I had a “eureka!” moment. My nut-allergic son rarely gets to eat fun, frivolous carnival food like Caramel Apples because they are generally coated with peanuts. I threw a handful of pretzels in my food processor, dipped some apples in melted caramel and then in the pulverized pretzels. Voila! Nut-free caramel apples which still have the salty-sweet element which is generally provided by roasted peanuts.


Chocolate cough syrup?

If you've been following, my 3 1/2 year old son, who was diagnosed with asthma after being hospitalized a couple of times for terrible wheezing.  He now regularly sees a pulmonologist who has him on a whole coterie of meds–Flovent, Zyrtec, Albuterol on an as-needed basis and, since the last visit, Singulair as well. 

In spite of all the meds, every time he comes down with a cold (have you ever seen a kid in nursery school go for more than a week or two without a runny nose?!), he ends up with a terrible, persistent, cough that last for weeks at a time.  Thankfully, so far this season we've avoided wheezing or any hospitalization…but I would love to be able to offer him something besides (or in addition to) Albuterol to quiet his cough…I have definite moments during which I am jealous of parents who had their kids before all cold and cough medicines were taken off the table!