Easy Travel Snacks For Young Kids

David Trammel's picture

I came across this comment on one of the forums I follow asking about easy travel snacks for her children:

"Have you found kids snacks that are NOT in plastic packaging?? We currently buy our freeze dried fruit from Veteran Dry Goods which is amazing because she lets us bring our container to her and she fills it. It's amazing. BUT, those dang wafers/puffs are SO easy for snacks for kids (and basically ALL kids snacks) are in plastic packaging. even plain cheerios - they're all in plastic. Anyone found any kids snacks in biodegradable or non plastic packaging? We already do a ton of fruit and obvious package free stuff, but sometimes it's nice to have these go-to snacks in emergencies. thoughts??"


Some of the comments make suggestions but not for snacks eatable on the go (or in a car), or for newer eaters (young children). I'm wonder what people with children do.

(Edited 11/25: Moved to "The Fifth Circle: Your Family and Your Children")

alice's picture

I often make younger one a cheese sandwich he carries in a lightweight aluminium box in his rucksack when we are out. I usually have bread, butter, cheese in the house. Bottle of water. Extra boxes if needed with carrot sticks, raisins, pieces of cucumber. A share of the emergency chocolate if it's cold and the bus is late =D

But then my kids haven't had a lot of processed food. I hear it is a bit addictive. The unpackaged shop in the nearest town now has crisps in compostable packets which seems like a good thing. So that is a treat for them sometimes after we have done shopping. I have been shredding the compostable packets with scissors and adding to our hotbox composter which is steaming away merrily.

mountainmoma's picture

You buy in bulk and put things in small containers to take with you

SO, you can buy small plastic re-usable containers with lids from tupperware, for example. Or, maybe reuse a yogurt container if you can find any that still have lids.

You just pack your own snacks. that's it. Used to be normal when I had kids, yes I had kids of my own and also ran an in-home daycare for a decade or so, I have fed ALOT of kids meals and snacks. I have taken 6 kids to daily park or swim lesson outings, etc..... So, I might be pushing a stroller with a toddler and when we stopped at the park be able to hand her my own snacks packed at home. For new eaters this might have been cherrios ( not the sugery honeynut, or a natural cereal shape that is easy to grab) and maybe another container with small chunks of fruits or vegtables. A good vegetable is frozen peas, when they thaw they are soft enough, but not too soft. Small chunks of any lightly steamed vetable would do as well. Precut fruit. They key is to just pack it yourself. If the child is old enough to eat other things, pack these. Small pieces of cut cheese or softer lunch meat. Crackers, bread. The possibilities are endless.

I have to say I do not understand why this is no longer obvious to people. I guess all that marketing is realy working, so it is not a kids snack or toddler snack unless it is in a sealed, plastic package and marked as such ?

Then, if you realy want to reduce packaging for the household, many stores have bulk bins. And, there are even tortilla chips in the bulk bins, and cereals similar to cherrios, dried fruits, nuts, etc.....

Cooking foods at home also yields alot of non-plastic wrapped snacks. You can make healthy baked goods, bannana bread, cookies with low sugar and whole wheat flour, realy a homemade peanut butter cookie ( Laurals kitchen has a good recipe, whole wheat flour, honey and peanut butter....) has only a small nutritional difference to a peanut butter sandwich so is a fine snack when on the go along with some apple slices. Real food.

A way to have better nutritional snacks for times when you got too busy is to make some ahead and freeze them. You can freeze things in glass containers, or the glass containers with plastic lids that are ubiquitous. Then, just take a few out of the freezer when you go to leave.

It would be best of course to have the kids eat real foods. I dont know why empty calories need to be given as snacks when so many healthier foods are readily eaten by small children if that is what you have always fed them

Also, it is good to get kids, and ourselves, used to more routine meal times and not snack constantly. SO, yes, a "snack time" mid morning and mid afternoon, but it is a bad habit to just eat constantly. Or have constant sugary and/or flavored drinks. SO, the thing I am saying is, most times, unless a lesson is just at the wrong time, or a long car trip is happening, why do the kids need snacks in the car ? They cant wait until you get to the park or make it the 15 minute drive home from school ?

alice's picture

Awesome that two other mamas also replied and I feel we're all on the same page. Love all the details and suggestions mountainmoma. It's great to learn these things from the experts =D There are things there for any new mam who might be reading to learn about.

> It's also trying desperately to avoid getting your hands dirty by, ugh, touching and preparing food like some peasant.

This made me laugh Teresa, I spend a lot of my time living like a peasant and getting my hands wet or dirty . . . so unfashionable. It's good in a way to notice that I have already made some progress in living a down to earth life compared to what is still 'mainstream' and very normal in the industrial world. What you say makes so much sense -- I have wondered how on earth the mams with the long acrylic nails get anything done -- I guess it's like the old style long fingernails on chinese men, am I remembering that was a thing in history books? These families are probably using disposable wipes to clean, all the food comes out of packets, the plates go in the dishwasher . . . it's a different world.

> They cant wait until you get to the park or make it the 15 minute drive home from school ?

Also I think that real food fills kids up longer: the stuff in packets makes you want more at the same time as being mostly empty calories that don't fill you up like real food does (veggies, traditional proteins/fats etc). So it's maybe easier for most people to snack less, apart from the toddlers who may really need their am/pm snacks, when it's normal/real food, stuff that grows in the ground or walks/swims, not processed packet food on the table.

And yeah I only tend to offer milk or water to drink, I am not convinced that sodas are good for anyone's health. I will buy a bottle of pressed juice for kids' parties, and there is even loads of locally grown apple juice in the UK as the climate's so good for apples.

I keep reading cookbooks as far back as possible. Some things are extinct or rare now but otherwise lots of suggestions for making delicious and nutritious food out of stuff which actually grows locally. It has taken me a lot of hours to learn how to do some of the kitchen skills but the time I spend on it is reducing now and the kids do mostly eat real food not packets. Still some canned baked beans and fish fingers from time to time, I'm a fan of the Pareto principle where I try to do the 80 % that takes 50 % of the effort and not worry about the 20 % that takes the other 50 % of the effort.

Yoghurt's another good snack or lunch food. Put it in a cliplock boxes, chop fresh fruit or frozen/cooked fruit in, pack spoons. I am still buying pails of yoghurt, haven't got the hang of making good yoghurt yet, the two times I tried I think I stirred the milk too much so it came out as a kind of yoghurt flavour cheese instead. But I have learned at least that greek style yoghurt really is just strained through a cheescloth, it's that simple. I might get the hang of it next time I try.

I see the job of feeding kids as I am trying to build a good gut microbiome and strong bodies, bones, teeth, nerves, as those will serve them lifelong. Strong healthy bodies don't come out of the air: vitamins, minerals, all that stuff needs to be provided. Plenty of fresh air, exercise, positive social manners training as well of course. And the more they have a palate for local seasonal traditional kind of food, the more they will want to put the effort in to grow it, raise it or find it, and prepare it for themselves in adulthood. The effort of rediscovering, and learning how to make a delicious kind of cuisine that is more local and more sustainable as well as healither for the bodies is in a way a gift to the grandkids in educating a palate for life. =D Although sometimes I worry that I have caught the unhelpful obsession with food from the mainstream of our culture . . . I'm trying to direct it in a useful way at least.

I have to agree.
I always packed my kids snacks in reusable, washable plastic containers with lids. Rubbermaid and Tupperware make them in all kinds of shapes and sizes. If you don't want to buy new, every thrift shop has a selection.

I also wash out and reuse ziplock bags. If you're careful, those ziplock bags last a long time.

I think it's learned helplessness.
It's also trying desperately to avoid getting your hands dirty by, ugh, touching and preparing food like some peasant.

Teresa from Hershey

David Trammel's picture

This is a related article by some Moms (who are also nutritionists) on how to get your older children to eat better.

3 nutritionists (who are also moms) share how they get their teens to eat healthier

I would bet these suggestions would work for most grade school and middle school kids too. They are so much smarter at a younger age no a days.

mountainmoma's picture

Or, a problem with kids/teens that somehow have money ?

Mine did not have that "problem" . So, the small amount of junk they could purchase with whatever they could earn, or the few dollars a week I gave them, could only ever be negligible. Otherwise, they pack for lunch what is in the house and at home they eat what is in the house.

Of course, in reality, it is not so grim ! They have helped plant the garden, they share in cooking with you so they can learn and over time of course they know why we cook certain foods for dinner rather than cake as we have taught them their whole lives. And, by the time they are 18 we want them fully trained to adults, so they have helped shop and cook many times and meal planned and have made these decisions