It’s that season of the year again, when we all have holiday on our minds and are planning that much awaited vacation with family/friends. While planning a vacation, place of stay and the itinerary occupy most of our time, we give little thought about food. Food is one aspect which is equally important, especially when travelling with toddlers and preschoolers (ages ranging from 1 year to 5 years). With the right snacks, one is bound to enjoy the trip more. While it’s okay to eat convenience, processed foods once in a while, it need not necessarily become the menu during a vacation. With some extra effort and planning, nutrition need not take a backseat while you are enjoying a vacation.
Read this handy guide on how to stay and eat healthy while travelling with kids.
- Carry healthy snacks such as dry fruits, seeds such as pumpkin seeds for older kids; and dry fruits laddoo, chikkis, homemade chaklis, raisins, prunes, plain biscuits (no cream) for the younger ones. This might come in handy during long car journeys. What most children prefer while travelling is snacks – so make sure you give them wise options. Hard boiled eggs, carrot sticks, apples, boiled corn keep the child full for longer without giving them the sugar rush that most packaged foods do.
- Plan your place of stay that is closer to a supermarket or a minimart if possible so that fresh milk, fresh fruits and bread are easily accessible.
- While it’s natural to want to eat the local food of the area travelled to, or to experiment with our taste buds by trying out something different, always ask what the dish has in store with regard to ingredients used and method of cooking. Always insist on the meat and eggs being fully cooked and the spice levels adjusted accordingly.
- Drink plenty of water while travelling. Stick to boiled cooled water. Check with the hotel if they have a kettle, if not, carry your own. A great way to wind down is to drink a glass of warm lemon water before bedtime. This allows the body to detox and aids in digestion as well. Quick tip – Most hotels have sliced lime/lemons in their bar section. If not, just warm water will do.
- Avoid eating from the street vendors, especially if the food seems visibly contaminated by flies and other insects, is left open in the dust, and if the food is not hot.
- Stick to comfort food – food that is as close as possible to home cooked meals. This will ensure that the child feels more safe and is willing to eat. Also, with known foods, the chances of falling sick are reduced.
- Try to eat fresh fruits on a daily basis. This is not only healthy, but will also ensure smooth bowel movements. Some children, experience shy bladder while travelling – not passing urine or faeces in a different location – which is quite common.
- If the child falls sick – due to food poisoning – stick to a BRAT diet along with plenty of fluids. The BRAT diet consists of bananas, rice, apples and toast. These foods are light on the stomach and do not need too much effort while digesting, and will help the child recover faster.
- Avoid eating food that is too greasy and oily. This makes the body sluggish and will hinder the child from being active.
- Make most of the free food – Some hotels offer complimentary breakfast with a wide variety of foods. While your child may not be able to eat everything at one go, you could try to pack a few finger friendly foods or neatly packed foods (like a yoghurt tub) that don’t spill during your journey.
- It is also wise to carry some porridge mix powder, or just ragi flour or wheat flour, so that in extreme cases where the child refuses to eat outside food, you could request to make a quick porridge adding water and feed your child.
Choosing the right food/snack for a family on the go is never easy, but hopefully these ideas will help on your next journey. A child is happy when his tummy is full. So feed wisely and have a safe, healthy and a lovely vacation filled with happy memories!! Bon Voyage:)