Maintaining a small child’s nutritional needs while traveling is no easy task, as many parents will willingly testify. This is mainly because eating at home would have become such a routine for your child that everything from the kind of food to the environment would be something new and unusual for a young kid to get accustomed to while on the go. So how do you ensure your bub is adequately nourished while traveling? Read on for some food ideas as well as ways to keep your little one’s diet healthy while on the move.
While traveling, your child be faced with the challenge of tying to get comfortable with strange places. Added to that, the food served in certain places that your family visits might be completely new to your child. There is also an issue of food safety for a little kid when a family is traveling.
Babies between six months and a year would have started to eat solid foods but may be still trying to get used to it. Their tummies are still new at digesting solid foods, so extra care has to be taken when it comes to feeding them. Here are some food ideas, as well as ways to keep your child’s diet healthy when on the move.
If you have not introduced your child to pasteurized milk it will not be the best idea to start away from home. If bub is still nursing, you may try supplementing with powdered milk or formula. However, if you have tried pasteurized milk at home and it suits your little one, then it can be given stored in a flask/thermos.
Cereals is one of the safest and easiest to feed to a small child. Make sure bub’s favorite flavor is at stock for easy and fuss-free mealtimes. Always used boiled water which has cooled down to make cereals for little children.
Make sure any fruit you buy or would like to feed your baby in a hotel or restaurant is fresh and well washed. Do not give your baby pre-cut fruit. Rather cut it yourself using clean utensils.
If your bub is used to eating rice, you could try asking for rice that is cooked specially for a child. Ask for it to be cooked softer than normal. Make efforts to order soups with less or no salt . You may also order steamed vegetables which you can mash to serve to your little one with the rice.
A child on solid foods will need water for digestion and also as a thirst quencher. While on the move, use only cooled boiled water to keep germs away. If this in unavailable, then have a trusted brand of bottled water at hand.
Feeding your child in a restaurant
At times, when you go to a restaurant while traveling, you can feed your child before leaving the house or carry a few favorite foods with you. But this is not always possible.
A small child is normally very adventurous and may even like some restaurant food, especially if they taste good. Only visit restaurants or eateries which you know have good reputations and those that practice maximum levels of hygiene. Make sure the food is fully cooked. Try some yourself first, to ensure the food’s temperature and consistency before you let bub bite
While on the move, like for example shopping or sight-seeing with little one in tow, you might want to pack some food yourself to keep little hunger pangs at bay during the day. The following are some simple, satisfying food ideas to try:
- Potato buns
- Soft rice with mashed vegetables
- Pharathas (cut into small, bite-sized pieces)
- Mashed potatoes
- Plain boiled egg
- Bread, butter, cheese and jam can make filling sandwiches; small packs will prevent wastage.
- Biscuits, crackers and cheese slices are also handy while on the move.
- Fruit yoghurt which is available in most supermarkets.
Useful equipment to prepare kids’ food on the move
Steriliser: If you are using feeding bottles it is essential that these be sterilized. There are many portable sterilisers in the market to choose from. Other options include disposable bottle liners but these aren’t very ecomnomical since they need to be thrown away after every use. Besides, if you use bottle liners, you will still need to sterilise the bottle nipples anyhow.
If you do not have a sterilizer, simply immerse the bottles and nipples in the boiling water for five minutes. Try to travel with more bottles than you normally use in case you are not able to sterilise them often. Washing bottles in warm water in a sink is not enough to kill bacteria and other germs and this in turn can lead to tummy infections.
Portable electric cooker: A small electric cooker is a real plus to have if you are traveling with a child. It can be used to cook healthy, reliable baby food and even be used to boil water for sterilizing feeding bottles and utensils.
Bottle warmer: Indispensable item to have when traveling with a child. Bottle warmers are handy to keep milk warm longer. There are also the electric types which can boil water to heat up bottled baby food.
Food precautions to heed while traveling with a small child:
- As far as possible, avoid feeding new foods to your little one. Not only it might not agree with a still-developing digestive system, but also, this will not be the best time to discover any food allergies a child might have.
- Meat, fish and eggs should be given only if you are sure that they are fresh and fully cooked. At all costs, do avoid foods which contain raw eggs such as mayonnaise, soufflés or mousses.
- Fruit salads and other dishes which contain cut raw fruits – these can be prone to carrying germs or infections.
- Greasy food or food bought from roadside vendors can cause stomach upsets. These include burgers, hotdogs and drinks.
- Be wary of food which may have contaminated water like juice or cordials. Avoid drink with ice cubes in them.
- Avoid foods which you suspect contain a lot of food coloring or artificial flavoring.Bottled baby food can be very practical when traveling, but if this is new to your child, it will be a good idea to introduce this a week or two before travelling. This way she is used to the consistency and taste and you know whether it suits her or not. Always check the expiry date on the jar before buying.