Food...for a kid...on a plane.
May 23, 2013 9:16 AM   Subscribe

Seeking suggestions for non-perishable foodstuffs to feed a toddler while flying cross country.

So next week we embark on our annual cross-country parental pilgrimage. Me, my wife and our 4 year old flying from SFO -> TPA with one short layover. Works out to about 8+ hours of traveling, so we need to bring food for the kid. In the past we have stuffed a bunch of snacks into a travel lunch bag with a reuseable ice pack. Yogurt, cheese, noodles and such.

But last year, kid got hellaciously, awfully sick after arrival. (12 hours of barfing, seemed like food poisoning, possibly from something that spolied during travel.) This year, we want to avoid a similar outcome by only bringing non-perishable foods for the flight.

So far I'm thinking fruit (apples, oranges, banana), jerky, seaweed, nuts, crackers, peanut butter, granola bars. Is there anything else obvious that I'm missing?
posted by gnutron to Travel & Transportation (21 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Etrigan at 9:18 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:22 AM on May 23, 2013

posted by Tamanna at 9:23 AM on May 23, 2013

Cereal bars (like Nutri-grain), dried fruit, shelf-stable milk (comes in boxes like juice boxes). Hard cheese should be fine on a 12-hour flight. Bread would work, and/or PBJs.
posted by chickenmagazine at 9:23 AM on May 23, 2013

Baby Mum-Mums. I think a toddler would enjoy them, too.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:24 AM on May 23, 2013

You can source appropriate snacks in the airport. Most places will sell yogurt and milk. Also string cheese. PBJs are excellent plane food.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:24 AM on May 23, 2013

I'd recommend anything that takes a long time to eat. String cheese, rolled up tortillas with peanut butter inside, those little wax-covered cheese circles, etc.
posted by JuliaKM at 9:25 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

shelf-stable milk

I thought of this too, you won't be able to get it past security.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:25 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Honestly, 8 hours isn't a crazy long amount of time for food spoilage. I'd just steer clear of anything dairy-based. Other than that, this can pretty much be a list of All The Snacks.

This lady makes a lot of awesome lunches for her kid that are intended to sit at room temp for several hours. Maybe you'll find some great ideas there.
posted by phunniemee at 9:25 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

Hard boiled eggs.
posted by BenPens at 9:26 AM on May 23, 2013

Make sure you understand the TSA rules for bringing juice through. They may or may not be OK with cow or soy milk. Buying what you need at the airport will be a little bit more expensive, but way more convenient.
posted by payoto at 9:28 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Cheese crisps (the kind where you bake Parmesan cheese until it's crunchy; I know Whole Foods sells them premade if you don't want to make your own)
Tupperware of olives (no brine)
Dried fruit
Peanut butter banana or banana Nutella sandwich triangles
Also, consider bringing a small amount of your previously scheduled noodles and cheese, but make sure it gets eaten within the first two hours.
posted by Night_owl at 9:30 AM on May 23, 2013

They have these applesauces in a sealed pouch.
posted by royalsong at 9:34 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

You may want to try Yogurt Melts - all the fun of yogurt, none of the mess. They are freeze dried without any preservatives so there shouldn't be an issue with spoilage.

My nieces (4 and 2) are addicted to them
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 9:47 AM on May 23, 2013

Please don't subject the rest of the plane to the smell of hard boiled eggs in a tiny enclosed space with recycled air. Yuck. Non-odiferous, dry foods are best. Cereal is a winner with my kids.
posted by reverend cuttle at 10:08 AM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]

Food pouches, we've travelled with them plenty of times, and they are room temperature stable.

Seconding the yogurt melts, they are toddler crack.
posted by iamabot at 10:20 AM on May 23, 2013

How about making some trail mix at home with your toddler - raisins, nuts, chocolate chips, cereal or pretzels? That way, you have the "I made it myself" aspect which is fun for the child.

(How did you not title this "Snacks on a Plane"?)
posted by dywypi at 10:44 AM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]

You may be able to bring shelf-stable milk through security if it's for your kid. The TSA page mentions only breast milk, formula, and juice, but I know that the last time we flew, we had regular cow's milk in a sippy cup for our toddler, and they let us bring it through without any trouble (it did have to go through the testing process, which uses light and does not require opening the bottle, cup, or box). It would make sense that if you're allowed to bring JUICE, you should be allowed to bring milk for a child.

Anyway, might be worth a shot if you're wanting to bring milk.

They also make yogurt pouches -- my kid loves the strawberry-banana-yogurt pouch -- so you might bring a few of those, too.
posted by devinemissk at 10:59 AM on May 23, 2013

Dried fruit will be less messy and squishable than fresh, and so also those little foil-topped fruit/applesauce cups, though I'm not sure if the TSA calls those a "liquid" or not.
posted by tchemgrrl at 11:02 AM on May 23, 2013

Oh, and if you don't bring milk with you but buy it on the other side of security (or any other refrigerable item, really), flight attendants will often be able to keep it cold in the galley fridge for you once you've boarded. (I was offered this on a recent flight, when the flight attendant told me that they do not carry milk on board, but would be happy to keep our milk cold if we needed it.)
posted by devinemissk at 11:06 AM on May 23, 2013

Have you seen the adorable little GoPicnic boxes? I've found them at Targets that have grocery sections, and for the most part they aren't bad. I took some on a recent flight and they were actually really nice - the box contains the trash, nothing is too smelly (providing you don't take a fish one, which I wouldn't recommend anyway) and the Box of Treats aspect might appeal.
posted by daikaisho at 1:39 AM on May 24, 2013

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