When traveling with an infant or toddler, so many concerns need to be taken into account that any opportunity to simplify must be utilized for sanity's sake. This is where we've been fortunate- we've always had a safe, healthy supply of God's perfect food right on my chest, no heating or refrigeration needed. Nothing travels better than your own breasts! As Tye grew older, we were also fortunate to have found some food options that travel almost as easily. Here are our three favorite items for travel-friendly baby food.
Not long after Tye started eating solid foods, we discovered Ella's Kitchen Organic Baby Foods. The packages fit my criteria for non-homemade food for her: organic food, BPA-free packaging, and no fillers or sweeteners- only vegetables and/or fruit. Unlike other favorite brands, like Sprout Baby Food (which we also love), the Ella's Organics come in a squeeze package with a spout opening. This allows Tye to suck the food out of the package using the same oral motor muscles as nursing. While Tye loves this method because it provides easy access to the food she wants, I love it because it skips the spoon step. From the carseat to the airplane to the middle of a store, Tye has eaten these just about everywhere with little to no spilling or mess.
Another reason to love Ella's Kitchen Organic Baby Food is the food combinations, which provide vegetables in addition to fruits in blends like broccoli, pears & peas, sweet potato, pumpkin, apples & blueberries, and carrots, apples & parsnips. Even when Tye was going through her picky "I only eat things that are white" stage, she would happily down some colorful vegetables out of one of these packages. Another travel bonus: they don't need refrigeration, making packing them super simple (we've loaded up suitcases with pouches before). The only downside I've found is that they've become difficult to find; while I used to pick these up at Target or BabiesRUs, the vegetable blends seem to be sold out most places. Hopefully they'll be back on shelves soon!
Another squeezable food package we've come to love more recently is the Lifeway ProBugs kefir pouches. They feature organic whole-milk kefir in enticing, kid-friendly packaging and flavors. While I wish they offered a plain flavor, their packaging is even better than Ella's- it has a no-spill flap that prevents drips when inverted (not when squeezed, of course, but any little bit helps, right?). These kefir packs came with us for the flights to and from Seattle last weekend and were a huge hit with Tye. One package even replaced Tye's need to nurse during takeoff because "nursing" the kefir pouch cleared her ears effectively. While these need to be refrigerated, they are an excellent option for short-term and/or infrequent travel.
By far our favorite travel food is Trader Joe's Freeze-Dried Banana Slices. These were Tye's first travel finger food because they are all-natural (the only ingredient is banana!), relatively clean, and their almost melt-in-your-mouth texture was easy for a relatively toothless little one to eat. When Tye was ready for finger foods but still wasn't eating grains, these were a perfect travel option in place of cereal or baby puffs (which all have added sugars, too). These are such a staple that at any given moment, there is a full package in my diaper bag, and I always feel good about giving Tye several chips.
While these foods make eating on the go easier, it's still something we try not to do often. It's important to me we teach Tye good eating habits in addition to good manners. Eating is something I'd like to teach her to do seated at a table, with few distractions other than good company. At home, Tye and I eat all our meals together seated next to each other at the kitchen table. When we're out and about, I think it's worthwhile to either come home for a meal or sit down somewhere to eat, whether it's at a restaurant, a cafe, or a picnic. When that isn't possible- because, really, life doesn't always provide those opportunities- at least we have some great travel food options.
What other travel foods do your kiddos enjoy? I'd love to hear more ideas!