Planning a trip with your baby? Whether it is a few hours of outing or a vacation, a mom’s holiday planning bloats with ‘What should I feed my baby while travelling?’ Fortunately, quite a few healthy yet easy to make or ready-to-eat meals & snacks options are possible.
Read more to find out quick and easy healthy food options for your baby while travelling.
Should you carry baby’s food while travelling?
With the right facilities, a baby can accompany parents on fun trips, social events or even for running errands from 8-12 weeks. Thanks to modern-day conveniences which facilitate such travels with very young tots. However, one big worry for parents is “what to feed my baby while travelling”.
Many parents in India are sceptical to expose their kids, especially younger than 1-1.5 years, to outside food especially from new pantries/eateries. Parents also fear using packaged & ready-to-eat foods due to the presence of preservatives, colouring agents etc..
You can opt for carrying baby’s food while travelling. If you intend to take the baby’s food, plan a bit in advance. Because, depending on your baby’s food preferences, you may need to prep for baby’s travel food. Choose from the easy to make and healthy travel food options.
Also, these days many hotels/resorts are very baby friendly. They take great care to prepare baby food as per request.
Based on the cooking facilities at your travel destination and type of food your baby enjoys, you can also opt to carry raw ingredients (or buy fresh local ones) and cook baby food at the destination.
Planning for baby meals when travelling
Travelling with a baby means inflated luggage. You want to minimise the hassle of carrying, preparing or feeding baby food while travelling. Remember the following when planning to pack your baby’s travel food:
- Plan age-appropriate travel food
- Avoid introducing new food during travel to avoid allergy scare
- Carry food that is easy to store and not highly perishable
- Procure containers for carrying/storing that are compact and spill-free
- If headed to a destination, check facility for storing/heating/cooking food
When travelling with a baby who has not started solids, no planning is required. If your baby is formula-fed arrange boiling water and Formula.
For babies who have solids, plan for snacks & meals during your time outside. Also, you can (and should) explore the local food at the destination if your child shows interest.
But babies, especially when new to solids, are unpredictable when it comes to adjusting to an unfamiliar place/food and hence it is safe to plan for all of baby’s meals in advance rather than be sorry in a new place.
Healthy & easy baby food options during travel
There are various ways to plan your baby’s meals when you are travelling. You can either pack ‘ready-to-eat’ meal options. Or carry ‘instant-to-cook’ food. Or plan to cook fresh meals. Depending on the place you travel and your comfort with serving locally sourced food, you can also opt to feed your child from local eateries or fresh local produce.
Following are some of the travel food options for your baby. Ensure age-appropriateness:
Travel food to prepare at the destination:
- Fruit/veg puree
- Instant hot meals: Khichdi/Poha/Upma
- Sandwich*: Veg/Cheese/Butter
Ready-to-eat, travel food options:
- Puffed rice/Puffed jowar (plain or roasted)
- Homemade laddoos/biscuits/cookies
- Roasted makhana
- Homemade Chivda
- Packaged baby snack options
Travel food for the baby you can buy locally:
- Seasonal Fruits
- Yoghurt / Smoothies
- Seasonal Veggies
- Cheese slices/cubes
- Local food specialities
Note: *Idli, sandwich are great options during the commute, especially when you have a long journey to travel destination.
Readymade travel food options:
Some of the food options, especially to be prepared at the destination may need prep like pre-roasting/grinding before the travel. If you are pressed on time to prep for baby’s travel food, or you want to have a variety of options, buy from some baby food brands which are tried, tested and vouched for by many many moms:
Some of the popular travel food options from popular baby food brands are:
- Gerber – cereal snacks
- My Little Moppet Foods – Instant mixes: SathuMavu, porridges, cereals, Indian pancakes, Khichdi
- Early Foods – Instant mixes: Porridges, SathuMavu, Khichdi, cereals, cookies
- MTR – Instant meals: poha/upma/ halwa, Indian pancake mixes
- Soulful – Multigrain loops, Ragi bites/flakes, Millet muesli
Points to remember for preparing baby meals while travelling:
If you are planning to prepare baby’s meals when travelling, have items to aid cooking/storing/cleaning. Pack items that can be used for multiple things or buy items easily available at the destination to reduce your luggage. Plan for the following items:
- Baby cutlery: steel plate (also converts as cutting board, cover), baby sipper/cups/glasses, spoon (for mixing/serving)
- Utensils & cooking items: Flat base pan (doubles for cooking hot meals including pancakes), knife/peeler, travel cooker/hot plate to make hot meals*
- Cleaning accessories: soap, scrub, bottle cleaning brush, drying napkin
- Basic tastemakers: oil/ghee/roasted jeera powder/ajwain/ hing (use sugar/salt from destination)
- Storage containers: Compact thermos/flask to store milk or water; spill-free unbreakable and compact jars for carrying raw ingredients/meals
*You can also use tea-pot in hotels to boil water to prepare instant meals/formula.
Note for flights & international travels
Verify compatibility of voltage rating/plug point of your electrical equipment (travel cooker/breast pump) when travelling to foreign destinations.
Check for carry-on liquid & food restrictions (water/milk/formula) with your airlines & at airports for carry-on meal arrangements.
Some quick recipes to cook baby food when travelling
Following are a few recipes that you can cook while travelling in under 10-15 minutes:
- Main Ingredients: Ragi powder, water
- Optional ingredients: Jaggery, Fresh fruit, dry-fruit powder, milk
Prep before travelling:
- Dry roast ragi powder
- Take 2-3 spoons ragi powder, add water as per consistency required
- Mix well to remove chunks
- Heat for 5-8 minutes stirring occasionally
- Optional: Add jaggery, grated fresh fruit, dry-fruit powder or milk as per taste after heating
- Note: If no heating equipment, add boiling water to the powder, stir to remove lumps and covered for 5-8 minutes
- Easy replacements: You can use sooji, Dalia, oats, Sathumaavu, or Makhana instead of ragi powder. Dry roast the ingredient. Depending on your child’s preference you can grind it if required.
2. Instant Khichdi recipe
- Ingredients: Yello moong daal, rice, water, ghee
- Optional ingredients: Tastemakers like Jeera powder/hing/salt; grated veggies
Prep before travelling:
- Wash moong daal and rice separately (ratio 1:2),
- Dry well (avoid excess sunlight)
- Separately dry roast
- Let it cool then grind
- Mix well
- Note: If you have no time to wash & dry daal and rice, directly dry roast them
- Take 2-3 spoons of khichdi mix, add water as per consistency required
- Stir to remove lumps
- Optional: Add tastemaker, grated veggies as per taste
- Heat for 5-10 minutes stirring occasionally
- Add ghee after heating
- Note: If no heating equipment, add boiling water to the khichdi mix, stir to remove lumps, add tastemaker & veggies (optional) and cover for 5-8 minutes
Note: If a baby prefers regular khichdi, carry Yellow moong daal & rice grains mixed (1:2 proportion). Soak the mixed grains for 15-20 minutes & cook (in hotel kitchen/in travel cooker/open vessel).
4. Pancake Recipe
- Ingredients: Raagi powder & besan mix (2:1), oil/ghee
- Optional ingredients: grated veggies, tastemakers like salt/jeera powder etc., curd
- Prep before travelling: dry roast ragi powder and besan separately and then mix
- Take 2-3 spoons of ragi besan mix, add water to make a smooth
- Optional: Add chopped/grated veggies, curd and tastemaker of your choice
- Keep pan for heating, grease pan with oil/ghee
- Pour batter on the pan, flip after 2-3 minutes
- Cook well on both sides
- Easy replacement: Use green moong daal powder, sooji in place of ragi & besan
Travelling with your baby is fun if you are sorted on food-front. Carry easy-to-make and yummy food options for fuss-free meals while travelling. Plan a bit and prep for baby’s travel food if required. Happy travelling with baby:-)!