Little Foodie on the Fly: Tips for On-the-Go Eating
Mealtime doesn’t stop just because you’re out and about. Here are helpful ways to plan and prep for on-the-go mini meals for your mini mouse.
To Buy or Not To Buy?
Even if you usually make your own baby food, don’t feel pressured to pack it up. It’s usually simpler to buy baby food when you’re going to be eating away from home. Just try to find foods and flavors that you know your baby already likes; the last thing you want is the pressure of introducing new foods in a new setting.
Frozen Is Your Friend
If you do want to bring food from home, try this: freeze each portion in an airtight container the night before. Pop the frozen containers into a plastic zip-top bag to prevent spills and limit condensation from leaking into the rest of your diaper bag. Bring two to three servings of food or supplement with snacks (more on this coming up).
What to Bring
Before you head out, double check that you’ve got the following: two or three portions of food or snacks plus a baggie of rice cereal to thicken or stretch meals as needed. Also pack wipes, a disposable bib (or a non-disposable plus a plastic bag), a baby spoon and sippy cup. You’ll also want a bottle and formula or milk (use a sleeve to keep it cool for long periods or warm if she’ll be drinking soon).
Have a Backup
Some babies thrive in new settings, others are thrown off. So bring an alternate jar of food in case a tried-and-true flavor doesn’t work this time. It’s common for little guys to get distracted in new places and refuse foods they usually enjoy.
Successful Snack Setup
It’s not necessary to have fancy snack containers. A simple plastic box with a lid or plastic baggies will do for most things; in fact, the later can also turn into a trash bag for messy things like banana peels. But do wrap everything. Applesauce goes in a zip-top baggie, crackers go in a plastic box and all of it is contained in a mesh bag or see-through zip-top for easy access.
What to Order
Bringing your baby to a restaurant? Try ordering a bowl of soup for your smallest dining companion. Add enough rice cereal to thicken it up and make it more filling. And don’t hesitate to drain the bread basket. Whether your baby is actually eating or just playing, this is a quiet activity that no one will mind one bit. Ditto for exploring that dish of sugar packets. (Just put everything away before you go.)
Good Food to Go
Based on your baby’s age, try these smooth meals on the go:
6 months: Banana, Cheerios, whole wheat breadsticks, teething biscuits, applesauce
9 months: Raisins, shredded or cubed cheese, mini-muffins, beans from a can, yogurt, whole wheat bread, sliced grapes or small pieces of melon
1 year: Whole wheat tortilla rolls (filled with cream cheese and turkey, avocado with cheese, hummus, or any favorite combination), cottage cheese with peas, turkey & cheese rollups, cubed rotisserie chicken, string cheese, whole pieces of hearty fruit like apple or plum.
What to Avoid
- Anything you have to slice or peel, such as avocados.
- Anything especially delicate, such as pears.
- Anything full of sugar, such as store-bought cookies. (A roller coaster of sugar highs and lows isn’t the way you want to spend your outing.)
What Can Do Double Duty
- Spoons (great for banging)
- Snack boxes (great for shaking)
- A bottle (to top off – or stand in for—a big meal)
- Plastic baggies (to transport food then contain messy peels and garbage)
Bring Snacks for Yourself
Particularly if you’re a nursing mother, you’re likely to need high-protein, low-sugar boosts throughout the day. Almonds, dried cherries, granola bars, mini muffins (like those you might pack for your little one), string cheese. And bring a water bottle too.
Prepare for Plan B
If you’re out and your baby won’t cooperate with the on-the-go meal plan, don’t panic. Armed with any combination of pacifier, bottle or breast and a front carrier or stroller, be prepared to take a stroll if the meal just isn’t working out. Whether you’re at grandma’s house or a restaurant, it happens to the best of us. Grab a plate to enjoy later and know that next time it’ll probably be better.