I must confess, my son is not a picky eater. There are various reasons to why I suppose. Perhaps it is because we chose to baby led wean him or maybe it’s the all vegetarian preschool he’s been at since he was one. He has always been great at trying new food, however, he is also very particular about his everyday snacks which is why I was so scared to travel abroad. All I read online was to bring all the snacks on the plane, there was even a suggestion to put various snacks in a bait storage box so that your plane ride was somewhat “easier”. This must be the least helpful advice I’ve read regarding traveling with a toddler. Goldfish crumble and leave a mess for the crew to clean, chocolate, cereal and pretzels just didn’t seem to fit what my kid eats. I also don’t quiet my child down with food at home, so doing it on a plane wasn’t going to do it either. This doesn’t mean to not bring a treat or snack for your tot but you certainly do not have to waste space or time on all the options for them.
Let me first start by saying that international (Delta specifically) flights keep you fed every few hours, especially the “long” ride back where most of the flight was during the day. It wasn’t awful food either…. ice cream, little cookie kid packs and sometimes if they were nice they saved a piece of fresh fruit from first class when my tot really wanted an apple. I never found a situation where I had to feed him a tackle box full of snacks or supplement anything to keep him entertained when there was a monitor full of games and movies to keep his attention.
We were lucky enough to have the first country we visit be one that is made up of fish and chips. Fries are his favorite and he loved the fish…. dipped in ketchup. I won’t even try to pretend that he didn’t eat fries almost every day but we also were able to shop at the local co-op’s and buy food to cook to establish a sort of normality a few days out of our trip. Cooking together is a big deal in our family which is why we love renting a home/apt while abroad, it allows us to continue to cook together with new and familiar ingredients. We also had some local pizza, pasta and meat pies. Honestly, the food we consumed was not that different from home and we all love to reminisce about our time picnicking at Greens Park in London which included fruit, salami sandwiches and fruity bubble water. During Scotland’s Fringe Festival we even decided to have dessert first and watch all the festival goers before dinner.
The next year our travels led us to the cuisines of German- Swiss and French. Our first stop in Lucerne we had a lovely lunch by the lake that included vegetables and sausage. I wasn’t worried with what and when my child ate the first few days there as we accustomed our bodies to the time change. Thankfully one thing he is a fan of was croissants and soon he became open to more cuisine. Pasta with ham, schnitzel and again, fries. Let me also add that we ALL became fans of the go to café sandwich in Switzerland…a baguette with sliced hard-boiled eggs and salami. We decided to stock up for the long train rides between cities and carry food we loved with us along the way. By the time we visited France our tot was alongside eating local fish and crepes and taking in the culture.
Before setting out to a new location, try some dishes of the country you are visiting or wanting to visit one day. Make a dish at home and let your tot help. Have them smell spices and taste as you cook. This will go a long way and get them excited about visiting other countries one day. The key is to always keep exploring even if you don’t have a trip planned. Local international festivals are a great to way to experience cuisine from another country in a fairly inexpensive way.