9 Tips for Healthy Eating when Traveling with Kids

Getting kids to eat healthfully is hard enough at home, but it’s even more difficult when the rules are relaxed, your schedule is askew, and sugary treats and fast food options abound on family vacation. Although it can be tough to ensure your family gets proper nutrition on the go, it’s definitely doable! How can you get your family to eat healthy when traveling? Follow our nine tasty tips for healthy eating while traveling with kids!

Make eating healthy fun when traveling with kids
Make eating healthy fun when traveling with kids! (Photo credit: Zucchini muffins, Depositphotos.com)

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Travel Mamas and Grownup Getaways sometimes receive compensation and/or hosted travel and sample products related to blog posts. This story may include affiliate links for which we receive a small commission at no extra cost to consumers. As an Amazon Associate, we earn money from qualifying purchases.

1. Boost immunity before your vacation.

The week before heading out, start adding immune-boosting foods into your family’s favorite dishes. Ground flax and hemp seeds are virtually unnoticeable in smoothies and muffins. Blended squash and zucchini disappear into spaghetti sauce. And, a little extra garlic tastes great in teriyaki chicken. Other immunity boosters include citrus fruits, blueberries, ginger, and turmeric.

Zucchini muffins
Add healthy ingredients like zucchini to treats like muffins (Photo credit: fahrwasser, Depositphotos.com)

2. Pack your own food for the plane or car.

We all know airline food is typically neither healthy nor delicious. Instead of being tempted by sodium-laden meals and trans-fat cookies, pack an attractive picnic for your flight or road trip. You need to clean out your fridge anyway, so pre-cut everybody’s favorite fruit and veggies.

Add whole grain crackers, nuts, cheese sticks, hard-boiled eggs, and a homemade oatmeal cookie (or two), and you’ll feel virtuous, indeed. (When it comes to packing nuts and nut butters, beware that airlines may prohibit eating your goodies due to food allergies.)

Pack healthy foods to eat during the journey
Bring healthy foods to eat during the journey (Photo credit: fahrwasser, Depositphotos.com)

3. Sip a smoothie.

Do like I do and make a bee-line for the nearest smoothie kiosk past security at the airport or make your first road trip pitstop at a juice shop. Typically I go for a raspberry concoction as it’s high in fiber and low in calories. My family members choose what they like, and everyone starts their holiday with a healthy and yummy punch.

Start you vacation with a healthy smoothie
Start you vacation with a healthy smoothie (Photo credit: ehaurylik)

4. Stash food in your luggage.

I don’t just pack snacks in my carry-on. I load up my family’s suitcases with granola bars, sealed fruit cups, nuts, mini containers of nut butter, and whole grain cereal. Just be sure not to pack fresh produce or other food items you may not be allowed to bring to your destination!

Certain countries (I’m looking at you, Mexico) throw additional sugar into the same brands we enjoy at home. Sugar lowers your immunity for up to 12 hours after ingesting it, so why set yourself up for sickness?

Colorful suitcases
Stash packages of healthy foods in your luggage (Photo credit: monticello, Depositphotos.com)

5. Supplement with multivitamins.

Despite your best efforts, you can’t force anyone to eat (or sleep, or use the bathroom). Hedge your bets by toting children’s multivitamins and get your kids in the habit of taking them once a day. Elderberry gummies are a yummy way to boost immunity while traveling, too.

Chewable travel vitamins for kids
Chewable gummies help kids get their vitamins while traveling (Photo credit: bodu10, Depositphotos.com)

6. Be consistent at home and when traveling.

The key to navigating many parenting conundrums is consistency and consequences. If the rule at home is no dessert until your children eat their vegetables, then this rule needs to apply while traveling, too. Be sure to initiate this practice before your holiday so they know you mean business.

My neighbor’s 10-year-old was dying to go to Italy, but he was a super picky eater. They made a deal that if he took up tomato sauce on his pasta and pizza for a year, his parents would consider it. Guess who’s now a fan of pasta alla norma, AND who got to see the canals of Venice?

Pasta alla Norma
Pasta alla Norma (Photo credit: myviewpoint, Depositphotos.com)

7. Make trying new foods fun.

Encourage kids to try unfamiliar foods while traveling by being the first to take a bite! Make it clear that kids need not eat the whole dish, but they must at least have a taste. Shareable platters make a fun way for everyone to explore a new cuisine. Additionally, unique ice cream flavors can be a great gateway food for broadening picky palates with new nuts and fruits!

Colorful gelatos
Encourage kids to try new fruits and nuts via ice cream while traveling (Photo credit: PHOTOLOGY1971, Depositphotos.com)

8. Squeeze in protein with Naked Nutrition.

Be sure to pack some protein bars for your family vacation. Children don’t always want to try new meat, fish, or cheese options while traveling and it can be hard to squeeze in enough protein.

Thankfully, protein bars can work as meal replacements or healthy travel snacks. For a protein-packed, gluten-free, low-sugar, fiber-rich option — check out Naked Bars by Naked Nutrition. They come in tempting flavors like Blueberry Almond, Chocolate Almond, Peanut Butter, and Mint Chocolate. Naked Bars are made with real ingredients like almond butter, blueberries and grass-fed whey protein — not chemicals.

Naked Nutrition also makes protein powders, shakes, and other supplements to support a healthy lifestyle. Get 10% off with discount code Naked10 on your first Naked Nutrition order today!

Blueberry Almond Naked Bars protein bars
Blueberry Almond Naked Bar protein bars are made with real ingredients like almond butter and blueberries (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

9. Lead by example.

Take a look at your own eating habits and be realistic. If kids don’t see their parents noshing on spinach, then it’s unlikely you’ll be able to convince them to do the same. All good habits start at home, so when you make a conscious effort to prepare and eat healthy meals during your everyday lives, you will be all set for healthy eating while traveling with kids.

Set an example for your kids by choosing healthy foods at home and when traveling
Set an example for your kids by choosing healthy foods at home and when traveling (Photo credit: bit245, Depositphotos.com)

Learn more travel tips.

For additional healthy eating travel tips, take a look at our picks for the best travel snacks.

Nutrition is just one portion of feeling fit while on the go. These healthy travel tips will help your family avoid illness when traveling.

A good night’s sleep is imperative for enjoyable travel. That’s why you need to read these travel sleep tips from a child sleep expert before you leave home!

All ages love these farm-to-table restaurants in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

How to Healthy While Traveling with Kids

Save these healthy eating tips!

Want to eat healthy while traveling with kids? Save this story for future reference! Simply pin the image above to Pinterest. We hope you’ll follow Travel Mamas on Pinterest while you’re at it!

Do you have any additional tips for eating healthy while traveling? Let us know in the comments below!

A Note from Travel Mamas: All opinions and advice are our own. Check with your family doctor or pediatrician before changing your family’s diet. 


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  1. Great tips! You really need to teach kids how to eat healthily! Creating healthy habits will hell your family grow stronger!

  2. Those are all great tips for eating healthy while traveling with kids. Even if you don’t have kids you can still follow these tips!

  3. Some really great tips in this post, thanks so much! It’s really not as difficult as people tend to think it is to stay eating healthy while travelling

    1. I think many of us (myself included!) tend to throw a lot of rules out the window when traveling. But you’re right, it’s not hard to eat healthy with a little effort and focus!

  4. I like boosting myself with vitamin C. Also, I like to prepare my own food. It’s yummier and healthier!

  5. No doubt travelling with kids can make it difficult to eat healthy! These are great tips to get over that difficulty, though! 🙂

  6. Packing your own food always goes a long way! You might not see it from the beginning but it does work out, for your benefit.

  7. The consistency in what applies at home and during travels is truly important. Thank you for sharing this!

  8. These tips are so helpful! It can be so challenging to get kids to eat healthy! Using multivitamins is always helpful!


    1. That little extra boost from multivitamins is so helpful because even when we eat our best, it’s easy to miss necessary nutrients. Thanks for your comment, Kileen!

  9. vitamin c is a must too!! these are all good tips and i think that packing your own food is a great one.