You might know how to travel with kids but are you one of the millions of parents around the world that has a picky eater? I hear you! I may have one or two picky eaters of my own! While it bothers me a little that they are so picky, it really becomes a challenge when we travel. It’s already hard enough making sure I have all I need to travel easier with kids but when it comes to food, I don’t really have any control with what the restaurants serve hundreds or thousands of miles away from home and I can never guarantee that I can find exactly what a certain person will technically eat. However, we have successfully traveled with a picky eater and you can too!
Here are 8 tips for traveling with a picky eater:
1. Make Sure They Eat a Good Breakfast
Most picky eaters are not as picky when it comes to breakfast foods, so many sure that yours eats a good breakfast every single day when you are traveling. Those foods will fill your picky eater up enough, so they are not miserable all day long when they are not getting too many other calories. You may even want to consider visiting a restaurant that serves breakfast all day long, so that they can eat breakfast foods during a second meal. I know that this isn’t always an option, but it is possible in many destinations.
2. Try a Buffet
I know that many people are not thrilled with buffets, but when you are traveling, you may want to make an exception. Buffets will allow your picky eaters to have a variety of choices, so that they can have exactly what they want, when they want it. This is also an excellent way to see if you can encourage your picky eaters to try something new, especially if it looks appealing on the buffet line.
3. Create Your Own Buffet
If you cannot possibly eat at a buffet, or one is nowhere to be found where you are, you can always create your own buffet. All you need to do is order a couple of dishes that you know your picky eaters will devour and a couple dishes that might be a little unfamiliar to them. Simply set them in the middle of the table and see if your picky eater dives in for a bite or two of the unfamiliar foods. You may be surprised to see that they will eat a little of everything since it is not directly in front of them.
4. Consider a Little White Lie
If your picky eater is young enough, you might be able to get away with a couple of little white lies when you are traveling. So many foods could be considered chicken, just like you can say that most red meat is steak. If they do not know what they are eating and think that they are eating something that they love, you will be more successful. This obviously won’t work with older picky eaters, although it could if you order it when they are not around and simply tell them what you want it to be when it arrives.
5. Do a Little Research
When you choose your travel destination, you will want to do a little research to see what types of foods are available there. This is especially important when you are traveling overseas, because those are the places that will have foods that your picky eaters are not used to having. As you are doing your research, you will want to see if there are any foods that your picky eater will eat and where you will be able to find it. This is an excellent time to get together a list of restaurants that you know your child will eat something at, so you can plan your activities around when you need to be nearby those places at mealtimes.
6. Pack Some Food
Since you have a picky eater, you know the struggles! Therefore, take advantage of your knowledge and pack some food that you know your picky eater will eat. You will be amazed at how far that jar of peanut butter will get you when you are traveling! The same goes for all those prepackaged snacks and cookies that you know your picky eater loves!
7. Head to the Grocery Store
Sometimes you might not know that your picky eater is going to be that picky until you arrive at your destination. While you may think that you can survive and they will find something to eat eventually, you might want to stop into a nearby grocery store just in case. Once inside, your picky eater can help you find some foods that they will eat, or you can simply try to find their favorites. You shouldn’t give up trying to get them to eat what is set in front of them at restaurants, but at least you will have a backup plan if they don’t.
8. Give Them Food Before Bedtime
Whether your picky eater eats throughout the day or not, it is always a good idea to give them something to eat before they go to bed each night. This will allow them to make up for a few calories that they might not have gotten throughout the day and they will sleep much better. Of course, this can also add a few calories to the next day, which can help if they choose to be really picky that day! This is one of the times when you may want to pull out the food that you brought with you or grabbed from the grocery store.
It will be challenging to survive traveling with a picky eater, but you can do it if you follow the tips that I mentioned above. The best things that you can do is keep an open mind and have a little patience. No picky eater has ever starved when traveling with their family, so you have an excellent chance that your picky eater will find the calories that they need when you are far away from home. And once you’ve figured out how to manage their diet when you’re traveling, keeping them active and not bored requires a different set of skills as well as a bunch of travel games!