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Moms know that snacks are an invaluable tool to have on hand. Not only do they curb meltdowns, but they can also help encourage good behavior. Snacks are even more important when flying with kids. On an airplane, snacks can save you from temper tantrums and frayed nerves. But, not all snacks are created equal. Here is a list of the best and worst airplane snacks for kids.
The Best Airplane Snacks for Kids
There are actually a lot of great options when it comes to picking airplane snacks for kids. Some of these are more suited for older kids, while others are perfect for little ones. Some will be enjoyed by kids of all ages. Many of these choices are healthy, while a few of them are just yummy treats. Want a printable grocery list of the best airplane snacks? See the box at the bottom of this page to get it!
Goldfish are a universal favorite snack for kids of all ages. They make a great airplane snack because they are not messy, take up very little space, and won’t spoil.
2. Annie’s Bunnies
Annie’s Bunnies are similar to goldfish. They are good airplane snacks for kids for the same reasons as above.
Pretzels are a smart choice for an airplane snack for older kids. They are durable, portable, and can be eaten anywhere. I recommend grabbing some of the small bags to throw in your carry-on for the flight.
4. Ritz Crackers
Ritz crackers are perfect if you have kids of varying ages. Even babies can enjoy gumming on one of these buttery discs. And, other than crumbs, they are mess-free.
5. Gummy Bears
If you are looking for something a little sweeter, look no further than gummy bears. They are easy for kids to eat and, generally, don’t involve sticky hands.
Cheerios are another universal favorite of kids. It seems like every mom starts buying Cheerios when her first kid is a baby! Throw some in a ziploc bag and take them with you. Chances are, the bag will be empty by the time you reach your destination.
Another sweet option is cookies. Whether your family likes Oreos, sugar cookies, or oatmeal raisin, they are sure to be a hit on the plane. I would recommend staying away from anything with chocolate, though, because they can get messy if the chocolate melts.
For a healthy choice, my favorite airplane snack is grapes. My son loves them. They aren’t messy and don’t need to be kept cold. Just be sure you pack the seedless variety.
9. Apple Slices
Apple slices is another wonderful airplane snack for kids. To avoid them turning brown, either pack store-bought slices or squeeze some lemon juice on them after you cut them up.
10. Graham Crackers
Many young children love graham crackers. They make smart airplane snacks for kids because they are easy to tote and will leave your kids nice and clean. Both the traditional crackers and the bear shaped ones are great for flights.
Popcorn is a crowd pleaser in any setting. You can buy small bags of already-popped popcorn or you can pop your own and put it in ziploc bags. Either way, your kids will love it.
12. Sandwich Crackers
Whether you prefer cheese or peanut butter, sandwich crackers are great for taking on airplanes because of their portability. They can fill little bellies without making a kid-size mess.
13. Animal Crackers
Another snack loved by kids and moms alike is animal crackers. Buy some individual boxes or fill some ziploc bags and throw into your carry-on bag. They are guaranteed to hold off the hunger pains while in the air.
Cheezits have always been one of my favorite snacks. The little cheezy square crackers are a good pick when your kids want a crunchy bite.
15. Dried Fruit
Packages of dried fruit make great airplane snacks for kids. Choose from banana chips, dried cherries, raisins, or other dried fruit. They take up little space, are healthy, and aren’t messy.
16. Fruit Snacks
Most kids love fruit snacks. The small packages make them perfect for taking on your flight. Pack a few for each child and you will be ready to go.
17. Trail Mix
For older kids, trail mix is a wonderful airplane snack. The varieties are endless. And it is pretty filling too.
If you have a chip lover in the family, Pringles is an excellent choice for taking on airplanes. The small tubes are perfect for traveling.
Another sweet treat that travels well is licorice. Grab a bag and take it with you. Your kids can snack on these fun sticks throughout the flight.
20. Cereal Bars/Granola Bars
For healthy goodness in a portable package, you can’t go wrong with cereal or granola bars. Handing one of these to your starving child midflight can curb the hunger pains until you land.
The Worst Airplane Snacks for Kids
The snacks on my list of the worst airplane snacks for kids made the list simply because they are not practical for eating in the small confines of an airplane. They are simply more hassle than they are worth.
1. Cheesy Chips
Any variety of chips, such as Cheetos or Doritos, that leaves that orange cheese residue on your fingers is a bad choice for an airplane snack. Not only do you have to clean your child’s hands when they are finished, but you also have to worry about them getting the residue on everything.
When traveling, you can’t control the temperature of your surroundings. Because of this, chocolate makes a terrible snack option. You can’t guarantee it won’t melt. If it does, you either end up with a huge mess or a crying kid because their snack is gone.
The biggest problem with Starbursts on an airplane is that they are individually wrapped. This means that you will have a pile of wrappers with no place to put them. Just not worth the effort.
Lunchables are wonderful for school, but not for airplanes. They are just too hard to keep them cold. The last thing you want on vacation is a child with food poisoning!
Yogurt, even in tubes, is healthy and portable, but it is too messy for eating on airplanes. There is nothing worse than being midair and having yogurt all over everything. Plus, you can’t keep it cold.
6. Whole Fruit
I don’t recommend whole fruit for your flight. Most fruit comes with either peels, cores, or seeds that need to be thrown away. Additionally, the juice in them can make your child’s hands, face, and clothes sticky.
7. String Cheese
String cheese is another bad snack for flights because, like yogurt, it needs to be kept cold. This is difficult to do when traveling.
Packing snacks is an easy way to make flying with kids smoother. Snacks can prevent meltdowns and motivate your kids to behave during the trip. However, some snacks are better for airplanes than others. This list of the best and worse airplane snacks for kids should make your travels even easier. With the above good snacks in your carry-on, you are sure to have a wonderful flight. For more help, see tips on flying with kids, preparing kids for long flights, and common mistakes when flying with toddlers. For road trips, see my best road trip snacks for kids. Happy travels!
P.S. Get a FREE printable version of this list to take to the grocery store with you so you won’t forget to pick up the best snacks for your kids before your next flight! Find it in our Travel Resource Library. See the box below to get access.