Food Aversions: Tips for Kids and Travel Eating

Food Aversions: Tips for Kids and Travel Eating

Food aversions can make travel a daunting task…will there be food for everyone? Will we be able to have happy tummies in far away places with food way different than our own? Yes. Yes you can!

Food aversions dried fruits

What are food aversions? How is that different from being a picky eater?

Food aversions:

According to Family Education, a food aversion is a feeling of “complete revolt against a food and the inability to eat it”.

Moms often have experience with food aversions during pregnancy. For me, once I was pregnant I could not even visit a favorite restaurant that hubby and I had often enjoyed.  I could not even get near some meals I had previously enjoyed.  The theory, during pregnancy, is that aversions are your body’s way of telling you what you need and what you do not need. For pregnant women, thankfully, food aversions that appear during pregnancy often disappear when baby arrives.

But, what about food aversions in children? The Child Mind Institute suggests several reasons children have food aversions. Kids might have an increased sense of smell and flavors are more intense for them than for others and sometimes food aversions and anxiety go together.

Food Aversions vs Picky Eaters

People tend to have strong reactions to the phrase ‘food aversion’.  They think food aversion is in the same category as a picky eater.

A picky eater usually has a long list of things they will eat and the pickiness is easy to deal with. They might prefer that foods not ‘touch’ or that the crust be cut off of bread for example.

A child with a food aversion will physically be unable to eat foods without gagging or choking and often has a very short list of things they can eat. Read more about picky eating and tips for dealing with it here.

Food Aversions vs Allergies

Most people have a food or two that they just think is disgusting. Hubby can’t handle liver. Travel BFF can’t handle bananas and Travel Grandmother will not let yogurt pass her lips. These are more the idea of a food aversion.

Food aversions are more like SEVERE ideas in your head that prevent you from eating a certain food. Aversions are totally different from allergies which are PHYSICAL and can be life threatening. If you are traveling with a kiddo with food allergies, read more here.

Traveling with Allergies

Sometimes people roll their eyes and suggest I am being too easy on the child and am ‘letting the child run things’. I can’t tell you how many disapproving looks I’ve received over the year in regards to the very, very small list of things my son will eat. To those people I would suggest this wonderful article that explains food aversions. It is a very interesting read.

We encourage trying new things but Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Food aversions: Rome wasn't built in a day

Tips for Traveling with Food Aversions and Picky Eaters

Forget trying new things. This is a vacation, a holiday, a break even for your picky eater. Let them relax and forget about work and trying and improving. Let them just be.

Research. Are the things your child will eat common in your destination? If so, you’ll want to know how to pronounce and spell that food in the local language. Thankfully

Pack wisely. Bring food. Whatever calorie dense food that your child will eat is the thing to pack. Cheerios? Goldfish? Peanut butter? A certain cracker?

Don’t forget drinks. Sometimes a familiar drink will help smooth things over when food is really hard. Consider powdered drinks like Kool-Aid, Gatorade, and even Tang from home. You can buy small packages and pour into purchased water bottles.

Mail a care package to hotels to arrive before you do. Email the hotel and tell them you are sending a package. They’ll hold it for you no problem! How successful this is depends upon the mail system of your destination. For example, we sent boxes ahead to Italy. Out of three boxes sent 6 weeks ahead of time..only one arrived. One just disappeared from the face of the Earth (or was eaten by someone somewhere??) and the other traveled the world and arrived back home in the states 5 months later.

This is what a box that has been in the mail system for 5 months looks like. I wish it could talk. I’d love to hear all about its journey!!

Food aversions: Shipped box of food

 Inside things looked pretty much the same as when I put them in the mail…

Food aversions: contents shipped box

slightly smashed, but not too badly…

Food Aversions: Crushed cookie box

except for the potato chips. Hmm…..

Food Aversions: Crushed potato chip bag

They were potato chip dust. But…they still tasted good!Food Aversions: Crushed potato chips

Preparation for a trip makes things run smoothly even for traveling with food aversions and picky eaters. Do you have any tips you would like to share?

Read more about Traveling Food and KIDS

Food in Greece!

Japan – Food Your Kids Will Love

Kid Friendly Food in Madrid, Spain

Traveling with the KIDS takes extra planning. Read more about how to take the kids in these related posts:

Activities to Keep Kids Busy on an Airplane

Preschool Activities for the Plane

Is Your Infant Old Enough to Fly?

Pack Light and still look GREAT

The Educational Tourist in Athens with acropolis in background,

Happy travels,

Natalie, The Educational Tourist

The Educational Tourist logo


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5 Responses

  1. Jennie Kerley says:

    What a great idea!!

  2. NatalieTanner says:

    I’m glad you enjoyed!

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