Traveling Kids and New Foods: Get kids to try new things
Traveling kids and New Foods
Foodies love travel and exploring countries through foods. Even those of us who don’t think of ourselves as ‘foodies’ can appreciate trying some new things when we travel. Kids don’t always feel the same way. Kids and new foods don’t always get along.
Grown ups know you don’t have to get too far away from your regular foods to try something new. For example, ice-cream at home isn’t that far from gelato in Italy. Waffles in Belgium have new yummy stuff on top like chocolate and whipped cream but aren’t really that different from the ones at home. French fries are similar the world over.We love to try all the local fair! In Spain – paella, churros, and sangria. In Morocco we were trying the mint tea (tastes like warm Spearmint gum) and lentil soup.
But what about the kids? Some kids don’t like their food to ‘touch’ so they sure won’t go for something like paella or gnocchi!
Traveling Kids and New Foods: Eat mostly familiar
My philosophy on vacation food is to try new things if something looks interesting, but in general, we allow the kids to eat as familiar as possible. So, that means lots of pasta (no sauce for chickadee #1), bread, pizza, gelato, and french fries. They love continental breakfasts of sweets and breads. Even in Morocco sweet stuff was reasonably familiar. There are lots of places around the world who will happily make adjustments for children. Just ask.
Traveling Kids and New Foods: Eat to get full
The goal of meal time is for everyone to leave with a full belly. Hungry travelers are cranky. Let the kids eat pasta and bread to get full and have them take a little nibble off of your plate to introduce them to new foods. The less pressure and stress, the more open they are likely to be for trying new things anyway.
A kids diet high in pasta and bread might not sound like the healthiest idea, but don’t you splurge a little on vacation? An extra glass of wine? Do you have dessert while on vacation when you don’t usually?
Chocolate really does taste better on vacation! And calories on vacation don’t count! Is it really that different or bad for chickadee to eat only pasta for a day? Eat more bread than usual?
Traveling Kids and New Foods: Eat healthy at home
I feed them as healthy as possible at home (like putting money in the health bank) and when on vacation I give them a multiple vitamin each day and let the chips fall as they may (like making a withdrawal from the health bank). Considering we spend a lot more time at home than on vacation I figure it all turns out OK in the end.
If you feel better, bring kids’ vitamins with you. These and fiber chewies can help everyone stay healthy and happy while traveling.
Traveling Kids and New Foods: Eating to Avoid foodborne illnesses
An added benefit is that eating pasta and bread is a great way to avoid foodborne illnesses, too. Heaven knows that is wonderful for everyone!
2 – Avoid raw fruits and vegetables that have been washed in local water.
3 – Eat hot food – hot. Be wary of street food at off times and food that has been sitting out like on buffets.
4 – Fruits you have to peel are the safest – like bananas.
5 – Avoid ice cubes!
6 – Eat cold foods – cold. Ice cream that has been sitting out is a breeding ground for bacteria.
Traveling Kids and new Foods: Traveler’s Diarrhea
Sometimes the worst happens and someone in the traveling party gets sick. How do you cope?
“There are a number of myths surrounding traveler’s diarrhea: The good bacteria in your gut is enough to overcome any bad bacteria. (Wrong.) Imodium will only lengthen your illness. (Wrong again.) In fact, “there is no food on the planet that will protect against an onslaught of toxic bacteria,” says Dr. Phyllis Kozarsky, an expert on traveler’s health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in this New York Times article. Instead, an early dose of antibiotics is strongly recommended. Trying to “wait it out” just means you give the bacteria more time to thrive, making you that much sicker. Antibiotics are “often miraculous cures because 80 percent to 90 percent of traveler’s diarrhea cases are caused by bacteria,” says Dr. Kozarsky.”
Every parent knows that illness seems to happen on a long weekend or holiday or in the middle of the night! Be sure to have enough meds in your own first aid kit to tide you over until you can find local medical help. See tips for what to pack in your first aid kit here.
Traveling Kids and New Foods: Eating and Enjoying Meals with Kids
Meal times can be a big part of holidays. Often meal times in other countries take longer than they do at home. For example, French meals can take hours! Happy kiddos make the mealtime more pleasant for everyone. Be prepared – get all the tips you need here for a peaceful mealtime!
Interested kids are happy! Use my ebooks, written for kids, with information and activities on specific destinations to keep kids engaged! Perfect waiting for the food to arrive at dinner. Check out these titles: Spain, London, Nassau, Canada, Austin, Prado, Vatican City, France, New York City, Louvre, Galleria Borghese, Rome.
Happy travels and yummy adventures!
Natalie, The Educational Tourist
Health bank…perfect analogy! I agree with you 100%! Nothing about a vacation should be routine so as long as they are getting SOMETHING in their stomachs, all the better for everyone!
Full tummies = happy everyone!
GREAT post! We take it for granted that as adults trying new is something we love to do and it’s not always the same with children. I don’t personally have children but from spending a lot of time with me niece I know for sure that she is so fussy and will never try new foods, she often throws a tantrum when I try to introduce her to anything new. Thank you for the post, it was very educational, I will send this link to my brother. I also really liked that you cleared the myth around travelers diarrhea.
There is a lot to consider when taking the kids. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
Glad to help. It is hard to travel with the kids and I think that taking a deep breath and remembering that every single moment is new to them helps us all relax. Just the getting there part – airplanes, trains, etc. is so new…it is OK to have french fries and bread only. 🙂 Aunts play a BIG role in the lives of littles. She will look up to you and one day will try anything you want her to because you will be SOO cool. 😉 Thanks so much for stopping by!
food is just the best thing ever. I could eat all day long 😀
Some really important points. I have two small kids and food has always been a matter of concern when travelling. Like you said we let them eat what they comfortable with but also encourage them to try new things. Thanks
Yes, the combination of a little new but with some comfort (and enough to make sure you have a full tummy)is the magic sweet spot! Parents always walk that tight rope. Kudos to you for traveling with your little ones and showing them the world! You are raising global citizens and creating family memories.
Great post I really like how you explaind it with putting money in the bank and then make a withdraw really good post
Thanks! The kids really get an understanding of money and using language in different ways when you use idioms and euphemisms. 🙂
I do not have a child yet but I have traveled with my nephews. My oldest nephew likes to eat at fast-food chains only. He will not try to eat anything local. My youngest nephew got an upset tummy when my sister fed him with noodles in HongKong. It would be better to do some research about the restaurants too when you travel.
Yes and sometimes it is not worth the fight. We encourage, but don’t require trying the new stuff. There is nothing wrong with ordinary food you are used to! Traveling really shows the world to keeps but you don’t have to do it all at once!
This is a legitimate concern – thanks for bringing up this topic. Most of us are adventurous enough to try new food but for kids, it is important to be extra careful.
This is such a great guide! You thought of seriously everything. I don’t have children, but hope to one day and to travel with them. Will definitely take your tips into account.
Food is one of the biggest challenges when traveling with a kid. Your points are very thoughtful and helping. I have a trip to Europe next and I have already started thinking what all my little one can have there
I was almost going to say, wow who feeds their kids just pizza, pasta and bread! But then I read your explenation which is fair enough, but I think once I have my own children, I’d rather give them proper food instead of vitamins and a non healthy meal maybe once a day when on holidays and once a week when back home. This is how I manage to stay healthy while allowing some naughty food and I think I would like my children to do the same.
These are great tips for traveling with kids! I will pin this on my Kid Travels Pinterest board!
Thanks! You can NEVER be too prepared when you travel with the kids! I’ll check out your pinterest board because I’m always on the lookout for new ideas. Keeping the kids occupied and engaged keeps everyone happy! 🙂