Nourishing Portable Food: Babies & Little Ones

We are taking a pause from our simplifying series today to participate in the Nourishing Portable Food Challenge hosted by The Nourishing Gourmet.

My challenge lately has been to supply my little toddler (who eats a ton!) with portable nourishing food for on the go! We have to be creative in bringing snacks for car rides, church services, extended outings doing errands, etc. or we might just have a disaster! I have learned this lesson the hard way…don’t go grocery shopping when you kids are hungry unless you have something to give them! Being pregnant, I am also having to think about bringing good protein snacks for myself on the go.

Here are a few of our ideas…

1. Pancakes - homemade pancakes as easy to make in large batches and stick in the freezer until ready to use. They can be torn into small pieces and placed in a baggie for infants to feed themselves on the road. I love these pancakes and they can be made with just brown rice & millet for a gluten free version. This is my #1 choice for the road because it lasts a long time at room temperature!

2. Homemade Crackers - this recipe is excellent for taking around in the car. I recommend less baking powder (more like 3/4 tsp) than the recipe calls for, as I made it twice following the recipe and it produced a strong sour aftertaste. It may just be me, but I didn’t prefer that in my crackers.

3. Applesauce Bread - or any kind of baked bread (banana, zuchhini, etc) makes a yummy and nutritious snack for baby on the go.

4. Raisins (for older little ones) – Karis loves raisins (in moderation ;) . No mess!

5. Blueberries – fresh is easiest, but I have also brought frozen in a small bag for Karis to munch on. Also consume in moderation.

6. String Cheese- this is one of Karis’ favorite on the go foods. Remains fresh for most longer car rides, unless subject to intense heat, then you might have a mess. Great protein snack for the pregnant/nursing mommy as well!

7. Larabars - I am looking forward to trying this homemade recipe for simple nutrition bars, not only for the little one but for me as well! Made with dates, coconut flakes, dried nuts and seeds of your choice. Another great protein snack for pregnant/nursing mommy.

8. Avacados & Bananas – Most of the above items are easy for little ones to feed to themselves, but on other long travel rides, I have often brought avacados and bananas as items I could feed to her while we traveled. These both last well without refrigeration.

A few other recipes I came across while preparing this post: Really Raw Honey Balls & Arrowroot Cracker Bits. These are found at the end of an excellent post on Growing Wise Kids – knowing what and how to feed children nutritionally. Yummy!

As Karis gets bigger, we will start including ideas such as sliced apples (without the peel) and carrot sticks.

Scoop on Cheerios

It was so easy at first to just buy a box of cheerios to have on hand for these outings. That is until I read a little bit more on this. Cheerios along with any boxed cereals have a high content of phytates which make them difficult to digest, and they go through extensive processing, which destroys most, if not all, of the nutrients.

“Avoid Extruded grains, such as cold breakfast cereals, including puffed cereals, or rice cakes (and cheerios). Not only have these over-heated and pressurized foods caused rapid death in test animals, but the process destroys the existing nutrients and makes the end product exceedingly difficult to digest.43

Fallon, Sally. Nourishing Traditions. New Trends Publishing. 2001 Page 25.

I would love to hear more ideas for nutritional portable food for the littles!

For more nourishing practices for on the go, visit The Nourishing Gourmet.

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

23 Responses to Nourishing Portable Food: Babies & Little Ones

  1. Katie January 21, 2011 at 8:02 pm #

    This has been my favorite, easy and satisfying food-on-the-go. I purchased some sippy cups that use straws. I whip up a 3 minute fruit smoothie with added greens and a few nuts for protein. Pour it in the cup and their thirst and hunger is satiated when we need to be on our way.

  2. amandaginn November 25, 2009 at 11:14 am #

    Anyone out there have a good homemade fig newton recipe?

  3. Kim June 19, 2009 at 4:12 am #

    I’ve got two words…BOILED GARBANZO BEANS!!

    • Kim June 19, 2009 at 4:13 am #

      haha, that was three words, ok…BOILED CHICKPEAS!

  4. VirginiA September 1, 2008 at 2:08 pm #

    I make “egg muffins” for my toddler and they are a easy, healthy, portable, high protein snack! I use a mini muffin tin and put cheese and frozen chopped spinach (but you could use whatever you want) in and then pour in beaten egg (w/ a little milk) and bake for about 20 minutes. They are yummy….and freeze well!

  5. Lanette September 1, 2008 at 12:05 pm #

    For a baby, I like to take along any clean, soft, ripe fruit that is stored at room temperature and a spoon in a ziploc bag. When it’s time to eat, I take a large, shallow bite- mostly peel- then spoon out the inside to feed baby. I keep taking bites and scooping out the inside until the baby has enough and finish off the remains myself. Pears and peaches are nice.

  6. Sarah August 28, 2008 at 8:21 pm #

    Yum! Great suggestions! Like your pancakes, I’ve found that just a piece of wheat bread is often the perfect snack for my little guy. People look at me wierd in the grocery store, but he’s happy with it and I know that he is getting a wholesome snack!

    We also love fresh fruit (though this is always better at home), raisins, string cheese and I’ve ben experimenting with homemade graham crackers and whole wheat crackers (similar to wheat thins). He likes the graham crackers so much, I think it finally sunk in what the sign for “cracker” is in the past few days and he is now singing it every five minutes to get another one! :)


  7. Jenny August 28, 2008 at 10:57 am #

    I used to eat Larabars but they are very expensive! I make my own “date balls” by simply putting dates I put myself into a cuisinart, with a touch of coconut oil and some cocount flakes. I often add an oilier nut like walnuts too.

    You simply blend everything, then take the “dough” and make it into bitesized little balls. Then I stick them in the fridge because I like them hard, not soft. They keep really well – and are a very nutritios snack! You can make about 24 from one little thing of dates from Whole Foods – so you save a ton of money versus Larabars. : )

    • Lindsay August 28, 2008 at 11:29 am #

      Oh yes, I know. I actually was referring to a homemade variety as well. I provided a link above to the recipe I will be trying. Thanks for your version as well! Sounds the same.

  8. [email protected] August 27, 2008 at 4:12 pm #

    Thanks for the great ideas! I am expecting my first baby and looking for all the tips I can find. :)

  9. lylah ledner August 27, 2008 at 3:59 pm #

    fantastic lindsay….i keep forwarding these great ideas you have to my sister in law who just moved here from Portland! blessings woman…lylah

  10. Amy August 27, 2008 at 2:25 pm #

    My daughter is two and she loves apples diced up real small in a baggie. I started doing this for church instead of cereal. It takes her awhile to eat, isn’t messy, and is better than cereal.

  11. Leticia August 27, 2008 at 1:26 pm #

    Mine are way beyond baby and toddler stages but I hope to have grandkids someday! These are great ideas much better than dry cereal. Thanks for sharing

  12. Lorrie August 27, 2008 at 12:24 pm #

    I often make pumpkin pancakes and freeze them. All I do is add half a can of pumpkin to a pancake recipe and a little cinnamon and nutmeg. This is a great way to get extra vitamins into a toddler without them knowing it. When my daughter was little I used to take along a bag of frozen peas. She really liked these, especially when she was teething.

    • Lindsay August 27, 2008 at 1:25 pm #

      Great idea! Yes, I forgot to mention the frozen peas! Those work well at our house too.

  13. Kate August 27, 2008 at 11:34 am #

    Raw veggies, like carrot sticks and celery.

    After JUST (like this morning lol) having a root canal, and still have some silver fillings in my mouth (I think I have 2 other ones), I’m more concerned about mercury poisoning at this point. I grew up eating Cheerios, and haven’t had any problems. My children don’t eat Cheerios everyday, or every week. It’s just something we have on hand.

    Oh grocery stores! My mother told me that she never took us to the store around nap time or a meal time. She made she we were fed and awake before venturing out. Made her life easier, and the people in the store. There’s always that one child who wasn’t fed or is so tired! And she’s left the grocery store if we were cranky and crying from hunger and tiredness (it did happen, not often tho). She just had to do her shopping another time.

  14. Carey August 27, 2008 at 11:34 am #

    Another good post, and we all need portable food. On the cheese string, what are you buying?????

    • Lindsay August 27, 2008 at 1:24 pm #

      I try to get organic cheese when possible or just the Trader Joe’s cheese (which doesn’t have preservatives, GST’s and the like), but it is rather expensive. We don’t eat it a lot, as it is mainly for traveling uses, so we currently have some standard mozzarella cheese sticks in my frig. My goal is to cut up my raw milk cheddar (which I get through Azure), into cheese stick quantities and have them available that way.

      • Carey August 27, 2008 at 1:56 pm #

        I’ll have to see what our health store has. I don’t remember seeing any cheese strings there. My kids love them, and I get the regular brands for treats in lunches but would like a healthier option for sure, thanx!

  15. Mrs. Taft August 27, 2008 at 10:50 am #

    Yum! Veggies and dip can be good for older kids, and by dip I mean something stable like bean dip or hummus. My mom used to cut up apples and oranges, and arrange them in a bag so that the slices alternated. The apples helped to keep the oranges cool, and the vit. c in the oranges kept the apples from browning.

    One other thing about cheerios in particular is that it contains GMO’s. We avoid it for that reason.

  16. Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet August 27, 2008 at 10:07 am #

    Great topic. It’s so true that it takes thought into what snacks you can bring with you for little people. Elena also loves string cheese. You have some great ideas here! I love the pancake one (I thought I was the only one that did that!)

    Thanks for sharing about your crackers ending up sour. I remember that you had mentioned that before. I was puzzled as to why that was, when mine have never turned out sour. I found it interesting that you were able to figure that it was linked to the baking powder amount. I looked it up and using too much baking soda and certain types of baking powder can lead to bitter baking products. My baking powder must be the kind that doesn’t leave bitter aftertastes, which is why I never experienced that. I wanted to let you know that I have been experimenting with this recipe, and if you use buttermilk, you don’t really need to use the baking powder but can use baking soda instead. About 1 teaspoon, I think. This might also help. :-)

    Thanks for being part of the carnival and sharing some wonderful ideas!

  17. Shannon August 27, 2008 at 8:58 am #

    I like the idea of pancakes… seems a lot less messy than bread or muffins that crumble. We use the frozen food cube method, and this works well for a trip, b/c we put the food cube(s) in a glass bowl, and it is thawed by the time we get there, and ready to eat. Cooked lentils also make and easy-to-eat finger food for little ones on the go. I am new to your site and enjoying it!

  18. Alyssa August 27, 2008 at 8:18 am #

    Thank you for these ideas. With a 6 mo. old (still just nursing) I’ve been thinking alot lately about what I’m going to feed her in the upcoming months! I know cheerios are an easy pick, but I’d really rather limit those,too.
    And I’m excited about the portable food post, as this is the first time in my married life I’ve needed to pack lunches for my husband (he’s always either come home for lunch or it was provided). I’ve been trying to find ideas other than sandwiches and leftovers!