Looking for the perfect airplane snacks to keep your kids happy and satisfied during flights? Can the right snacks help? YES. From tasty fruit bars and crunchy veggie chips to wholesome granola bites and conveniently packaged treats, we have everything you need to keep hunger at bay while soaring through the skies.
When you travel by plane, everybody wants your kids to be content during air time: you, your kids, and maybe especially, the person sitting right next to your kids. (Hah!)
While plane travel always comes with uncertainty, you can fly in the pilot’s seat when it comes to the snacks you bring along. And if you choose well (and remember to pack your kids’ headphones!) you just might earn yourself a peaceful, tantrum-free flight.
Check out our list of healthy snack ideas that you can pack and serve mid-flight. Then keep scrolling for some snack-packing tips, and a quick run-down of the current TSA food rules.
Best Airplane Snacks
Homemade Snack Ideas
- Muffins. Muffins are easy to eat on the go, low-mess, energy-dense, and you can make them ahead of time and freeze them to be ready to go on your trip. Some of our favorites are: Sweet Spinach Muffins, Power Packed Fruit and Veggie Muffins, or Best Ever Bran Muffins.
- Granola Bars. This is another kid-pleasing snack that you can pack full of healthy ingredients like whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Grab-and-Go Granola Bars or Nut-free Chewy Granola Bars fit the bill.
- Energy Bites. These are another make ahead snack that travels well and it full of nutrition to keep your kids happy and satisfied. We have lots of Energy Bite recipes for you!
- Homemade Cookies. We like to bring cookies with oatmeal to stabilize blood sugar and keep your kids satisfied.
- Hard-boiled Eggs. Peel them ahead of time so you don’t have to deal with the shells.
- Fruit. Choose fruits that aren’t super juicy to minimize mess. We like grapes, apples, and bananas.
- Raw Veggies. Veggies that travel well are baby carrots, sugar snap peas, and bell pepper strips.
- Mini Sandwiches. Prepare mini sandwiches using just a few ingredients like bread, lean protein (such as turkey or chicken), and a slice of cheese. Using less toppings is less messy, satisfying and travel well.
- Mini Bagels with Cream Cheese
- Roasted Chickpeas
- Celery Sticks with Peanut Butter
- Mini Wraps (with deli meat or veggies)
- Apple Slices with lemon or lime juice.
- Homemade Protein Bars. These are seriously the best and you can leave the chocolate off for less mess.
- No Bake Snack Bar.
- Homemade Fruit Leather.
- Chex Mix.
Packaged Snack Ideas
With all the stress of packing, sometimes it is easier to buy packaged snacks that you can just grab and go. And even easier is when you can order them from Amazon and they come right to your house!
- Fruit Pouches. Even though these are a liquid, fruit pouches are 100% allowed on planes. They fall under the “baby food” category, which you have the green light to bring. This variety pack is our favorite.
- Dried Fruit. Mini boxes of raisins, yogurt covered raisins, sour fruity raisins, dried apricots and banana chips are great choices.
- Cheese Sticks. Individually wrapped cheese sticks are a convenient and protein-rich snack that kids love
- Single Serving Nut Packs. These pistachios packs are our favorite.
- Fruit Bars. These tasty bars made from real fruit are a hit among kids. Look for options without added sugars or artificial ingredients.
- Veggie Chips. Swap traditional potato chips for healthier veggie chips made from dried vegetables like sweet potatoes, beets, or kale. They’re crunchy and nutritious!
- On-the-go Trail Mix Packs. We love this kind, and also this kind.
- Individual Popcorn Packs.
- Nut Butter Packs. We like these peanut butter packs, almond butter packs, and also these chocolate hazelnut packs!
- Crackers with Cheese
- Pita Chips with Hummus Pack. These pita chips come in a variety pack.
- Yogurt-covered Pretzels. This brand is delicious.
- Seaweed snacks. More and more kids are coming to love these savory sheets made from nori seaweed.
- Beef jerky. These small beef jerky packs are perfect for travel.
- Rice Cakes. We love these different flavors.
- Squeezable Yogurt: Single-serve squeezable yogurt pouches are mess-free and a great source of calcium and probiotics.
- Mini Lara Bars
- Baby Food and finger foods. This variety pack of puffs, yogurt melts, and crunchy snacks is perfect.
- Granola Bites. We like the strawberry/cookies and cream and also the mixed berry/chocolate chip.
- Fig Bars.
- Crunchy Dried Fruit Packs.
- Suckers. The sucking action can help prevent your kids ears from hurting during takeoff and landing.
- Animal Crackers.
- Keep snacks in zippered plastic bags. As much as we love reusable baggies, dealing with reusables during travel is a huge pain. Pack snacks in individual portions that are easy to get and hand to kids one at a time. Then hand the empty baggies to the flight attendant when he comes down the aisle. You are allowed to take yogurt tubes, fruit pouches and peanut butter packets less than 3.4 ounces through security.
- Pack your own water bottles and sippy cups. If your kids get thirsty and you have to wait for the drink cart, a tantrum might be on its way. Bring your water bottles empty, and then fill it up after you go through security.
- Bring wet-wipes. These are great for spills, sticky hands and just freshening up.
- Pack a small backpack for your kids with a few things they love. Include one or two books, some snacks, and their water bottle. Kids love this independence; even toddlers love to be in charge of their own “stuff.” And you won’t have to carry as much.
- For breast-fed infants, nurse with confidence. A crowded plane probably isn’t your favorite place to feed your baby, but your fellow passengers will appreciate a calm, happy baby who’s allowed to nurse as he pleases. Nursing can also help relieve pressure buildup in baby’s ears during takeoff and landing.
- For bottle-fed infants, pre-measure formula or buy single-serving packets. Bring your own water to use. Make sure NOT to use water from the tap in the passenger bathroom for any any part of preparing or cleaning your baby’s bottles.
Favorite Travel Containers
Bento Snack Box
These are inexpensive (which is great if they don’t make it home) and have 4 perfectly portioned compartments making it easy to pack a variety of snacks.
5 Compartment Snack Box
Add a little more versatility with a slightly bigger 5th section for snacks, with the same great features as other snack boxes.
TSA Rules about Packing Food
If you’ve flown in the last decade, you know The TSA enforces fairly strict rules about what you can bring on the plane and what you can’t. Here are some of the specifics, in the words of the TSA, so you can know what to expect. (This info comes straight from the source at the TSA website.)
- “Formula, breast milk and juice are allowed in reasonable quantities in carry-on bags. Remove these items from your carry-on bag to be screened separately from the rest of your belongings. You do not need to travel with your child to bring breast milk.”
- “Baby food is allowed in reasonable quantities in carry-on bags. Remove these items from your carry-on bag to be screened separately from the rest of your belongings. ”
- “Solid food items (not liquids or gels) can be transported in either your carry-on or checked bags. Liquid or gel food items larger than 3.4 oz are not allowed in carry-on bags and should be placed in your checked bags if possible.”
- “Ice packs, freezer packs, frozen gel packs and other accessories required to cool formula, breast milk and juice are allowed in carry-on. If these accessories are partially frozen or slushy, they are subject to the same screening as described above. You may also bring gel or liquid-filled teethers, canned, jarred and processed baby food in carry-on baggage. These items may be subject to additional screening.”
- “You may purchase beverages after the security checkpoint and take them on the plane, as they have been previously screened. Empty drink containers can also be taken through the checkpoint and fill them afterward.”
Special Considerations Before Air Travel
If you or your child has specific needs or questions about what you can pack, just call your airline or the TSA. Ironing out the kinks before you get to the airport, rather than after, helps your travel day go as smoothly as possible. Bon Voyage!
I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.Learn More about Natalie