On the Road with Kids in Tow


This holiday week, and during the summer weeks to follow, many of us will be hitting the road or airways for summer vacation, with our kids in tow.

If you have little ones traveling with you, you can use your vacation as a chance to expose them to new foods and dishes, particularly if they are indigenous to the area you are visiting. Unfortunately, too many of us miss the opportunity to do just that. It’s a strange irony that when food could be such an interesting addition to a trip, too often families rely on the same-old, same-old that they eat at home. A lot of chefs whom I talked to for my book My Two-Year-Old Eats Octopus: Raising Children Who Love to Eat Everything said they see this all the time.

“I’ve noticed that when a lot of parents travel with their kids, they default to the easy, predictable stuff, even when they’re in a new place with a lot of interesting regional dishes available,” said Chef John Brand of Las Canarias Restaurant in San Antonio. “Even here, where we offer great Mexican foods that kids would probably love, people end up asking for the side of fries or a hamburger.

“I think they just don’t want to deal with another hassle when they travel. It’s really a shame, as it could be a great learning experience,” this father of three young boys added.

It sure can be, and I hope that if you are heading out for vacation this summer with your kids, you keep that in mind!

It may take a bit of planning, but make a decision to focus on the “food” aspect of your summer vacation can add a lot to your trip. Here are two tips to make traveling with kids a little easier, when it comes to the foods that they eat. If you have some more that work for your family, please leave them in a comment.

 Talk it Up! If you’ve read my book, you know that I am convinced that how we talk about food to our kids is critical in getting them to accept it. So make eating new foods in new places an interesting and talked about part of the vacation. Prep your kids for a new experience by being positive and upbeat about it; tell them how much they’re going to enjoy it.

 Don’t overlook the little things. Swing by a farmer’s market on a Saturday morning and stock up on local fruits for your car ride, hotel room or touring snacks. Check out the little mom-and-pop diner down the street from your motel. Sample local or regional candies, soda pops, ice creams, cheeses and other foods you know your kids already like.


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