Air Travel with Kids: Carry-on Essentials

It’s fair to say that air travel with children isn’t always easy. Even the shortest of flights can sometimes pose problems. However, there are a few things you can do to make your family’s air travel experience a little easier and definitely more enjoyable.

The best way to avoid unexpected problems is to make sure you pack all the necessary carry on essentials. This will, of course, vary according to how many kids youíre traveling with and their ages.

A good thing to do is make a list of everything you may need. Think of unforeseen situations like a child getting sick or a baby teething. If your flight is short then you donate have to worry as much but for long international flights it definitely helps to be prepared.

You not only need to make sure you have all the essentials for during the flight, but also be prepared for any unavoidable delays at departures or arrivals.

Here’s a list of some things to consider when packing your carry on bag:

Food for Babies & Toddlers – Take your diaper bag as you would normally do but make sure its stockpiled with foods such as various crackers, cheerios, or dried fruit and other healthy snacks. Also, youíll want to make sure your toddler doesnít have too much sugar on flight, especially a long flight. For baby, take along any baby food or formula you normally use. Itís always good to take a little extra but you donít have to overdo it. For example, if youíre flight is 6 hours then you may want to take enough supplies for 8 or 10 hours (just in case).

If you have kids that need special attention or medications you may want pack these essentials separately, or into one bigger bag so youíre not digging around for it during the flight. You may also want to pack some medicine in case your child develops a fever or headache.

Food for Preschoolers & Older Kids – Keep in mind that not all kids enjoy airline meals so take plenty of snacks in case they choose not to eat the in – flight meals. Pack a variety of fun and nutritious snacks such as granola bars, pretzels, cut up fruit, etc. You can also purchase some of these things on flight.

Drinks – You’ll be able to get drinks on most flights but for times like delayed take offs or landings, make sure you have some bottled water or juice on hand.

Change of Diapers & Clothes – Pack a bag full of diapers adequate for the length of the flight. Don’t forget to include wipes, changing mats, and diaper rash cream. It’s a good idea to pack extra wipes to wipe sticky hands and faces too.

And make sure you pack an extra set of clothes, not only for the kids but for yourself too. It is no fun sitting on a long flight in the same clothes your child has thrown up on. These things do happen and kids sometimes get motion sick on flights. So when packing a spare set of clothes add one for mom and dad too. Also, pack a few empty plastic bags to put soiled clothes in.

Games & Toys – Pack a few bright toys like teethers, stuffed animals, along with a favorite book to keep them happy. Make sure all toys are lightweight and safe. If your child is bringing along a handheld electronic game ask the flight attendants what period of time this can be used on flight. Electronic devices can interfere with aircraft navigational or take off safety system. Explain this to your child beforehand.

7 Quick and Easy Dinner Time Ideas

It is 6:00 p.m. the kids are hungry, homework needs to be done, you are stressed and then they ask, “Mom, what is for dinner?”

It is not easy juggling our busy lives while trying to feed our families a hot nutritious dinner everyday. These 7 quick and easy dinner ideas will help take the stress out of family meal times.

  1. Plan a Menu – This does take a little organizing ahead of time but its definitely worth the effort. Find a few minutes during the weekend and plan your meals for the upcoming week. Write a quick menu, do your shopping and stick the menu on your fridge. Every morning quickly glance at it and take out the foods that need thawing and plan ahead how much time you need to prepare the meal.
  2. Befriend the Crockpot – Okay, this little invention may not be the coolest kitchen gadget around but it can definitely be a lifesaver. With a little planning you can have a nutritious dinner ready before the kids can even say, “Mom”.
  3. The Casserole is Back – Similar to the crockpot but great for days when you forget to plan ahead. Casseroles work great with leftovers or just about any items you can find in your pantry. Throw together some pasta, tuna, corn kernels, peas and cream for a quick meal. Casseroles made with rice or potatoes are just as easy. Keep a few easy recipes on hand and add or omit ingredients according to what you have in your pantry.
  4. Easy, Versatile, Pasta – By far the easiest way to quickly throw together a healthy family dinner. To avoid boredom try to avoid the usual jar of sauce and pasta dinner. Try this, heat two tablespoons of olive oil over very low heat and add one crushed garlic bulb, stir for about a minute and add a can of drained crab meat, the juice of one lemon and a little salt and pepper to taste, and finally add a little chopped cilantro or parsley. Serve over your pasta with some garlic bread on the side for a delicious meal in minutes.
  5. Eggs, Incredible Eggs – Eggs aren’t only for breakfast, they are also great for quick dinners. Make an omelet and fill with a little ham and cheese, you can also add some chopped tomato, onions or mushrooms. Serve along with a salad and some bread. Or make a Spanish tortilla. Scrub, peel and thinly slice a couple of new or small potatoes. Add to a sauce pan with a little water and boil until soft, about 8 minutes. Add a little oil to a nonstick frying pan, add the potatoes, scramble eggs and a little chopped onion (optional) cook on low until the bottom starts to set. Then stick the frying pan under a hot grill until the top of the tortilla sets. Serve with a side salad.
  6. Sandwich Bar – Some days you just don’t have the time or energy to cook a hot meal, but you can still feed your family a nutritious meal in the way of sandwiches. Put out some bread rolls (whole wheat is best), add a platter of cheese, ham, turkey, tuna or any other favorite fillings. Add another platter of chopped lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and any other favorite veggies. Now let your kids put together their own sandwiches. Serve with some pretzels, a salad or cut up veggies and dip, a little hopeful but worth a try.
  7. Wrap It – Wraps are great for quick dinners. You fill them with just about anything. For a Mexican wrap cook a little ground beef, drain and fill wrap. Add some chopped tomatoes, grated cheese, sour cream or guacamole. You can also fill it with a little heated tuna with some corn kernels and a little mayonnaise or try scrambled eggs, chopped ham and tomatoes. Leftover chicken with cheese and lettuce works great too.

Sample School Packed Lunch Menu

Out of healthy packed lunch ideas? Packing a nutritious packed lunch your kids will actually eat five days of the week is no easy feat. It is no wonder many of us get stuck in a rut and end up packing the same lunch time and time again.

When packing your kids lunch, the main thing to keep in mind is that the lunch is nutritious and balanced. Try to include a mixture of whole grains, protein, calcium, fruit and veggies in each packed lunch and don’t worry it’s really not too difficult.

To help get you started, here is a 5-day sample lunch menu which is balanced to include a little of everything mentioned above.

Day One:
Wholemeal bread sandwich filled with ham and cheese and cut into triangles
Fruit yogurt
Cut melon cubes and cucumber rounds
Small packet of raisins
Milk or fruit juice

Day Two:
Pita filled with turkey and cream cheese
Carrot sticks
Pineapple chunks
Mini muffin
Milk or fruit juice

Day Three:
Homemade Pizza Quesadilla
Apple sauce
Cherry tomatoes and cubes of ham
Yogurt covered raisins
Milk or fruit juice

Day Four:
Bagel spread with peanut butter and full fruit jam
Fresh peach
Carrot sticks and cubes of cheese
Yogurt drink
Milk or fruit juice

Day Five:
Roll filled with tuna and sweet corn
Cucumber slices and cubes of cheese
Bunch of seedless grapes
Mini Fruit Muffin
Milk or fruit

Healthy Eating For Moms

One of the problems many mothers have after they have started a family is keeping their weight down where they’d like it to be. Part of your changing physical build is due to having children, something that can’t be taken back once they’re born. But you can exercise and tone your muscles, to make the most of the figure that you have. And part of that, is learning to eat healthy in the face of your various time commitments.

Lots of women feel guilty if they throw out leftovers, which can be an attitude inherited from their own budget-conscious mother. But you’re not saving anything except space in the compost pail, if you’re eating that last scoop of potatoes, or the vegetables off a toddler’s plate, simply so they don’t go to waste.

Don’t sabotage your own diet, by cooking in too large a quantity for what your family will consume in a meal. If by chance you’re actually a bit short and someone is still hungry, make sure you keep extras on hand that will fill the gap, like garlic bread to go with spaghetti, veggies and dip, or a bowl of fruit.

Try to balance your preferences, with what is cooked for the family meals. That means if you eat as individuals for breakfast and lunch, make sure you get a good variety of fruits, vegetables and grains. Try yogurt and fruit with granola for breakfast, or a tossed salad in a fajita wrap for lunch. Remember to balance your intake of one food group with the others, and select good sources of protein.