I just returned from our winter road trip. I may (or may not) have learned my lesson from last year, but that is another story. One thing I am thankful for is that my daughter, SB, is an adventurous eater. She usually wants what we eat. On our trip, this made stopping in different towns across the country easier. However, that doesn’t stop me from packing a box of food in the car for her.
I always travel with some snacks – apples, Cheerios, a food pouch or two, string cheese and breakfast cookies. I know these will only get me so far, though. SB is likely to take a few bites of apple, eat half a cheese stick, suck half (if I’m lucky) the food pouch and either ignore or cherish the Cheerios and cookies. I do try to clean up our area before I leave a dining establishment. Bless the souls of the wait staff at a 5-star restaurant we went to with my parents last month. The staff picked up after SB every time she dropped something. I tried telling them I would get under the table before we left to clean up her mess, but they insisted. I’m glad I wore slacks.
Despite having all of the food, at the end of the day, SB wants a real, hot meal. Some days we had that, and other days we did not.
Whenever we dine out, I ask for the broth based soup right away. Though SB is pretty good in public, she does respond to the activity around her. Soup gives me something soft and warm to feed her, and it usually comes with bread which she can play with.
I always choose the broth based soups because I don’t know how much cream the kitchen may use. The last thing you need is an uncomfortable baby, unable to process the rich foods in her belly, in the car or in the next room at night.
When ordering for myself, I usually ask for the rice side because it is easy to feed to the baby. I also choose sides that are soft or steamed like carrots or peas. If there are green beans, I’ll let her play with some whole ones and then cut others into bite sized pieces. As for the protein, I usually cut part of my meat into tiny pieces. If the meat is really tough, I might pre chew them. SB can eat them or play with them. Because we spent time at the start of the dining experience feeding her soup and bread, I’m not too worried if she eats, or doesn’t eat, my food.
Another tip I have is to never mind about the kids menu. I tried ordering from it a few times and was so disappointed. SB was either asleep or just wanted my food anyway. As a result, I was left with kid menu food that I had to eat myself.
Of course, as all things baby go, now that SB’s got me trained, she’ll probably change her patterns and I’ll have to start all over again, learning new tricks to keep her engaged and satisfied when on the road.
Now… if only I could keep her in her high chair during an entire meal, but I’m sure that is an entirely separate post.