Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Weaning Wednesdays: How do you feed a toddler during a trip?

I've said this before, but I'll say it again... thank you, dear readers for all your helpful comments!  Last week I asked for suggestions and tips on feeding a fussy toddler, and so many of you responded, and took the time to give me useful suggestions.  It was actually really reassuring knowing I wasn't alone in having a mealtime monster, and comforting to know that they might eventually grow out of it.  Also, thank you for reminders that we should try our best to provide meals, but not get too stressed about how much the child actually eats, and great suggestions like giving them interesting cutlery and serving favourite foods during every meal.  I guess getting kids to eat healthily and well is part of the parenting process.  We are still learning, and its great to be part of a community of parents that are so willing to share their experiences!

Anyway, since I'm down with a cold, my head still feels stuffed with cotton wool and I can't really think straight, I thought I'd ask some more food-related questions this week.  (Perhaps Wed's posts might become mummy SOS posts eventually, heh!)  
So here goes:  How do you feed your toddler/child during overseas trips?  Any tips/suggestions?

Why I'm asking this is because I've been cracking my head over planning Junior J's meals when we head for Taiwan in March.  Yes, we're going there again...

Taken in Taiwan during the last trip (Jan 2010), when Junior J hadn't turned 1.

During the last trip, food preparation for the little boy was still ok, as he was still on mainly oatmeal porridge with veg/protein added in.  I would cook everything in the Petit Terraillon all in one that we have (it beats having to drag a slow-cooker etc along, which my friend said she did last time!), and we would factor in grocery shopping stops along the way to get vegetables etc.  Breakfast was usually cereal, or whatever we could get at the hotel breakfast (if it was provided).  We've survived a medical trip to Yunnan using the same method, and for trips to Malaysia I'd usually cook the boy's meals in the homes of friends/relatives, or sometimes, in the hotel.  

Since Junior J is now mainly on solid food for meals, we're probably going to try to give him rice/noodles when in Taiwan, and try to find protein sources like steamed fish (he hates the texture of pork or beef, so no hong shao nu rou mian, unfortunately!), or boil an egg for some meals.  But knowing how difficult it is to feed toddlers at night markets (where chances are, we'd end up eating oyster omelette and junk food, which he can't eat anyway), I'll probably plan to cook some of his meals, just in case.  Another problem I'm hoping to avoid is the MSG you get in food, especially in Chinese cooking, since the boy seems to get really hyper after he has food with MSG in it.  Whatever the case, we'll probably still bring along the Sack N Seat, for those places without high chairs.  

And this is probably the set-up I'm going to use to cook the food:

I just realized I can invert the steamer base so that I can fit the stainless steel cup (from Pigeon) at the bottom.
So pasta/rice goes into the cup, which is surrounded by boiling water,
and I can steam veg/meat in the top compartment at the same time! :)

So... how do you prepare/settle your child's meals when you are overseas?  Do share! :)

Edited to add:
I've gotten a few queries about the Petit Terraillon, so I thought I'd add some details about it here (and no, this is not a sponsored review, am just sharing as this has been the most useful thing we've had for feeding the boy on the go).  We bought it at the Taka Baby Fair, so I assume it should be available at Takashimaya.  The All-in-one allows you to sterilize bottles, heat up jars of food/bottles of milk, steam and blend food, and is pretty compact (all the compartments nest within each other which saves luggage space).  Right now I'm just using the steamer function to cook food.  The blender attachment (that contains the motor) is a tad hard to attach and remove, so I usually just bring my hand-held blender (we bought the simple one with no other functions) to use if I need to puree anything.  Other useful things I've managed to stuff into the bag containing the All-in-one would be a small chopping board, utensils and a knife, plus the stainless steel cup used to cook rice/pasta/oatmeal.  Hope this helps!


  1. I used the Petit Terraillon for our 1-week Perth trip too. I simply steamed potatoes / sweet potatoes as carbo, plus veges and boiled eggs. My boy loves boiled eggs and eats them every day, high in omega fats, cleared by dietitian. Only cooked his lunch.

    Outside, I'd order fish for his dinner, and plain dishes for him, depending on what I could find. Also bought packed toddler food, Rafferty's Garden. And lots of fruits.

    Otherwise, can get wholemeal bread, oats, or order rice for him. You can also rinse the cooked veges in boiled water to remove the seasoning.

    Except for fish, our diets are vegetarian, so I don't need to think about the meat part. Even without meat, it's easy to get whole proteins. Eggs, soy, dairy, beans/peas eaten with while grains (e.g. brown rice)

    Enjoy your trip! :)

  2. Hi Justina,

    I'm going to Taiwan too! But in April.I've been cracking my head over meals too.In the end,I decided I'm going for jar food coz I think it's too much to lug my Avent blender/steamer there,considering how much we have to lug along for the little boy already.I've seen this device's a really good idea.I think i'll go have a look at it today since I'm going to Orchard.

    And thank god for's milk on demand! Imagine having to lug around hot water and having to keep it warm so that u can make milk when the baby needs it?

    This is my boy's 2nd trip overseas.the 1st trip was a short one to batam and he was still on total breastfeeding,so that was easy.

    thank u for sharing!btw,do u know there's also a portable device for sterilising milk bottles? I saw it on some website,but I can't remember the brand

  3. MieVee: Thanks for the suggestions! I checked out Rafferty's Garden and the meals look delish! Where did you managed to buy them? I don't seem to find them on the shelves of most supermarkets here. We've tried the Heinz Pasta but that was only sold in M'sia... We're going to give him eggs too, haha...

    Brina: Have fun, TW is great for kids since its really child-friendly! Depending on the length of the trip (how long are you going?), it might be lighter to bring the steamer there, compared to many jars of food (and jar food is ex, and doesn't keep for long if your boy doesn't finish the portion). But of course, jars will reduce time needed for meal prep, which would make them convenient!

    Yes, b'feeding makes it easier, but I guess for those feeding formula, its just having a thermos of hot water, and hot water usually is readily available at most eateries too. :)

    Anyway the Petit Terraillon sterilizes bottles too, so you can use that if you get it, no need a separate device! :)

  4. Hi! You seemed to already know what to do :) I dont have new ideas for you accept, not to get too stress over what to give him. He's growing up, try eating his bland food everyday and decide if a few days of junk is ok. When my boys were over one (and not lactose intolerant), I gave them cold fresh milk whenever we are out. They loved it and finished every drop of it in no time! Personally I dislike warm milk :P But that's just my opinion 8) Cheers!

  5. I think you sound more than prepared for your trip! I've taken quite a few trips with Noey by now and I think the most important thing is not to stress too much about how much they're eating (or not eating rather). Noey eats maybe one good meal a day, and about half his usual portion for the rest of his meals. I've resigned myself to that and decided that I would not fret too much since it's only a few days anyway.

    On logistics, I usually pack along a little mini crockpot which makes enough for one meal of porridge for emergency situations and a thermos to carry it around. I then buy veg from the supermarket and or take some from the breakfast buffet. Foir meat, I buy whatever cooked stuff i see that looks appropriate and add it in, eg. chicken cutlet, or fish fingers, etc. But lately, Noey's mostly been happy to eat off our plates and I close an eye to the junk he's consuming! Your petit terrillon looks great though! i wish i knew about it earlier.

    Btw, I've seen Rafferty's Garden in Australia where it's readily available in supermarkets both in Perth and Sydney, but I haven't come across it in Singapore.

  6. Eileen: I agree, cold milk tastes way better! Thanks for the tip!

    Beanbean: Yes, that's what I keep trying to tell myself! Thanks for sharing your tips, buying cooked meat actually is a great idea, no need to worry about spoilage etc too!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...