Tips & Guide

Ultimate Moving Guide: Moving as a Family – the Kids and the Food

When moving, besides planning, paring down, and general packing, there are specific considerations for moving with a family…especially if that family includes little people. We have always driven when we moved, whether it be ten minutes or 24 hours of minivan time. 


Besides having adequate clothing, there are three things that I focus on for our trip and our destination: basic cleanliness, food, and keeping kids occupied.

I always pack a big bag full of stuff for the kids. It includes: crayons special coloring books, durable reading books, and a few Montessori activities in the Ziploc bags. The Montessori activities are for when we get there, the coloring books and board books are for the car. I also enforce quiet time with calm music after lunch to get them to take a nap.

I make sure to have baby wipes for cleanup, sippy or straw cups and little containers to pass the children snacks and meals in. My favorite family road trip foods are: hard boiled eggs, lacto-fermented green beans and carrot sticks, coconut flour muffins, chicken drumsticks, sweet potato chips, natural jerky, nuts, apples, olives, raw cheese chunks, and homemade sourdough bread. If we are thinking of picnicking, I might venture to bring peanut butter. Bottles of water, kombucha, water kefir, and ginger bug soda are also stashed in my bag.

Setting Up the Kitchen

When we get to our destination, I always want to make sure that I can start up a basic kitchen as soon as we get there and that I keep convenience/take-out as healthy and cost effective as possible. Food in a new place doesn’t have to be complicated, even though it always feels overwhelming.

The first step is to pack two small size kitchen boxes to bring in the van with us.

These will be some of the last boxes packed, I will use the items in them until the last and first when we get to our new home. The boxes contain my basic cooking and cleaning supplies

In the two boxes I pack:

  • ten inch cast-iron frying pan
  • 5 qt cast iron Dutch oven
  • small steel pot with lid
  • one of each kind of spatula
  • wooden spoon
  • peeler
  • one cutting board
  • large pocket knife
  • large or medium metal bowl
  • one plate and set of utensils per person
  • two mugs for each adult
  • salt-and-pepper
  • two of my favorite herbs for salad
  • coconut oil and raw vinegar (unless I know that I have a good source where I am going)
  • some homemade laundry powder (LINK to DIY natural) with Oxiclean (or the like) mixed in
  • sponge or a few dishcloths
  • can of Bon Ami

I wrap it all in kitchen towels, washcloths, and any rags that I like best.

It has never been possible for me to cook a meal the first night in our new home. So, I have used various solutions for this depending on what kind of move we have just made.

For a short distance move, any amount of frozen meals in disposable containers is by far the most frugal option.

Oven ready/reheatable casseroles or dishes in disposable metal pans are my favorite. Frozen soups and stews that I can heat in my dutch oven are also great. I have only done this for one of our four local moves, the most recent. For all the others, I have happily used one of the two options below.

One: Get quick meals at the supermarket that are less expensive than takeout but more than you might usually might spend because of the convenience.

The easiest option is to go to Trader Joe’s and load up on pre-made food. If cost or distance prevent this, any local supermarket has a lot to offer.

Here is my go to list for easy supermarket food:

  • Boxes of pre-washed lettuce
  • Sprouts, baby carrots, cucumbers, and fresh herbs
  • Thin strips of meat to cook quickly to put on top of salads
  • Eggs
  • Bacon
  • Large inexpensive roasts (pork shoulder, whole chickens, hams)
  • Avocados
  • Berries and apples
  • Peanut butter
  • Lox, raw cheese, shrimp and fish
  • Baking potatoes
  • Rice
  • Corn tortillas
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Olives
  • Canned sardines, canned salmon, and canned tuna

Whole salami and rotisserie chickens without MSG and other chemicals are good too. I use this list during any stressful time, not just moving!

Two: Despite the fact that the grocery store has so much to offer, we inevitably end up getting some takeout when we move, both on the road and when we get there.

Moving is just too exhausting for even minimal cooking sometimes!

But it doesn’t all have to be Dominos and McDonald’s. We have found that by eating ethnic foods we save money and eat healthier. Here are my suggestions: gyros with a big Greek salad, a diner that serves large and hearty salads or high protein breakfast options, Chinese food without MSG, Indian cuisine, real Mexican food (not Taco Bell), a sushi bar lunch special, Puerto Rican arroz con pollo with maderos (fried plantain), stews at Irish pubs, and Ethiopian dishes. If there is a significant population of people from one culture in a place, seek out their food. You can ask your new neighbors which places have a reputation for being clean and tasty or look on Yelp.

If a big chain is the only option for takeout, try to get as close to meat and vegetables as you can: salads, grilled or roasted chicken, low ingredient side dishes. My rule is the more ingredients, the more hidden chemicals!

For the long term, food sourcing will be important. Make sure that you nourish yourself well with good food, rest, and sunshine (if available in your new locale!) while you are settling into your new home. Congratulations on making it through your move!

What is the best age to move with a child?

Moving is a typical experience, and most individuals will have to relocate at least twice in their lives. Families must migrate for a variety of reasons, and they sometimes have little choice over the timing or conditions of their transfer. Of course, we all want the best for our children, and we want them to have the simplest transition possible, and the easiest transfer is when they are very, very little.

Kids that are normally relaxed may take it all in stride. However, by being aware of possible difficulties, you can help your children manage when you’re feeling frenzied and still can’t locate the box containing all of the beach towels. In the long term, you’ll be teaching life lessons about adapting to change. Young children are readily persuaded to establish new pals. Many families want to relocate before kindergarten in the hopes that their children would attend school with the same set of friends and have stability throughout their education.

Moving to a new place has less of an influence on children the younger they are: Not only are they likely to have formed stronger emotional relationships with their peers by the age of six, but they may also be experiencing higher adjustment in school if their new class is studying different texts or working at a slower speed than they are accustomed to. Older children, on the other hand, have a better comprehension of what is going on (and the logic behind it.

Read also: Prepping Our Kids to Leave the Nest

Is moving as a child traumatic?

Moving to a new city or even a new neighbourhood is stressful at any age, but a recent research finds that numerous relocations as a kid are associated with worse adult well-being, particularly among persons who are more introverted or neurotic. Moving affects people differently at various ages, and changing schools adds to the stress. This is problematic since many families, especially low-income ones, relocate often.

A 2010 research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology examined the long-term impact of frequent movements on children as they grew into adults. The researchers discovered that the more a kid travelled, the more likely they were to express feelings of discontent and dissatisfaction, as well as less quality social ties overall – even after adjusting for characteristics like age, gender, and education level. Moving may be an emotional roller coaster for a youngster, and they may not want to name the new location “home” as soon as they step through the door.

To prevent children becoming angry, unhappy, or isolating themselves after the relocation, begin mentally preparing them a few weeks before the transfer. Show them images of the location, take them there, and explore interesting sites like playgrounds, local monuments, and amusement parks with them. You may also take them around the new school and talk about family activities. Allow them to participate whenever feasible. Take your kid shopping for a new house, and let them select the colour of the walls or the decorations for their room. This gives them more time to adjust to the notion and makes them feel more in control, rather than being hauled to a new location without their consent.

How do I know if moving is right for me?

Before you decide to make a new start someplace else, consider why you want to relocate. If any of the following reasons apply to you, it may be an indication that now is not the time to migrate. If you realise that everything about your selected city irritates you, it may be time to investigate why and see if there is someplace else that is a better match.

Read also: Careers 101: How To Plan For a Career Change

It is difficult to time a relocation. You’ll be reluctant to leave behind the life you’ve made for yourself in your present city, the connections you’ve formed there, and the career you’ve worked so hard to get. On the other hand, you don’t want to lose out on fresh possibilities because you took your time. It’s vital to acknowledge what came up in a year when it was difficult to do much more than take in our local surroundings.

Part of the choice is whether you and I are fleeing to or from something new. And, if we think about it, what expectations do we have? We are wherever we go. A new place will not make me happy. That only comes with the effort I’m prepared to put in to meet new people, become engaged in my community, and be accessible. What I like about the thought of relocating is the amount of effort required.

Make every effort possible before deciding to pack up your life and go. This is particularly important if you’re new to the region – allow yourself time to explore, adapt, and adapt.


I’m a writer, new mom and foodie. I love sharing what I know while making others feel beautiful. On this blog, I share my healthy lifestyle, simple meals, fitness tips and experiences.

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Kara Bout It