Traveling by car with family can be fun or a fiasco. Most of us can remember back-seat “wrestlemania” that goes with sitting too close to a sibling. “Mom, he looked at me!” “Mom, she took my iPad”, “Dad, are we there yet?” “I have to go to the bathroom!” Just like anything else we do with precision as parents, a travel plan is a must, especially when it comes to snacking. Who remembers sandy bologna sandwiches from a fold over baggie on the beach? Point made. We have so many more choices today.
Eating healthy during a road trip, especially for children, is a challenge. Staying hydrated is a necessity and so are coordinating bathroom breaks. With a little intentional planning, there can be something for everyone and pit stops are minimized for business only. Plus, you will certainly save money. Gas stations count on drivers to buy from their overabundance of overpriced, unhealthy snacks. To a kid, it looks like the Las Vegas of candy land with shiny silver foil and colorful wrappers with everything at eye level.
Prefilling personalized gallon-size baggies lets everyone pick from a preapproved list of their favorite snacks, shop for them, pack them then write their name on their Baggie. Kids especially like this kind of attention. There won’t be any arguments about who has what. Bartering and trading is allowed creating even more entertainment. Remember to pick as many snacks as possible that don’t need to be refrigerated.
Packing Personalized Bags – Some Go To’s
- Hummus Cups: Pack some fresh and healthy cucumbers, carrots, and crackers to dip into your hummus cups. They are just the right size to eat in a single serving.
- Fresh Fruit: Hassle-free fruit like grapes, apple slices and mandarin oranges are kid friendly. Be sure to prewash and dry fruit before packing.
- Shelled Walnuts and Pistachios: The protein from walnuts and pistachios is plant-based. These nuts are power packed with unsaturated fat and fiber. Another bonus is they are lower in calories than other nuts. Adults on keto diets or who are watching their carbs can benefit from pre-portioned Baggies of nuts.
- Protein Bars: The more protein you consume, the less hungry you will feel. Stock up on protein bars to kill your sugar cravings while optimizing your protein intake.
- Dried Fruits: Dried fruits are full of antioxidants and fiber and are highly nutritious. One piece of dried fruit contains about the same amount of nutrients as the fresh fruit but condensed in a much smaller package. By weight, dried fruit contains up to 3.5 times the fiber, vitamins, and minerals then that of fresh fruit. (Bjarnadottir, 2017)
- Trail mix: Trail mix seems an obvious choice, but can be full of sugar with raisins, dried fruit and candy pieces. Pinterest has many healthy make-it-yourself recipes that give you choices on what goes into the mix for instance, someone has a peanut allergy or doesn’t like carob or dried pineapple. They get to choose. Here is a trail mix that is made with high protein Cheerios™ that is worth trying. All kids know Cheerios™. Download the Recipe
- Yogurt: Go-Gurt® yogurt snacks require refrigeration but don’t require a spoon and are easily packed into a cooler taking up minimal space.
- Dark Chocolate: If you must have chocolate, make it dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is known to lower the risk of heart disease while it also increases brain function. (Hughes 2020) So if that chocolate craving hits you hard on the road, don’t feel guilty swapping your milk chocolate for dark chocolate.
- Water: Hydration is important. Mild dehydration can be mistaken for hunger and make you feel tired. Drink plenty of water and flavored seltzer water but go slow with coffee. Caffeine can act as a diuretic creating frequent bathroom breaks. Not a great thing for a road trip!
Sing songs, eat snacks, and play games. That makes the beginning as well as the end of your road-trip just as memorable as the destination. Smart parents prepare and seeing smiles in the rear-view mirror is worth every minute of planning.
To make your trip complete, we’re offering you a downloadable road-trip scavenger hunt game that can be colored compliments of Crayola. We’re sure you’ll turn from just ordinary parents to superheroes. Even superheroes know that dealing with kids in a car is the ultimate challenge. Put on your cape and be ready for anything!
“I need a day when there aren’t twenty crises to deal with, but I don’t see that coming any time soon.” – Iron Man
Hughes, Leslie. “30 Healthy Snacks for Your Next Epic Road Trip”. June 2020. https://koa.com/blog/healthy-snacks-for-your-next-road-trip/
Bjarnadottir, Adda. “Dried Fruit: Good or Bad?” June 2017. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/dried-fruit-good-or-bad#:~:text=Dried%20fruit%20is%20highly%20nutritious,and%20minerals%20of%20fresh%20fruit
Kroll, Tawnie. “High Protein Cheerio Trail Mix [Video]: Recipe [Video] in 2020: Trail Mix, Healthy Trail Mix Recipes, Trail Mix Recipes.” May 2020. https://krollskorner.com/recipes/homemade-cheerio-trail-mix/
“Roadtrip Scavenger Hunt”. Crayola. June 2020. https://www.crayola.com/free-coloring-pages/print/roadtrip-scavenger-hunt-coloring-page/