Summer is officially here, and you know what that means: ROAD TRIP! But gone are the days when you can just hop into your car and stop at drive-throughs along the way to curb your cravings for greasy fried foods and sweet treats. You’re traveling with children now, and we all know that long drives with kiddos require healthier fare—and a little advanced planning!
You want your kids to enjoy your upcoming adventure, and you don’t need rumbling tummies and sugar-induced meltdowns spoiling your precious memories. Lucky for you, we have some simple tips and smart suggestions for nutritious, satisfying snacking on the go!
First things first
There are a few basic items you may want to gather before hitting the road with children.
- Cooler: Depending on your destination, you could be in the car for hours or even days. A cooler filled with ice will allow you to stock up on kid-friendly foods that require refrigeration, like fresh fruit and low-fat string cheese.
- Resealable plastic bags: You’ll need to keep your eyes on the road—not the backseat. These brilliant baggies will allow you to pack single servings of healthy snacks for your big adventure. Controlling the portions helps ensure that your little ones won’t polish off an entire bag of popcorn, chips or trail mix in one sitting.
- Wipes: Car upholstery and sticky fingers don’t mix. Keep your kids from ruining your ride by investing in a container of wipes. Note: If your kids eat in the car regularly, you may want to keep these on hand at all times!
Let’s get packing!
Following are some tasty, healthy snacks to keep kids of all ages content from point A to point B.
- Fresh fruit: We mentioned it above, but it bears repeating. Because no processed food beats the flavor and health benefits of nature’s candy. Slice up some apples, cantaloupe, watermelon (a.k.a. summer’s signature fruit!) and pineapple, put it in the baggies and pop it into the cooler. Apples and grapes are great road trip choices, too.
- Trail mix: Who doesn’t like trail mix? Make your own with assorted nuts, dried fruits, seeds and dark chocolate chips or try Back to Nature Harvest Blend Trail Mix, “a hearty mix of almonds, pecans, pumpkin seed, sunflower seeds, raisins and apricots” with no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Worried that trail mix might get a bit messy? Opt for neat and nutritious granola bars instead!
- Celery with nut or seed butter: This classic combination is a savvy choice for the road. Cut the celery ahead of time and store it in plastic bags in the cooler. Bring along a few single-serve squeeze packets of their nut butter-of-choice (we’re big fans of Artisana Organic Raw Cashew Nut Butter!) and let the snacking commence.
- Cereal: It’s not just for breakfast anymore! Cereal is the perfect portable snack (as long as you remember those plastic bags!) and a proven kid pleaser. To keep them calm and feeling fuller longer, choose a variety that’s low in sugar and high in protein and fiber, like Love Grown Power O's™ Gluten-Free Chocolate Cereal. If you’re feeling super creative, mix a few different types together!
- Ham and cheese rollups: Forget the bread! Simply roll slices of deli ham (or turkey) around sticks of low-fat string cheese. It doesn’t get much easier, and children are sure to appreciate this protein-packed snack.
- Popcorn/baked chips: Everyone knows that the best road trip snacks are the crunchiest! Popcorn can present a choking hazard, so this option is intended for older kids. If your tweens and teens crave savory flavors, stock up on Frontier Natural Products Cheddar & Spice Popcorn Seasoning. To satisfy their sweet tooth, lightly sprinkle the popcorn with cinnamon and sugar. Baked chips come in a variety of delicious flavors and are always a hit with kids of all ages.
- Edible necklace: Want to impress your pint-sized passengers with your culinary creativity? String—or better yet, have your kiddos string—cereal, pretzels and even gummies on a necklace-sized length of yarn and tie the ends together when you’re done. This smart snack will keep your kids satisfied—and entertained—for a while!