Friday, September 2, 2011

On The Road- Family Snacks For The Car

On a particularly long road trip, kids will become bored from staring out at the sea of Used Cars and interstate signs for hours and hours upon end. Having snacks handy is the best way to break up their routine and keep them fed without making frequent snack purchases at gas station stops.
First of all, having a cooler is a must. Make sure you have plenty of ice starting out and pack several bottles of water. You don't want anyone drinking sugary drinks during a long car ride since this will only lead to more restroom breaks. No-sugar added juice and individual milk cartons are good options.
You can't go wrong with a plastic bag filled with cereal. This is a favorite treat of many toddlers and younger children and it's as simple as pouring the contents from the box to the bag. Older kids may prefer a bag of trail mix, which you can purchase pre-mixed or you can make your own ahead of time. When packing these types of tiny snacks, several bags of small amounts are better than a couple of bags filled to the brim. This way you can avoid any major spills and tears.
Grab-and-go fruit is a must. Grapes, berries, or even grape tomatoes are ideal options for travel. Just wash them ahead of time and pack in small containers. Dried fruit chips are also great to have on hand when someone craves a sweet snack. Forego the high-sugar candy bars and pack granola, oatmeal, or rice bars instead.
Meat and cheese may not seem like road trip items, but many products are practically designed for on the go. Beef sticks and jerky keep well in the car no matter the temperature. Buy them in bulk ahead of time or make your own jerky in a food dehydrator. String cheese or snack-sized cheese cubes can be stored in the cooler until ready to eat. You can even buy snack kits with crackers, deli meat and cheese slices that are extremely portable.
If you want to get the kids involved in preparations, make rice cereal bars together the day before the trip, or have them add their favorite ingredients to their trail mix. Whip up any chicken, tuna, or egg salad ahead of time and store in containers for easy access to fresh sandwiches. Part of experiencing a road trip is stopping for lunch at a picnic area, so don't miss out. You can pull over at rest areas to eat or look for national parks on the way.
Other quick snack ideas include popcorn, pretzels, individual apple sauce or fruit cups, pudding cups, mini raisin boxes or prunes, hard-boiled eggs, baby carrots, celery sticks, apple slices and yogurt. Have loose granola and dried cranberries on hand to add to yogurt cups.
Don't forget to pack wet wipes, eating utensils, napkins and extra bags to dispose of used items while in the car. Take out the trash from the vehicle at every gas station stop and replenish any drinks or cold snack items while you have access to the cooler.

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