Not long ago, my husband and I decided that it would be a good idea to drive 13 hours to take a week-long vacation with our two children. These said children are 3.5 years old and 1.5 years old. Oh, and I was just at the end of my first trimester with baby number three. In case you are wondering, yes, we are out of our minds.
However, with a little bit of planning and a quick trip to the grocery store, we had enough snacks to keep tummies full, hands busy and budgets satisfied. Here are a few things that I learned over the course of the trip:
“Meals” Can Travel, Too
Although I didn’t want to subside off of poptarts and squeeze cheese (and certainly not together…I’m not that kind of pregnant!), neither did I want to rely on fast food stops for our meals. It turned out to be especially good that we didn’t count on this, since there are very few options for stopping on the way through Nebraska.
In order to really fill up on foods, we made sure to bring a loaf of bread, some all-natural no-stir peanut butter and jelly in a squeeze tube. Although not quite our first option for lunch at home, it was much better than eating the grease and additives of fast food or having two hungry boys and a nauseated mama.
Make Your Snacking Count
We also made sure to have some high-protein snacks, like chips with bean dip and cheese and crackers. Had I not been sick, we could have made our own bean dip and even guacamole to take in containers for an even healthier alternative.
In order to bring all of this and not let it spoil in the car, we purchased a small ice chest to fit behind the seat. Frozen bottles of water cooled it off enough to bring cheese, fruit and even a bag of hard-boiled eggs! These snacks went much further than the packaged snacks that are full of carbs.
While my husband and I could manage chips and dip, the kids needed something more, well, kid-friendly. They could easily hold snacks like cheese sticks and their sandwiches, and we also threw in their favorite fresh (non-juicy) fruits, some dried fruits, raisin boxes, cereal and whole-grain cereal bars. Our backseat didn’t come out sparkling, but it could have been much, much worse.
Juice boxes are fun, but they are easily squeezed by little hands. Try transferring juice from a larger or more stable container to a sippy for littler ones, or just buying bottles of juice and water for your older ones.
Memories Last a Lifetime!
There is always room for fun in a roadtrip, I think, and the food should be no different. Since we drove all night to get to our destination, there was a definite point where dipping Oreos in the peanut butter helped my husband and I to have fun and stay awake. For my kids, organic poptarts were a huge treat, and one that I didn’t have to feel terrible about.
If you are adventurous and don’t want to buy cookies or packaged foods, I would suggest making some special snacks along with the practical ones. Some homemade cookies or granola bars, peanuts and pretzels dipped in chocolate or even a bag of special muffins will be a fun addition to your trip and will help everyone- old and young- enjoy the time together on the road.
Picture Credit to FreeFoto.com