Ready! Snacks! Go!

DSC_4976webLet’s face it. When you are leaving for a road trip there are so many things on the ‘to do’ list. Shopping. Organizing. Packing. For me, there is a lot of list-making. Reorganizing. Repacking. Inevitably, when the last few things are checked off the final list, someone utters those two words:  “I’m starving!”  All eyes are on you. And at this point, you do not feel like being “Martha Stewart on wheels”.

Eating healthy on the road does require a little bit of planning but the convenience and benefits of it all are definitely worth it. Whether you are traveling just a few hours or on a cross-country excursion, there will be intervals in your trip that will require food consumption. I have found with our family, it’s best to start out BEFORE we get on the road with a quick, light breakfast that’s easy to serve and quick to clean up.

A kid-favorite in our traveling household includes a fruit parfait. These are simple to throw together. In addition, the littles like to customize their own which gives them something to do in the hustle and bustle of getting on the road in the morning. The night before, I put a little granola in the bottom of a 6-oz wide mouth cup followed by a big dollop of yogurt (usually vanilla). Next, a bit more granola on top and another dip of yogurt before storing in the refrigerator (or cooler) is all the prep work. Arranging the cups on a plate and covering them with another plate (upside down) covers the concoction so you’re ready for the next day. If you have time, it’s best to cut up the fruit you will use the night before as well. The next morning, divide the fruit on a plate and let everyone put their own variation of fruit on top – viola’ fancy parfaits. For special occasions, sprinkles or chocolate chips are set out for topping. I also keep some sort of breakfast bars on hand to go along with this for fiber and protein. Cleanup is quick by rinsing out the cups for washing later and any fruit not used is put in a plastic container with a lid for snacking later in the day.

With breakfast stored in everyone’s tummy, the teeth brushing rotation gets underway and then we’re ready for a day on the road. For serious travel days, we like to stay on the road with stops only for fueling up, unless our pilot (Dad) needs a break. By packing different snacks in easy access containers, my family can graze all day long. This keeps everyone hydrated and satisfied until we can have a family dinner later at the end of our travel day.

The thing to remember in making daily snacks is variety and presentation. I’ve found it’s best to divide the snack buffet up into individual portions. It’s good for the consumer and even better for the Road Mom so she knows when inventory is low. If you open our snack drawer today, you’ll find

  • a good supply of healthy beverages
  • containers of carrots, cucumbers, strawberries, grapes, watermelon, melon and oranges
  • celery with peanut butter
  • applesauce pouches
  • single slices of co-jack cheese, string cheese
  • peaches in jello
  • yogurt
  • ham pinwheels
  • pickles

DSC_4968webIf snacks aren’t enough for some of your big eaters, salads in jars or ham ‘n cheese wraps are easy to keep handy for more of a meals-on-wheels eater. A family favorite of ours are pickle wraps. Take a piece of ham, a dab of cream cheese to hold the pickle in place, and wrap it up. Leave it like this or cut them into bites and eat with a toothpick. For more details on these ideas, check out the Recipe Box.

Because I have become more aware (and apprehensive) about plastics and the environment, each family member now has a canteen type container for water. Each morning, we fill them with ice and water for the day. It is amazing how much water my kiddos will drink if it’s accessible.

The main thing to remember in providing snacks for your family is that planning is essential. Don’t get caught up in all the details. Cutting bites in shapes, color coding containers and making pretty sandwiches are all dandy ideas. But in the end, if all you can do is pop some popcorn and divide it into ziploc bags with some bottles of water, that’s still healthier than having to stop for sugar or fat-filled foods along the way.

It’s been said that “a full stomach makes a happy heart”. This seems like a reasonable scenario. And what Road Mom doesn’t want a rig full of happy hearts?

Special Note: This article was written by Diary of a Road Mom for Fulltime Families Magazine. Visit their website at www.fulltimefamilies.com for more information and to subscribe to this monthly resource.

 

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