My family will be hitting the road this summer, and it can be difficult to eat healthy while traveling. Between family visits, a beach getaway, and time visiting our favorite nearby destinations, we’re planning to pack in some quality time in the car and on a plane.
When traveling, it’s easy to stop off at the nearest gas station for a quick snack, but with a little planning, you can have healthy snacks to get you through your trip. Healthy snacks along with plenty of water can help you and your family from feeling run down after a long day on the road.
Here’s how I’m staying snacking-sane by packing better, easier snacks for my kids.
1. Think about what you’re packing.
When we travel, I pack a small cooler that I keep just behind the front seat. It’s loaded with fruit, baggies of cut up veggies, cheese, yogurt tubes, and chocolate (for me!).
When packing your car cooler, pack things that don’t require plates or silverware, are easy to open and can be managed by little hands.
2. Consider the length of your trip.
If you’re traveling for longer than three hours or during midday or evening, you’re going to need more than snacks. I pack our Bento boxes with a meal I know my girls will enjoy, then we stop at a park or rest stop along the way to picnic so they can eat and burn off a little energy.
My favorite items to pack in the Bento boxes include cheese-and-turkey roll-ups, hummus and fresh veggies, and a favorite fruit.
3. Remember what’s in the snack.
Long days of travel can make everyone cranky, so pick foods that are going to do the best for your kids. Instead of loading them up on sugary snacks like mini donuts or cookies, focus on balanced snacks that have some protein, healthy fat, and fiber.
Cheese, select breakfast bars, and nuts are great options that won’t leave you with a sugar crash mid-trip. I love this list of 10 Tasty Travel Snacks for inspiration.
4. Keep clean up in mind.
Unless you want to find the nearest car wash, it’s best to be mindful of big mess-makers. I like snacks that can be cleaned up with baby wipes and the stash of napkins I keep in my car.
That means we’re not doing drinks without straws and lids, too-juicy fruit like watermelon, or the carb-y snacks that tend to get crushed into floor mats (I’m looking at you, popcorn!). Bonus points for items that come in their own containers, like boxes of raisins.
5. Factor in how much you want to stop when planning drinks.
In my family, everyone is responsible for keeping up with his or her water bottle. I fill them up in the morning with cool water and a little ice so that they stay crisp all day long.
I’ve found that if I offer juices, my kids drink more and much faster, which means sugar rushes and more frequent bathroom breaks. Water is the perfect road drink: it’s not sticky, won’t stain, and is totally satisfying.
Following my five easy travel snacking tips will keep your kids happy, your car cleaner, and your trip more enjoyable. For more tips, check out this post with 7 Tips for a Healthier Road Trip.