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Healthy Food Items to Carry for Children on a Road Trip

Sooner or later, no matter how much you try to avoid it, every parent ends up having to undertake the much-anticipated cross-country road trip with children. A seemingly never-ending sequence of sing-alongs, road games, back seat wrestling matches and choruses of “Are we there yet?” and “I need to go to the bathroom… again!”

While we can’t help you get out of going, we can help you keep your kids from getting too hungry along the way with these tasty and nutritious snack ideas. Keep them full enough and there’s even a chance they’ll miss seeing those golden arches.

This is not just good for your kids (and your wallet), but eating in restaurants can be a little risker when you’re traveling than what it’s like when dining out with the kids in your hometown, as is demonstrated by this case study from

On that note, the following are some healthy food items to carry for your children on your next road trip, whether that is in the States or abroad.

  • Granola Bars

Well, you probably expected we’d recommend something really fancy that takes time to prepare, but actually granola bars are a pretty good standby food, as they’re tasty, nutritious, and packed with low GI carbs so they’ll fill the kids up but not get them hyped on a sugar rush. They’re also light, easy to pack, and not particularly messy.

  • Fruit

fresh fruitPacking fruit is basically the same principle, but can be a little messier. Make sure you hand out a plastic bag and tell the kids to put any seeds or skins in the bag if you don’t want those items to end up on the floor, the seats, your kids’ clothes, or in your hair!

Apples are best avoided though, because although they’re relatively dry and therefore not a messy fruit to carry and will stay fresh for a long time, they can present a choking hazard. Bumping along in the back of a car, eating an apple is like playing Russian roulette with fruit.

  • Bento Boxes

If you can afford them, or if you’re talented enough to make your own, these are always a hit. Make your bento in the shape of characters your kids are really into and watch them fight over your creations… at least it’s better than the nonsense they usually fight about, right?  You can find plenty of inspiring ideas at BentOnBetterLunches.

  • Jam Roll-Ups

Here’s a really simple trick that makes (sort of) healthy food look like a treat. Simply take some ordinary square bread slices and remove the crusts, then cut into strips about 1.5 to 2 inches wide (you should get 3 to 4 strips per slice). Then simply spread their favorite jam, jelly, nutella, peanut butter, or any combination of these directly on the bread strips and roll up into bite-sized rolls. They won’t keep for long, so serve these early in the trip or they’ll dry out or absorb the spreads too much to be enjoyable. You need to spread the toppings fairly generously to get the best result.

Just one extra thing you’ll need to keep in mind is that, if your road trip involves crossing international borders, and even within certain agricultural areas of large countries like the US and Australia, you may need to consume any fresh fruit you are carrying before crossing certain border zones because of regulations that are designed to protect local agriculture.

Categories: Food & Drink, Fun Stuff, Travel Tips

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