Doesn’t it seem like every time you hop into the car for a long drive or road trip, the kids are suddenly hungry? It doesn’t matter that they just had lunch, they’re going to want a snack. Instead of falling into the trap of going through the drive-thru at the nearest fast food joint, do a little planning ahead. By doing so, you’ll ensure healthy and delicious snacks are on hand – and you can make sure they won’t ruin the upholstery! Here are seven healthy road trip snacks your kids are sure to love.
Fresh and Dried Fruits
Kids are known for having a sweet tooth, and what better way to satisfy this than with fruit. Apples and bananas are great road trip snacks because they aren’t messy, but you can also grab a few bags of dried fruit, such as apricots, raisins, cranberries, apples, or blueberries. By attacking a sweet tooth with something healthy, you’ll avoid the requests for candy bars when you stop for a fill-up at the gas station.
Sometimes the kids crave something crunch and salty, but wait – don’t reach for that bag of chips! Instead, hand them a bag of nuts! Nuts are packed with fiber and protein, making them a great option for hungry kids. It’s important to pay attention to the serving size though, since nuts also have a lot of fat and calories. For example, each of the following serving sizes of nuts has 100 calories, which is the perfect number for a quick and healthy road trip snack: 2 tablespoons of peanuts, 13 whole cashews, 14 almonds, 10 pecan halves, or 20 pistachios.
Popcorn and Rice Cakes
If your kids are really into the crunchy snacks, why not offer them popcorn or rice cakes? Both come in a variety of flavors including chocolate, caramel corn, and cinnamon apple, however be aware of cheesy popcorn as this may leave a mess on little fingers. The best route may be unsalted, unbuttered popcorn. The best part about popcorn is that the kids can munch on three cups — which will take a while —and only take in a mere 100 calories.
Beef jerky is a simple protein snack that is not only easy to snack on while in the car, but it’s also mess-free. You’ll find jerky in a variety of types – beef, turkey, bacon (bacon!!!) – but also a number of flavors. For instance, if your kids like it sweet, try teriyaki; if they can handle a little heat, try hot & spicy.
String cheese always makes me think about childhood for some reason. Maybe because my mom would give it to us a snack because it’s healthy and mess-free. Another protein snack, string cheese is great for road trips becuase you can pack them between drinks in your cooler and they take up hardly any space. They are, obviously, also a lot of fun to eat, which will help the time on the road fly by for your kids.
Another snack that’s packed with fiber – and low in sugar – is the granola bar. This wonderful snack comes in a variety of flavors to suit each child’s taste. Purchase a variety pack that has fruit, nuts, or chocolate mixed with the granola, or better yet, make your own and fill them with your family’s favorite healthy ingredients like chia seeds, dried fruit, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and more.
Stave off kids’ hunger with veggie sticks, which are crunchy, delicious, and of course, super healthy! Before you hit the road, cut celery sticks, carrot sticks, cucumber, bell peppers, broccoli, and cauliflower and pack them in bags or containers. You can mix and match several veggies together to make it a colorful snack that is sure to please.
Before you pack up snacks to bring on your road trip, ask the kids what they’d like to have while on the road. You can even get them involved in making the snacks, which will get them excited about all the wonderful tasty (and healthy) snacks awaiting them while cruising down the road. With great healthy road trip snacks like these, you’ll save cash on sugary sweets and have more moolah for fun activities at your destination.
Image via Flickr by Darya Pino