Happy Trails – Road Trips with Kids
The secret to success for a happy road trip with children is food and lots of breaks.
Maintaining stable blood sugars with regular feedings can keep tempers at bay and improve mood. Getting out of the car for a quick game of tag at the picnic area or just to stretch your legs also helps improve mood, not to mention for the adults, helps maintain focus and concentration for driving and helps you stay calm under stress.
Think of snacks as little meals, not just a continuous stream of food handouts. It’s a good idea to space snacks by 2 hours with only water in between. This way the kids are actually hungry when the snack comes along. Don’t offer juice or other beverages in between snacks and meals as the calories may offset appetite enough to make them picky. Think of snacks as opportunities to fill in nutritional gaps and offer foods they may not get enough of at meals. Try to include some protein for a longer lasting snack. Get the kids involved in packing snacks so they are more inclined to eat them.
Steer clear of the sugar sweetened beverages and stick to your plan when the kids ask for pop at the gas station. Pack water bottles from home and to make them more appealing you can add ice cubes with berries frozen into them, add lemon or lime wedges or even fresh herbs. Cold herbal teas can be delicious and refreshing too. After a meal, if you feel your child didn’t quite eat enough, there is a new organic nutrition supplement beverage for kids made with real food called Lil’ Shakes, by Love Child. It is a milk based shake made with real vegetable and fruit purees and vegetable oils. There are 170 calories, 8g of protein, 24 vitamins and minerals, 6.6g of added sugar in the Vanilla and some fibre from the acacia gum which acts like a pre-biotic and is gluten free. It the perfect snack or meal topper-upper to offer your child and to give you peace of mind.
Drop the chips and make homemade trail mix. Have the kids make their own mixtures before you leave with a selection of items you put out. Walnuts, pumpkin seeds, cheerios, crackers, pretzels, cranberries, raisins, dried apricots etc.
Other great snack ideas for the car include:
- Apple slices with swiss cheese
- yogurt and berries topped with granola in individual servings,
- hummus in the bottom of the bowl with vegetable sticks sticking out.
- Fruit cubes on popsicle sticks
- Bento boxes with sliced cucumbers, sliced meat, sliced cheese and crackers (assemble yourself)
- Hard boiled eggs, sea weed, nudge bars
- Cheerios on a necklace (great activity to do before you leave or in the car)
- Pita chips and hummus
Invest in a cooler that keeps cold food cold and is easy to access in the car. Make sure to feed yourself not just the kids. Be a good role model, if you get pop your kids might want that too.