If you’re traveling with kids, snacks can be an invaluable resource. You may not be able to find a restaurant at all times, or you may not want to spend money on expensive fast food. At times like these, you’ll be thankful for the snacks you brought with you, and your kids won’t get stuck eating Happy Meals for a week.
Here are some ideas for best travel snacks for kids:
A healthy kid is a happy kid. And though they may be convient, you don’t want to only feed your kids candy and cookies. Dried fruit is always a smart idea, and is easily obtained at nearly any market. Opt for juices and water over sodas, which aren’t as health-conscious and can make kids jittery. Bringing a few bags of cereals like Honeynut Cheerios and Kashi is also a smart idea. These cereals will last longer than snacks like chips or Cheeze-its and are much healthier.
Fruit cups, trail mix and whole grain crackers are snacks that are just as delicious as they are healthy. You can also give kids protein bars that are more filling than regular snack bars. Put together snack bags full of vegetables like carrots, cucumber slices and celery to give the kids a little variety. Beef jerky and fruit leather are also easy to eat and won’t make a huge mess.
Pack a Cooler
For snacks and drinks that require refrigeration, make sure you bring a cooler with you. Cooler items can include everything from fresh vegetables to yogurts to cheeses and apple slices. For very young children, squeezable fruit blends are delicious, healthy and don’t make a mess!
Snacks as Bribes
It may sound silly, but using snacks as bribes is a tactic that can easily keep even the most unruly kids under control. “Forbidden” snacks like cookies and candy can prove to be great prizes or rewards for good behavior. For example, promise the kids a handful of M&Ms if they sit quietly for the next two hours in the car.
If you’re looking to have a picnic or simply have lunch on the go, there are some great options for kids. Smucker’s Uncrustables sandwiches are portable frozen PB&Js that fit in the palm of your hand. Put some in a bag and they’ll be thawed by lunch time.
Oscar Mayer Lunchables have been a staple in portable foods for the past 20 years. These well-balanced mini-meals come in 25 different varieties, from finger foods to mini pizzas, to tiny tacos or baby burgers. Recent changes in Lunchable packaging has brought on the inclusion of healthier drinks and desserts.
If you have a little more time to pack lunches in a cooler, try cold cut sandwiches, pasta salad and celery with peanut butter. You can also bring leftovers from the night before for a tasty and cost-free lunch!
If You Have to Stop
If you find yourselves out on the road with only fast food joints to turn to for food, don’t fret. Many of the big chains have healthy options on the menu for your little ones.
Your best bet for healthy fast food would probably be at Panera or d’Angelos. If you can’t find anything similar, there are still some healthy snacks on the other chains’ menus. At Mcdonald’s, you can order your child a snack size fruit and walnut sald or a fruit and yogurt parfait. At Burger King, order a garden salad with juice or fat-free milk. Taco Bell has burritos and tacos for their more health-conscious customers on the Drive-Thru Diet Menu. Everything on this menu is under 250 calories.