My husband and I travel quite a bit with the kids to visit family that is scattered all over the country. In fact, we just got back from a 4 day trip to Kentucky to attend my husband’s step sister’s wedding. It was an 8 hour drive in each direction but it was nice to visit with family and friends that we don’t get to see very often. When your family all lives an entire day’s drive from you, you become an expert at traveling with kids and keeping everyone happy. Or, if not happy at least you manage to keep everyone from killing each other! I find that one of the best ways to keep children happy is to make sure that they are well fed. I try to make sure that the travel snacks we bring are healthy but NOT overly high in sugar. The last thing I want is to have a bunch of hyper kids in my car! Planning ahead and bring the right travel snacks with you means that you can skip all those stops at the gas station to buy junk food!
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Travel Snacks for your Holiday Road Trip
Kia wants to encourage you to snack healthy on your next road trip and as part of the Kia Social Club I wanted to share some of my tips for travel snacks that we enjoy. So, what are some of our favorite road trip snacks? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Trail mix:
This is a great way to sneak in healthy stuff like nuts and dried fruit but also give them something sweet like chocolate chips or M&M’s. It is also easy to toss into reusable containers and doesn’t make crumbs! The best travel snacks are NEAT ones!
You have to be careful what sort of fruit you pack. Bananas and apples leave you with messy bits after the snack is over so I usually avoid those. If you are traveling with a cooler, throw in a container of berries or a bag of grapes. No mess to clean up when the snack is over!
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If you are not traveling with a cooler you should probably stick to dried fruit like banana chips, raisins, etc. Remember, traveling can throw off a kids digestive track and fruit is full of fiber to keep things moving! High fiber travel snacks are very important!
Make sure you stick with the unsalted variety or you will be sucking down water that will require a lot more stops for bathroom breaks! Nuts are full of protein and keep you filled up for longer than carbohydrates do.
4. Don’t forget the drinks!
Pack reusable water bottles in a cooler for a constant source of cold water without the plastic. Give each child their own small reusable water bottle and fill as needed from the cooler.
Also, we like to pack drinks like Naked and Odwalla smoothies. Gets a serving of fruit into everyone while still quenching thirst. Pack an extra bag in the trunk to save your recyclables if possible!
5. Gum and mints:
These are great for times when you KNOW you aren’t hungry but you are bored and just want something to chew one! Honestly, my husband thinks that the act of chewing keeps him awake on late night drives!
6. Hard candies:
These are great for feeding our sweet tooth but not filling us up! The kids’s favorites are Jolly Ranchers but any type of sucker will do. Avoid things with sticks…you don’t want to be left with sticky lolly sticks after the candy is gone! (you can even look for organic candy!)
7. Cheese and crackers:
We have recently started taking cheese and crackers on our trips to try and eat healthier. You can buy the cubes of cheese and pack them in the cooler. Buy whole grain crackers if possible to keep that fiber intake high!
We like this when we just don’t have time in our schedule to stop for lunch. It is a little more filling and healthy which we need at meal time. You don’t want your travel snacks to be just empty calories. Might as well get some nutrition where you can!
There are times when my kids really just want junkfood on the road. We will often pack cookies like fig newtons, ginger snaps, vanilla wafers or other simple cookies. Skip anything that has chocolate in it! Too messy and much more sugar than a simpler style cookie would have.
9. Salty snacks:
If you child (or you!) crave salty and crunchy snacks, try flavored rice cakes or Popchips. These tend to have less fat and are more ‘natural’ than a regular bag for chips but still satisfy that salt craving.
10. Beef Jerky:
Yes, this is one of my family’s favorite travel snacks and the only time we actually buy it! You can find organic and/or natural varieties if you look hard and they are pretty tasty.
The high protein keeps people satisfied and it is chewy enough to keep them busy for a while. There is a reason that cowboys used to bring this on their long cattle drives! If you are ambitious, make your own. I have in the past and while it is a lot of work it is very tasty!
Other things to make sure you bring? Hand wipes, plastic grocery bags for trash disposal, and lots of patience! Traveling can be fun but also exhausting! Make sure you bring the right travel snacks to keep the whole car happy on the road!
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Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.