Ah, the open road. So full of possibility. So full of adventure. So full of…whining.
Yes, whether you’re exploring the wonders of the Grand Canyon or trying to quell a mid-Disney temper-tantrum, the joys and the perils of traveling with children abound. But, alas, seeing as how most of the biggest meltdowns revolve around fatigue or food, not all hope is lost.
Just swapping that packet of dyed powdered sugar (looking at you, Pixie sticks) for an apple can go a long way towards calming food-induced fits. Here are our top 7 healthy snacks to pack when traveling with children.
7. Whole Grains
Whether it’s whole grain pretzels, seeded, whole grain bread, or no sugar added whole grain cereal, whole grains generally come pre-packaged so they’re easy to grab, and they won’t send your child’s insulin-levels spinning.
You’ll find individually-wrapped single cheese servings in most groceries and even some convenience store these days. Go for low-fat cheeses if this is a regular snack, but if you have a choice, choose the middle fat option rather than the lowest, as less fat means more salt. Pair with whole grain crackers to make the treat stretch further.
5. Oatmeal Snack Cakes
If you get the chance to bake before hitting the road, these oatmeal snack cakes are just the right amount of sweet and heart healthy whole grains. Plus you can cut them into fun shapes, which ups their chance of consumption.
Pro Tip: swap the white and brown sugar for palm sugar, which registers lower on the glycemic index.
4. Peanut butter
If you can stand the potential mess in the back seat, peanut butter is an easy to pack source of protein. Slather on apples or crackers to sneak in more fiber.
You know those commercials where a kid turns to the camera and proclaims, “Mom, this is good!” and mom just smiles and says, “And it’s good for her, too”? Yogurt is that kind of treat. Kids will love the variety of flavors, and they won’t even know they’re being stocked full of vitamins and calcium.
While you probably can’t pack a smoothie, you can find them in most convenience stores in large or single serving form. Check the label carefully to ensure yours is more fruit and yogurt than added sugar.
1. Trail Mix
With nuts for proteins, dried fruit for vitamins and just a little sweet, whole grain cereal, banana chips, and perhaps even a few chocolate chips sprinkled in as a treat, trail mix is the ultimate healthy snack.
With these snacks along for the ride, you’ll have minimal whining and maximum enjoyment. And, hey, you might just have some great leftovers to nibble on, too.
About the Author: Alyssa is a blogger in the Seattle area. A part-time professional family/children’s photographer, when she’s not busy taking pictures, you can typically find Alyssa exploring thrift shops or drinking a venti Starbucks latte. You can follow Alyssa’s PNW adventures on Twitter.