An important step in planning a fuss-free family trip is to ensure that your kids have the right type of snacks on hand.
You’re not alone if the thought of a long drive with kids makes your hair curl. But there are ways to keep the commotion to a bare minimum, starting with these road-trip snack hacks…
Replace crisps with popcorn or dry cereal
Chips are convenient, but they only result in greasy little fingers and car crumbs. Chips are also more expensive at roadside garage shops. Make a large batch of popcorn at home and divide it up into smaller bags for each child. It’s less expensive, healthier, and takes longer to eat, keeping the kids occupied for longer. Dry cereal (no sugar added) in small plastic packets is also a good option for kids to snack on, especially if you’re traveling early in the morning.
Replace fizzy drinks with flavoured water
During a long road trip, don’t let your kids drink fizzy drinks. It will raise their blood sugar, causing fidgety, irritable behaviour, and then lower their blood sugar, leaving them whiny. Instead, make your own juice (from concentrate) or flavoured water and freeze it in juice bottles to take with you. The ice cold bottles come in handy for keeping the rest of your snacks cool. Pack straws for your kids to drink through if the tops of their bottles are large enough to avoid spillage.
Replace whole fruit with cut fruit
When you put three kids, three oranges, and a small space together, what do you get? Disaster. You are doomed. Guaranteed: soiled clothes, sticky fingers, and nagging. Make a wise fruit selection. Fruits that are low-maintenance, non-drippy, and easy to transport are ideal for packing. Sliced apples and bananas, or grapes are among the best choices.
Replace fast food with home-made snacks
Avoid fast-food outlets at garages – you’ll be stuck in lines for hours and end up with a car full of greasy packets and a distinctive brown tomato-sauce-and-mustard stain on your car seat. Rather, make sandwiches the night before or the morning of your trip and wrap them in cling film. Choose fillings that will not be squashed on a long drive, such as smoked chicken, cucumber, sliced cheese, and salami. To keep travelers’ stomachs full, choose a low GI loaf for filling, nutritious sandwiches. To avoid waste and mess while on the road, give each child a quarter at a time rather than a whole sandwich.
Replace chocolate bars with bite-sized treats
No matter how healthy your family’s eating habits are, the kids will start nagging for something sweet after a few hours of travel. As a result, be ready. In a hot car, a large chocolate bar is never a good idea – kids rarely finish what they open, so you’ll have smudgy hands for hours, and it’ll give them an epic sugar rush. Instead, give them something portioned and non-melting, such as marshmallows or chocolate-covered raisins (a few at a time).