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7/16/13blog post

eating healthy while traveling with kids

I say it every year, “Vacation gets easier and easier”. In other words, as the kids grow, they help more with the planning and work. These same words hold true for how we eat when traveling.

How do you feed your kids while you travel? Often, eating helps bide the time so it feels like it goes by faster – or so we think. Balance mindful eating with vacation fun. Consider:

  • Pack at least one meal. Pack deli meat wraps/sandwiches & peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Yes, we couple bathroom breaks with maybe one drive thru meal – opting for just sandwiches and not the sides and drinks. On the trip home, we bring along the leftover pizza.
  • Snack on: cereal bars (with fiber greater than 2 – 3 grams per bar), tubes of Chobani yogurt, dry cereal (low in added sugars), Chex Mix, pretzels, dried fruit, carrot (and other fresh vegetable) sticks, fresh fruit (apples, plums, pears).
  • Make sure each person has a water bottle. Bring 100% fruit or vegetable juice to”break up the drive” and get in that extra fruit/vegetable.
  • Balance the snacks with some fun vacation treats: (ours are) Red Swedish Fish and Peanut M&Ms. We don’t eat these foods too often, so, having them a part of vacation is fun.
  • If the kids are old enough, pack different flavors of sugar-free gum for surprise tastings and bubble-blowing amusement.
  • Bring snack sized baggies to help with dividing the goodies. I keep old grocery plastic bags under my seat for trash. As we stop for bathroom and gas breaks, we unload the trash.

Remember to bring along some kid fun:

  • Have the child pack his/her own bag with fun books, magazines and paper with baggie of their own crayons.
  • Car games from the past: Alphabet game, I Spy, 20 Questions
  • Bring new “toys”: stickers, maze books, word puzzles, Mad Libs, reading books. Pull out these new items throughout the trip.
  • If you play movies: fun movies plus any educational ones (we like The Safe Side: Stranger Safety and the Leap Frog Educational Series).
  • Take turns playing fun music and sing along!
  • For other ideas, check out my sister’s blog Ideas for Fun Activities for Kids on Long Road Trips

Enjoy food when traveling, just like at home. Stay mindful and plan ahead so that healthy choices are easy choices. And, when you get to your destination you feel healthy and ready to go!

What other tips have you tried while traveling on long drives with your kids??