Spring break is just upon us and for many families that means road trips! Road trips to the family cabin or to go and see Nanny and Poppy around the bay for Easter Break are traditions for many families in Newfoundland and Labrador.
But the long drives, full as they are of inventive games and good conversation (or these days perhaps IPods and DS systems) are more often than not excuses to mindlessly graze on all manner of snacks and treats full of sugar and salt and fat.
If we take some time to think about our snacks and plan ahead we can pack ourselves a nice selection of healthy treats. When preparing ahead we can be sure to avoid that common hungry walk through the candy and chip aisle in the gas station while stopping for that pee break or stretching our legs, and have our healthier treats packed in the car to keep those bellies full!
A common pretense for buying unhealthy foods for road trips is that they are more convenient than other, healthier foods. Easy as it may be to give in to that misconception, the truth is that there are dozens of equally convenient foods that are also much better for you, for example:
- Low-fat yogurt tubs or yogurt tubes
- Cheese strings
- Carrot sticks
- Celery with peanut butter and raisins
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Small baggies of nuts
- Water bottles
Of these snacks, only the celery and eggs require any kind of preparation, and there are many others that make fine, easy snacks.
Rather than suggesting chips or cookies as possible snack choices, parents could easily turn food planning into a game that challenges children to think creatively and healthily about food. Parents can:
- Make homemade trail-mix and ask children what to put it in, letting them pour and mix
- Look for recipes together with children to decide on some new ideas
- Arrange stops along the route to pick up local fruits (in the summertime!) or other produce, like nuts, letting children navigate or draw the route on the map
It’s also a good idea to pack extras of these healthy snacks for the whole trip. Sometimes when we are on vacations we tend to go for more sweets and treats as we sometimes adapt to the eating habits of our gracious hosts. Having these on hand to snack on throughout the day can help us keep a better handle on what we are eating throughout the day!