It’s that time of year when we pack up our cars, trucks, and/or minivans and take our summer road trips. Actually, between kid’s activities, play dates, visiting relatives, and everything else in life I spend a lot of time in my truck regardless of the time of year. I guess that’s why I feel like a snack packing road trip expert – SPRTE for short! Ha!
To me a road trip is a period of time longer than 45 minutes in a car. Haha! I say this because I have 2 girls and trust me if we are driving longer than that, and I’m not prepared, then my truck turns into a torture chamber filled with Disney radio blaring in the speakers, one of them saying “I have to go to the bathroom”, and both DEFINITELY begging for food or drink. Never fails.
If I don’t have food or water within arms reach we are stopping somewhere. I hate doing this for 2 reasons. First, I hate spending unnecessary cash. Drives me nuts. I work hard for my money and have no desire to spend it on processed junk or overpriced bottled water. Second, I try really hard to keep my kids away from junk. Obviously that doesn’t always happen, and a human can only take so much begging for donut holes, but I do my best to prevent us from having to go near a drive thru.
In the last year, these are 4 things that helped us eat healthier and stay away from junk while on the road.
#1. I started giving my kids an allowance.
They need to keep their rooms cleans, put laundry away, make their lunches, and do their homework. All without a fight. If everything gets done then I give each $5 sometimes $10 if they go over and beyond. So now if they want donuts or other “junk” then they need to pay for it with their own money. At first my girls were all about being able to buy whatever they wanted. However, they quickly realized how fast money dwindles and didn’t want to waste their hard earned cash on a donut hole. Funny how quickly things change, and you learn to budget, when you actually have to spend money that you worked for, not just mommy and daddy’s cash. Hmmmm. Now we rarely go to Tim Hortons unless it’s an emergency.
#2. I bought my kids reusable water bottles and also keep a stock of water in my garage.
The cost of a bottle of water from any store is at least a dollar. A case of 24 bottles is $5. Do the math. The goal is for my kids to have their reusable bottle with them at all times but you know how that goes. In this case, I always have a few plastic water bottles with me.
#3. I purchased a small cooler that I bring everywhere.
I never leave my house without my cooler packed with snacks. It’s a must! I throw an ice pack in there and then fill it with fruit, vegetables, cheese sticks, yogurt, muffins, hummus, etc. We never leave the house without food. We might not eat everything but it’s always there just in case. Whatever we don’t eat just goes back into the refrigerator or pantry when we get home. Honestly, this might be one of the best habits we established this year. It saves us money and keeps healthy foods within arms reach.
I use this 16 can soft cooler by Coleman. It’s under $20 and works great. It has enough room for a day of snacks and is also easy to carry. I used these slim ice packs. They don’t take up a lot of space in the cooler and keep our food cold and fresh.
#4 I bake our own sweet treats and snacks.
Well at least I try my best too. As I’ve said a million times I’m human and sometimes I’ll buy granola, cereal bars, or other package snacks from the store. I ‘m a label reader so I do my best to choose the best snacks available. However, my first choice is to prepare homemade treats and snacks. It saves money and, because I control the ingredients, is always healthier than store-bought. I can use all organic ingredients, reduce the sugar, and substitute whole grain for refined flour. So while my kids enjoy their homemade treats they are also getting some wholesome goodness.
Here are 30+ of my favorite healthy make-ahead snack recipes to take on road trips. I shared a few of mine along with some from my favorite food blogs.
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