Tips for road trips with kids.

September 25, 2012

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My husband and I recently went on an ‘All American’ road trip from San Francisco to Vegas with our two small children. Never having travelled any large distances by car since the birth of our young family I hadn’t thought too much about how we were all going to stay healthy on our journey. In the past my husband and I would fill up the car at the gas station with an assortment of junk food like chips and soda before we set off and then pull in to whatever fast food we were going past when we got hungry. However, children give you a new perspective on what you should eat & much as I longed to pull into a drive through Macdonald’s and order a super size Big Mac Meal, I just couldn’t do it in front of the kids!

We hired a car for our family adventure as we found a variety of cheap car rentals which would save us money on fuel,  give us more room and be a lot more reliable than our own slightly unpredictable set of  wheels. We also wanted to splash out on an upscale car as we were saving a fortune in flights, even including hotels as we were travelling during the 4th of July holiday break. So, as we were going to be staying in places where I wouldn’t be able to prepare food for the next day I decided to fill a large cooler box with all the things I could think of which would limit unhealthy pit stops.

This is what I packed and why:

Fruit – Bananas, apples, oranges & grapes are the best as they are very portable and not too messy.
Nuts & Dried fruit – Provide instant protein and sugar to quieten a rumbling tummy.
Cubed cheese – Easy to pass back and for little hands to grasp.
Yoghurt in a tube – Less likely to be spread all over the upholstery than from a cup.
Crackers – Bread makes more crumbs and can help with carsickness.
Cereal bars – Hardly take up any room and can give you a much needed energy boost.
Hard-boiled eggs – Takes a bit of planning, but are filling and nutritious.
Carrot & Cucumber sticks – You can get reseal able bags that will cut down on preparation.
Bottled water – Lots of it and some spare for washing sticky hands too.

As always, it helps to be prepared when children are concerned, and as boring as it seems, we saved ourselves a bunch of time by not having to stop for much more than the odd bathroom break. When we did stop and get something else to eat, we made sure that we drove into a town where there was a larger variety of restaurant on offer. That being said, our kids still wanted the unhealthiest thing on the menu!

After the success of our first family road trip I am looking forward to our next and would welcome any other top tips on what to feed everyone next time.

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