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Road trips: Keeping kids well fed and hydrated


By Jeremy Elliott
Writer, Beat the Traffic
Monday, January 20, 2014, 11:09 AM

Part one in a series on keeping your young passengers entertained and fed while on the road.

“Are we there yet?” Wait five minutes…. “Are we there yet? I’m hungry”

Road trips – whether short or long, can be a great family adventure but one of the keys to success (aside from having the BTT app) is ensuring that you are prepared to keep your young passengers well fed and hydrated.


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Snacks are very important if you are travelling for more than an hour or two. Although granola bars are easy to pack, do not require refrigeration and are very convenient, vacuuming granola out of the seats, nooks and crannies of your interior is no fun at all. Grape jelly, peanut butter and raspberry jam are no fun to remove from the upholstery either.

(FLICKR- Robin Vallentyne)

(FLICKR- Robin Vallentyne)

The best snacks are usually bite sized – this reduces the amount of debris, are easy to handle, allows kids to adjust intake to how hungry they are and reduces waste.

A box of donut holes (aka Timbits in Canada) is an easy solution, but what if you are trying to limit sugar intake?

Other suggestions from parents on the road with young children include a resealable container of mini carrots, celery sticks and various cut fruit and veggies. They provide the needed crunch of a snack and do not require a great deal of preparation.

Veteran tip! - dip is not a good idea.

On the subject of fruits and veggies – apples, bananas, even grapes and mandarin oranges are convenient as they have their own wrapper!

Cookies can work, especially if you make homemade bite sized cookies – this way you can use your favorite recipes and feel good about what you are feeding your family.

A resealable container of party mix, again homemade if you like, will work well. There is also the classic trail mix – peanuts, cashews, raisins and smarties make a great travel snack. Just don’t let anyone get away with eating all of the smarties.

Veteran tip! – buy resealable snack containers that will fit into the drink holders in your vehicle or your child’s car seat. There are normally more drink spaces than required and it helps eliminate accidents.

In the age of bottled water and juice boxes – keeping hydrated is easier than ever.

A box of wipes is mandatory and having everything in a tote or container will help keep organized and prevent food packages from going missing under the seats.

Last but not least prepare for the trash – many vehicles, especially minivans and SUVs have dedicated trash bins, but even a simple kitchen bag will work well – double bag to avoid spills on the carpet. You can even have a separate bag for recyclables.

In a later article we’ll discuss tips and ideas when traveling with infants. In the meantime what are your favorite road snacks and suggestions for feeding your family while on the road?

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