Whether you're preparing for an eight hour road trip or a quick drive to the mall, some light, healthy travel snacks work well for keeping your little ones satisfied. The last thing you want on a long road trip is to stop at a gas station and spend money on snacks that aren't very healthy for your kids. Plus, having bags filled with no-mess, finger foods in the car helps keep your children occupied so you can concentrate on the road instead of managing the ruckus in the backseat. Here are 10 road trip snacks that are healthy, easy to prepare and require little clean-up:
Before it's time to hit the road, grab a few apples and slice them up into bite sized cubes for the road. These are easy to pack into small, plastic bags and are perfect for long road trips because they don't really require any clean-up, not to mention there's no apple core or seeds to deal with since they're all pre-cut. Try sprinkling some cinnamon into the plastic bags and shaking them up for extra flavor.
Sliced carrot sticks are another great road trip snack that requires little preparation, and can be easily transported in plastic bags. Kids love them for their crunchiness, while parents love them for their vitamins and nutrients. Carrot sticks are another type of travel food that can be easily managed because they aren't sticky and require very little clean-up.
Some store-bought trail mix packages aren't as healthy as they seem. If you really want to manage your kids' nutrition, try making your own trail mix at home. You can include the usual peanuts, walnuts, almonds and raisins, and even some dark chocolate chips to satisfy your child's sweet tooth. This is a much better alternative than a candy bar purchased from the gas station.
Give your kids some healthy carbohydrates to help them feel full till it's time to stop for food with some whole grain crackers. If you're not too concerned about the mess, you can add different spreads to the crackers like Greek yogurt or peanut butter to give your kids some variety.
Fruit cups are readily available at the local market and are very convenient for the road. The problem is most come swimming in sugary syrup that adds extra calories to a healthy snack, and can be very messy in a car ride. Grab some small, plastic cups and fill them with chopped fruits of your choice like:
Cover the cups with plastic wrap to seal in the freshness, and serve them to your kids in the car when they get hungry.
If tiny, sticky fingers touching the seat belts, car upholstery and car windows are things that concern you, then you should try packing dried fruits for your road trip instead of the ordinary variety. Dried apricots and mangos are quite popular and are relatively inexpensive at the local market.
While they may not be the cleanest snack, oranges are pretty easy to pack and prepare. The fact that they're a significant source of vitamin C should give you enough reason to bring them on your next road trip, and they still count as a finger food.
Small bags filled with your kids' favorite cereal are great snacks that don't require a bowl, spoon or milk to be eaten. Dried cereal makes excellent finger food, and even if your child spills some in the back seat, they are fairly easy to clean.
Hardboiled eggs are great finger foods you can combine with your kids' whole grain crackers, or they can be packed as a separate snack. Just remember to remove the shell when packing or you might end up cleaning tiny bits of egg shell in the back of your car.
Making bite size sandwiches with tuna or deli meats like chicken, turkey or ham, are great snacks for the road. Just make sure you use whole wheat bread and go easy on the mayonnaise. Better yet, skip the mayo and just stick with mustard. Of course, you can always pack the full sized sandwich for your road trips, that way you can skip the pit stop at the nearest greasy, fast food joint.