Healthy Food Ideas for Traveling with Kids
How to provide your family with healthy food and snack options when you travel
by Geri Moran
Anticipation and excitement runs through the minds and hearts of every school age child as summer and freedom finally arrive. The mere thought of vacation plans to visit family, friends or see other parts of our beautiful country for the first time, are thrilling.
Consider a couple of long week-end side trips as a cost effective alternative with our economic challenges. This could allow you to take 2 different trips in opposite directions and experience more diversity. With tourism down, you may be able to negotiate for better hotel/motel rates, if your travel dates are flexible or mid-week.
Traveling with kids is particularly challenging if you want to provide healthy food or snacks while on the road or flying. As always, be prepared and plan ahead for the best outcome. When kids (and parents) get hungry, their blood sugar dips and they often get cranky. “Aren’t we there yet”?
Anticipate delays and have nutritious food options available. Now that airlines no longer provide free food, consider packing a healthy snack. It will break up travel time and distract kids on a long flight. Save room in your carry-on bag for food selections plus a few other non-food entertainment distractions.
For road trips, packing a cooler provides flexibility and healthy options. You’ll have the freedom to pull into a rest-stop with picnic tables or discover scenic overlooks. Watch for those brown roadside signs to alert you one is just ahead!
Pack plenty of easy to handle “picnic style” foods. Sandwiches in whole wheat pita pockets, tortilla roll-ups, bagels or hamburger buns are easy to handle. Spread peanut or almond butter and top with fresh sliced strawberries or bananas and drizzle lightly with honey. Spread refried beans or guacamole, grated cheese, sprouts and salsa. For early departures, breakfast burritos wrapped in foil are great to get everyone on the road. For easy finger foods try Nut Thins or Wheat Thins crackers with cheese cubes and grapes. For a mid-day snack try apple slices dipped in nut butters. Yummy…
Plan ahead to complement that sandwich. Prepare a selection of colorful veggies: tender pea pods, carrots or celery sticks, broccoli trees, cherry tomatoes. For a healthy dip, try cool ranch dressing (Annie’s Cow Girl Ranch) or pre-made guacamole (Wholly-Guacamole). Tangerines, bananas and hard-boiled eggs are easy to peel and fun on hikes. Peaches or Bing cherries, an especially sweet treat, always remind me of summer. No need to worry about those pits out in nature!
Fruits and vegetables are the “original fast food” in their original package and don’t contain artificial preservatives or chemical additives. On the hiking trail or in an amusement park bring a bag of some healthy trail mix in your back pack. Avoid snacks that are highly processed, hydrogenated, high in sugar, salt, artificial color, flavors and preservatives.
Be prepared and your kids will think you’re their super hero! Planning ahead can save you hundreds of dollars or more, for an average family of four, during a week-long family vacation.
PS. Don’t forget the wet-wipes and the antibacterial hand cleaner.
Happy trails to you…
Geri Moran is a Certified Health Consultant and National Marketing Director. Her mission is to educate and motivate families to improve their health and to empower children to make better food choices daily. To contact Geri or to schedule a EAT OUTSIDE THE BOX- Reading Food Labels – NUTRITION DETECTIVES class for your Family/Friends, School, Church or Sports Team call 972-337-0164 or visit www.got-health.com.