When we’re heading off a long trip with our kids, snacks are an essential item! Unfortunately, convenient snacks for kids are often pretty unhealthy, not to mention expensive. Keeping our small kids occupied in the back seat can be challenging at the best of times, without constant cries of “I’m hungry!” resonating around the car.
We found that they are loads of healthy snack ideas out there, but so many of them have the capacity to create a huge mess in the back of our car. If you’re looking at ways to save money on snacks, keep the car relatively clean and keep your kids as healthy as possible, take a look at our yummy ideas.
Sometimes, persuading our kids to eat fruit can be difficult. Often, it’s the texture of certain fruits which puts kids off or even the look of it.
Dried fruit can be a great healthy snack for kids; it looks different and tastes different than its fresh counterpart. It’s also much less messy than fresh fruit, as there’s no juice to be squirted over the back seat and no messy hands wiped on clothes. Banana chips, dried apple rings, and dried apricots are some of our favorites. You can grab these in health food shops super easily and lots of supermarkets have a good selection.
Popcorn is a great healthy snack and it comes in all sorts of flavors. Buy a big bag and split it up into snack-size portions in boxes or sandwich bags. We find it can get a little messy, but at least it’s dry and not too difficult to vacuum up.
You can also have a go at making it yourself, which is a great option if you’re on a budget. Here are lots of yummy popcorn recipes for some inspiration.
COTTAGE CHEESE AND BLUEBERRY WRAPS
This one might sound a bit out there, but all of our friends’ kids along with our kids love this combo! It’s a perfect way to get the kids to have a balanced meal with carbohydrates and protein. The cottage cheese ensures you don’t have any runaway blueberries to fish out from under the seat. I recently found out that many of the cottage cheese brands on the market are packed full of sugar, so I started making my own!
Making your own granola bars is a great option for a no-mess and healthier snack. Shop bought cereal and granola bars are often packed with sugar, glucose syrup, and additives that aren’t good for anyone!
Making your own can be a fun exercise to do with the kids as well. You can pack them with your kids’ favorite things and they don’t have to be too difficult either. We have a few favorites, such as blueberry vanilla with greek yogurt as well as double chocolate peanut butter. These recipes are healthy and delicious (we usually save a few for ourselves).
Cereals make a great snack for long car journeys. There are lots of healthy options such as wholegrain cereals, cereals with much less or no added sugar and ones without artificial flavorings.
Pop a handful in a sandwich bag or snack box for long journeys to soothe those hunger pangs—if you don’t usually have cereal as a snack, your kids might even be interested in the novelty.
Jerky is perfect for on the go snacking. It doesn’t require any chilling or heating and its practically impossible to make a mess with it. The only problem with pre-packaged jerky is that it can be extremely high in sodium. Try making your own bacon jerky; it’s super simple and lasts for months.
Where there is hunger, there’s inevitably thirst! Handy drinks for kids can be one of the least healthy additions to their diets as there can be lots of hidden calories in juices and smoothies and they can contain a huge amount of sugar. Opt for sugar-free or no added sugar options when it comes to juice boxes, to make for a healthier snack. You can also invest in some reusable water bottles to take with you in the car and fill these up for the ride (this is healthy on the wallet too!).
It can seem like a daunting task when it comes to staying healthy on the road with small kids, but with these ideas, it should be a little easier!
Brittnay Sharman is a nutritionist from Australia. She is passionate about creating healthy meals for her young family to enjoy (especially sneaking in lots of veggies). She also loves sharing these ideas with others!