It’s another long weekend and time for some family down-time, which means most of us are going to be on the road. Before you can kick up your slops, get nose-deep into a bad romance novel or sleep in until noon (yeah, right!), you have to first get to your destination. It’s just you, the family and the open road… Eek!
If the thought of a long drive with kids makes your hair curl, you’re not alone. But, fear not, there are ways to keep fuss to a minimum – and they start with these road trip snack hacks.
1. Skip the chips
Yes, they’re convenient, but chips will only make for greasy little fingers and car crumbs. And you pay a premium for chips at road-side garage shops. Rather make a big batch of popcorn at home and pack it into smaller bags for each of the kids.
It’s cheaper, healthier and takes longer to eat. Dry cereal (nothing sugar coated) packed into small plastic bags is also perfect for kids to munch on – especially if you’re travelling in the early hours of the morning.
2. Sip smart
Don’t let kids sip on fizzy cooldrink during a long road trip. It’ll spike their blood sugar – cue the fidgety, irritable behaviour – then leave them whiny when their blood sugar eventually drops.
Rather make your own juice (from concentrate), then freeze in juice bottles to take with you along the way; the ice cold bottles are an added bonus for keeping your other snacks cool.
3. Strong sarmie game
Take a wide berth of fast-food outlets at garages over the long weekend – you’ll stand in queues for hours, then end up with a car-load of greasy packets and a distinctive tomato-sauce-and-mustard stain on your car seat. Rather make sandwiches before your trip and wrap in cling wrap to prevent them going soggy.
Choose hardy fillings that won’t get squashed on a long drive – smoked chicken, cucumber, sliced cheese and salami are all good options. Opt for a low GI loaf to keep travellers’ tummies full – Blue Ribbon Low GI Crushed Wheat Brown Bread or Blue Ribbon Low GI Brown Bread are ideal for filling, nutritious sandwiches.
4. Kid-friendly fruit
What do you get if you combine three kids, three oranges and a small space? Disaster! You get disaster. Stained clothes, sticky fingers and nagging, guaranteed.
Be smart with your fruit choice. Pack fruits that are low-maintenance, non-drippy and easy to transport. Top picks are apples, bananas and grapes.
5. Common scents
A long car trip is a bit like community living – what’s good for the whole car is good for the individual. So be community-minded and don’t pack smelly foods that’ll leave the car reeking – no matter how much you love them.
Regular car culprits are boiled eggs and anything that contains onion, garlic or fish. You also don’t want your car smelling rancid if there is a spill, so avoid packing milk-based drinks or snacks. That’s spilt milk you will cry over if a mishap happens… and they do!
6. Sweet stuff
No matter how healthy the eating habits of your family, after a few hours of travelling, the kids will start nagging for something sweet, so be prepared. A large chocolate bar in a hot car is never a good idea – kids hardly ever finish what they open, so you’ll have smudgy hands for hours, and it’ll hit them with a sugar rush of epic proportions.
Rather give them something that can be portioned and won’t melt – marshmallows and chocolate covered raisins (a few at a time) are good ideas. A peanut butter, banana and honey sandwich on Blue Ribbon Low GI White Bread is also a perfect sweet treat for a long road trip – it’ll fill kids up and doesn’t pack too much sugar.