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22nd of July 2018

Women



Healthy Travel Snacks

My name is Natalie, and I am a compulsive road trip snack over-packer.

I try to pack things that aren’t super junky, though. Nothing is worse than being in the car all day eating junk food and candy only to arrive at your destination feeling gross. Not fun at all.

There are practical benefits of packing too many snacks. None of my kids ever complain that they’re hungry. And if we get stranded for several hours (or even a couple of days, depending on how zealously I pack) we’ll be in good shape.

If you like to keep things healthier on the road, I’ve got a lot of snack ideas for you! These are actual snacks that I packed for a 10-hour trip to see my family. Most of them my kids enjoyed, too.

   

First, I try to pack some protein so it keeps everyone satisfied longer. Meat and cheese sticks are handy and portable, but sometimes I like to make a container of pepperoni or salami with cheese slices. You can also fill a container with rolled up deli meat with slices of cheese.

It’s getting easier to find healthier deli meat these days, too. I really like True Story organic and uncured deli meats.

   

Another protein option is hard-cooked eggs. This might get kind of messy, depending on the ages of your kids, but I mostly bring them for myself to snack on.

My favorite things to do is cut them in half and smear some spicy mayo or sprinkle Everything Bagel Seasoning on each half. Or both, if I’m feeling adventurous.

Psst… I’ve got a recipe for Homemade Everything Bagel Seasoning on my blog!

   

If you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, find some individual-sized containers of hummus or guacamole. I keep these stocked in my fridge and put them in my kids’ lunches, too. Make sure you’ve got lots of dippers! I like to bring baby carrots, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, and an assortment of gluten-free crackers and plantain chips.

Bringing veggies on a car trip might not win you any cool points, but I find that my kids are usually OK with it. I’m constantly trying to get them to eat vegetables, so a car trip isn’t any different. And since the kids know that there are special road trip treats, I use that as an incentive to eat more veg. Just a thought.

   

We always bring fruit. ALWAYS. I have a rule though: I don’t bring anything that is too sticky or squishes easily. Like bananas. Those are off limits in the car while my kids are still relatively young. Nothing is worse than cleaning up a squished banana in a car seat. *shudder*

I like to bring grapes, blueberries, apples, and sometimes watermelon. I also grab some raisins and dried fruit, like blueberries or cranberries.

   

Now on to nuts and energy bars. I love getting flavored nuts, like Habanero BBQ Almonds or Thai Chile-Lime Cashews. I also keep a few fruit and nut energy bars on hand, like Larabars or Kind bars.

Remember that post on How to Make Fruit and Nut Energy Bites I wrote for Food & Friends last year? Now is a good time to revisit that post and make a batch for your next road trip.

   

Every time I pack a snack bag I include a special treat. The same rules apply—I don’t pack things that are super sticky or that squish easily. I don’t mind crumbly things because it vacuums up easily. And no matter what you do, you’ll have to vacuum your car out when you get home.

Our family tradition is to make a batch of crispy rice treats for every trip. You could also bring kettle corn, yogurt pretzels, or fruit snacks, too.

   

Here are a few other tips for packing snacks:  

Don’t make everything from scratch

Ina Garten shared some dinner party tips on her show and one of them was to only make one or two things from scratch and to buy the rest of the meal. It saves you a lot of headache and stress when prepping for a dinner party.

I practice this same principle when I pack a snack bag. Making/slicing/rolling everything for a snack bag is a lot of work and not something you want to. Take advantage of the pre-packaged options, even if they aren’t things you normally buy. For example, you could make a batch of energy bars and slice some vegetables, but buy pre-packaged snack boxes and cheese sticks.  

Drink water

We always drink water during our trips. Each person in the car has their own refillable water bottle. If it spills, there isn’t a sticky mess. And you can refill them easily (for free!) at gas stations.  

Divide the snacks

I always pack a room temperature bag and an insulated bag with ice packs for things that need to stay cool.  

Open minutes

In order to keep the Snack Lord (whoever is in charge of distributing snacks, usually me) sane, we have 15–20 minute blocks of time every couple of hours when the snack bags are “open” and the kids can eat. That way they don’t deplete the snack supply so much that there isn’t much left for the last legs of the trip. And the refrigerated bag doesn’t stay open the entire time and lose its chilliness.

   

I’d love to hear how you prepare your snack bag for a long trip and what your plans are for the summer! Do you travel with kids? What are some of their favorite travel snacks?

   

Natalie Perry Natalie

Natalie is a third generation cookbook hoarder and started blogging in 2008 as a way to store and organize her recipes digitally. When she realized people other than her mother and close friends were reading her blog, she tidied up the place and fell in love with sharing recipes and creating drool-worthy photos, which have been featured in many places online and in print. Natalie and her family have gravitated toward a paleo/primal-ish lifestyle over the years, which became the focus of her blog, Perry's Plate. However, they wouldn't turn down an invite out for pizza or cookies on their doorstep. When Natalie isn't in the kitchen she loves taking day trips to Lake Tahoe with her family, quilting, and, if she's being honest, drinking La Croix and Netflix binging. She lives in Northern Nevada with her chiropractor husband, three little girls, and a squishy little boy who is still trying to figure out which doting female in the house is his mother.

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