Travelling with children can either be a relatively smooth ride or a very bumpy road indeed. While we all accept that the type of petrol we put in our car’s tank affects its performance, for some reason we don’t apply the same logic to the food we fuel our kids with.
If you load children (or adults) up with highly processed convenience foods then they will experience sugar imbalances – expect energy highs followed by the inevitable crash. The resulting volatile moods will make the whole experience an unpleasant one for everyone involved. However, if you hit the road armed with healthy snacks to help satisfy hunger for longer and stabilise blood sugar levels, then it will be a much more enjoyable journey for the whole family. Here are my healthy tips for tantrum-free travel with children.
Get a head start while everyone is fresh
With little ones, the secret is to get away early. If there’s not time for breakfast, pack a healthy porridge in a thermos. You could make a batch the night before that will keep everyone feeling full for ages. Overnight oats are an effortless way to prep whole grains while you sleep. Combine one part rolled oats to two parts liquid (water, milk, kefir or non-dairy milk alternatives), fruit and desired seasonings like cinnamon, carob powder, nuts and seeds, and then soak overnight in the fridge so that it’s ready to heat and eat the next morning. For an added dash of satiating nutrition, add 1 tsp of choc or vanilla Protein+ to your porridge or take a smoothie boosted with Protein+ instead. Check out the Wholesome Kitchen for recipe inspiration that may suit your family on the move.
Watch the drinks
My key piece of advice around drinks is to ditch the juices, sports drinks and soft drinks and swap them for water or sparkling water. Just one can of soft drink can contain 10 teaspoons of sugar which definitely isn’t healthy or conducive to travelling in a cooped up car or airplane!
Pack snacks thoughtfully
Try making a selection of snacks and putting them in separate containers labelled with your kids’ names. Not only will the children love being in control of their own food choices but it also means you don’t have to spend the entire trip rifling through a bag for their next snack request!
What should I take? Try these suggestions:
- Home-made popcorn with a dash of unsalted butter. Popcorn is a natural wholegrain that is high in fibre as well as manganese for cognitive function and magnesium for a better night’s sleep. Without all the salt, unhealthy vegetable oils and preservatives of store-bought versions, home-made popcorn is a healthier choice. If you are going to choose a store-bought version, always choose plain or lightly salted. Avoid the sweet or flavoured versions. You can also boost further with a sprinkling of Veggies+ to add the goodness of 15 veggies and supercharged greens to this humble snack!
- Chips are always a hit but why not try some nutritious alternatives like plain organic corn tortillas, vegetable and grain chips such as Luke’s Organic Kale Chips or Brown Rice Chips.
- Crackers are another crunchy travel winner – you could make the flaxseed crackers from my book or buy the Ceres Organics Rice Crackers (black sesame). Sakata Authentic Rice Crackers (plain) or Peckish Brown Rice Crackers (unsalted or lightly salted) with some hummus or tahini in a travel dip container (I love the Konserve brand or LunchBots).
- Beetroot and Spinach Bliss Balls. These tasty bliss balls are the perfect way to sneak extra veggies into your diet – just make sure you blitz the spinach into a fine paste.
- A trail mix of nuts, berries, cacao nibs and coconut flakes. Who doesn’t love a trail mix? Let your kids choose their favourite nuts and even allow them to make the mix for a fun activity too.
- Choc+ Muesli Bars. Muesli bars are the perfect snack food and these ones are full of healthy fats with the addition of Protein+ to support blood sugar stability, satiety, digestion and boost healthy, glowing skin and hair.
- Wholesome Child Banana Bread. The addition of high-fibre chia seeds and anti-inflammatory cinnamon makes this bread great for snack time. You can add a little butter and wrap them up for a perfect travel treat.
- Choc Chip Peanut Butter Cookies+, Black bean biscuits or chocolate zucchini muffins from my book are great options for when everyone needs a little pick me up on a travel day. They last for days out the fridge.
- My kids love munching on plain seaweed or using them to create their own nori wraps. They can be purchased in single-serve packs, however it’s just as easy to buy the full-sized sheets and cut them into small squares – it’s also a far more economical option!
- Boiled eggs in fun-shaped moulds. Eggs are inexpensive, versatile and delicious, pack a protein punch plus they can instantly transform any dish into an early morning crowd-pleaser. Just eat them early on in the journey so they don’t start to smell out your luggage!
- Veggie sticks with dips or by themselves for a crunchy, refreshing and nutritious hit. I always take plenty as the adults tend to snack on these too.
- Fruit that takes a while to eat to help pass the time – like a whole apple or container of blueberries. Balance with a natural yogurt or handful of chopped (always chop nuts if travelling in a car) nuts to slow the sugar release. Plain Chobani Greek yogurt, natural Tamar Valley, Jalna Biodynamic natural and are great options.
What are your tried and tested travel snacks? We’d love to know!