Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Healthy eating for family car trips

Heading out on a long car journey with the family? Then don’t forget to take enough tasty treats and thirst-quenching drinks to keep them happy.

Don’t be tempted to lug along unhealthy crisps, sweets, chocolate and other junk foods. With a little preparation you can provide nutritious nibbles that the whole family can enjoy – and leave your car crumb-free to boot. 

How much to bring
You should certainly bring a few snacks, but if you’ll be driving over lunch or dinner time, you might want to forgo the expensive offerings at motorway service stations, and prepare a picnic instead.

On the other hand, if you want to get to your destination as quickly as possible and feel it’s impractical to stop for a meal on the way, a big bag of substantial snacks will certainly keep everyone going.

Clean and tidy
It might seem an improbable dream to eat without mess in the car, but there are steps you can take.
  • Fresh food and drinks should be packed in an easy-to-reach cool bag. If you don’t own a cool bag, you can’t ensure your entire family meal will stay edible on a long journey, so pack dry snacks instead.
  • Keep wet wipes on hand for filthy fingers.
  • Use a carrier bag as a bin for dirty Tupperware, cutlery, food scraps, etc.
  • Bring kitchen roll for mopping up the odd inevitable spillage.
  • If you do plan to stop for a picnic, don’t forget the all-important blanket.

Delicious drinks
You should avoid fizzy drinks, as many are loaded with E numbers, sugar and caffeine – not good for children stuck in a car.

Water is the best thing to drink – it’s healthy, hydrating and if it leaks it won’t leave a sticky mess all over your car’s upholstery. But if your children don’t like drinking water, give them vitamin-packed fruit juices and smoothies, or low-sugar fruit drinks. You could also prepare a flask of ready-to-drink cordial.

Only bring drinks that come in unbreakable bottles with screw-top lids – pouches with straws and cans are just asking to be spilt, and glass bottles are an accident waiting to happen.

Must-have munchies
Car-suitable snacks should be mess-free and easy enough for even a toddler to handle with ease.

Fresh snacks can include fruit – anything that doesn’t have peel, pips, a stone or a core is best, or you might prefer to chop up fruit and bring it in sealed Tupperware containers. Don’t forget a fork and a carrier bag to put your dirty containers in afterwards.

Vegetable sticks are another great option – we’re talking celery, cucumber and carrot batons. Cherry tomatoes are tasty, but can squirt juice. A dip can liven up your vegetables, but take plenty of kitchen paper, unless you want to find splodges of it round the car later.

Dips, such as hummus, are also good for dunking pitta bread. Or, as an interesting alternative to sandwiches, why not take along tortilla wraps with ham and cheese?

Mini sausages and cheese, such as Babybel, are often a hit with kids, too, as are sticks of yoghurt, which are brilliantly fuss-free.

If you don’t have a cool bag, bring popcorn, as well as oatcakes, rice cakes and bread sticks, which you can dip in peanut butter.

Children usually like tucking into their own individual packs of raisins, yoghurt-coated dried fruit and cereal bars. If you have the time, try making some homemade flapjacks.

Picnic en route
If it’s a nice day, why not stop somewhere picturesque for a proper old-fashioned picnic? The kids will revel in running around outdoors after being cooped up in the car, and it’s a great way for the driver to refresh themselves before getting behind the wheel again.

Your picnic should include all the usual suspects – sandwiches, quiche, tart, pâté, olives, crusty bread and cheese. And don’t forget dessert – yoghurt, cold puddings in pots, mini muffins or slices of cake are all good options.

Author Bio:
Tara Nathanson writes for Sainsbury’s Bank Matters Blog on a range of topics including
car insurance, car safety and other motoring topics. In her spare time she likes going to the cinema and doing yoga and Zumba classes, and at weekends she likes hanging out with her six-year-old son.

1 comment:

  1. What great ideas. I normally get a bit stumped after the raisins and bread sticks have run out!