Friday, July 27, 2012

Are We There Yet? Food for the Open Road

We're going on a road trip this weekend!  Our road trips are usually more about the destination than the trip (as in, we don't stop at every scenic lookout or tourist atraction), but we still think that getting there is half the fun!  Your idea of a road trip might be different, depending on how far you're driving and how often your family needs to stop.  But I'm guessing that the two most common questions in your vehicle are the same as the questions in ours:  "How much longer?" and "What do we have to eat?"

Today, we have 18-20 hours of solid driving ahead of us, and although our kids always vote to stop at McDonalds, we'd prefer not to eat there three meals in a row! 

Here are a few tips for eating on the road, without eating under the golden arches for every meal:

1.  Plan.  You knew I was going to say that, right?  How many meals do you need?  Are you going to eat at a restaurant at all?  Make a list of snack foods you'd like to take.  Don't forget beverages (but not too don't want to be taking a potty break every hour!). 

2.  Pack healthy food.  Twenty hours of travelling will make almost anyone feel icky, but eating healthy snacks will help combat that "yuck" feeling.

3.  Pack some junk food too.  When the kids get cranky, offer a surprise treat.  Junk food is also good for keeping you awake at the wheel in the middle of the night!

4.  Stop to eat.  This might mean that you'll eat homemade food at a park, or stop at a restaurant to stretch your legs.  Either way, eating a good meal is a good excuse for everyone to get out of the vehicle for a bit.  This doesn't mean you need to pull over every time you need a snack, but plan to eat at least one meal outside the vehicle.

5.  Pack "neat" food.  Not everything we eat in our van is neat (in fact, I'm pretty sure my husband would say there's no such thing as "neat" food in the van), but I try to stay away from gooey bars, crumbly Little Debbies, and bags of chips.  Think "one bite" snacks to prevent crumbs...for instance, pack Cheez-Its instead of Cheese Pringles.

So, are you dying to know what we're eating on our road trip?  You're not?  Bummer.  Because I love to talk about food!  Oh well, here is my plan of attack (we hope to leave around 5PM):

Supper in the van:  ham/turkey/cheese buns (buns are neater than sandwiches made on bread), cantaloupe chunks, blueberries, CheezIts, juice boxes and water

Snacks after supper:  bite-sized cookies OR if everyone is awake when we need to stop for gas, we'll treat the kids to ice cream

Adult snacks in the middle of the night (to keep us awake!):  pretzels, homemade granola bars, bananas, carrots, apples, chili-lime cracker bites, Sour Patch Kids, Snickers bars, anise candies, trail mix, Mountain Dew, possibly gas station coffee (yeah, a toothbrush will be calling my name in the morning!)

Breakfast:  stop at a non-fast-food restaurant

Snacks:  yogurt-covered pretzels, fruit, CheezIts, water

Lunch:  We hope to be at our destination by now, but check-in isn't until mid-afternoon.  We'll probably find a local park and have hambuns again, or crackers, string cheese, and sausage, along with fruit, chips, and cookies.

What are your favorite road trip snacks?  Do you have any tips for eating on the road?

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