If you have a series of fun road trips planned for this summer but want to keep your family eating healthy wherever they go, it can be a challenge to avoid fast food at pit stops and salty, greasy chips at convenience stores. With a bit of preparation, you can ensure your family has healthy foods to eat on the road and in your accommodations. Part of the secret is to to get to know the locations where you will be staying and to bring a cooler and Tupperware containers filled with natural and organic treats.
Get to Know Your Location
Serendipitous travel can be fun for a couple, but when you have kids in tow, it is a good idea to have a ready answer for the question, “How long till we get there?” Plan which hotels and motels you will stay in well in advance, and if you are committed to a healthy diet, browse the Internet for healthy restaurants in the area and natural and organic supermarkets. Ask for menus for local eateries which you can view online and call up the receptionist at the places you will be staying to find out if they have small refrigerators in the rooms.
Many hotels and motels would prefer you eat at their own cafés and restaurants, but for budget motels without their own eateries, you may find small refrigerators in the room where you can keep vegetables, low-fat cheese, and tofu. While your motel may frown upon the use of hot plates, you might be able to get away with that hot pot that enables you to heat up miso soup, frozen vegetables, natural noodles and organic versions of cup-of-soup you can purchase at health food store. Make sandwiches with low-fat mayonnaise alternatives such as Just Mayo from Hampton Creek.
Bring a cutting board, knives, vegetable peelers and plastic bowls and spoons in a portable kitchen so you can make small meals in your room. If you are traveling by plane, airport security might not like your knife, so purchase cutlery when you’re on the ground after you voyage. For the environmentally conscious, find out where you can place your recyclable plastic cups and plates after using them.
Snacks for the Ride
Travel is fun and exciting for adults and kids, but represents a disruption in eating and sleeping schedules. This can be frustrating when trying to encourage all of your children to eat at the same time so you don’t have to worry about cries of, “I’m hungry” during sightseeing. It is essential that you bring along healthy snacks to avoid paying high prices for unhealthy convenience foods that you find along the way. Fun travel foods do double duty of feeding kids and keeping them entertained while spending hours in the car.
Make necklaces and bracelets by stringing healthy cereals with looped shapes and natural food coloring. Add exotic flair to your sandwiches by rolling them up like sushi. Cut off the crusts of the sliced bread, flatten the bread with your hands so it is pliable, add spreads and filling, but keep layers thin, and roll them up as you would sushi. Wet your fingers and press the seams to create a firm connection. Slice the roll sandwiches to even sections. The sushi style sandwich is appropriate for cream cheese, salmon and cucumber sandwiches and can also work with school favorites such as peanut butter and jelly.
You can always rely on cheese slices and vegetable pieces, but add creative touches to make food fun on the road. This is a situation when you really can tell your kids to play with their food, although make sure that the items are easy to clean. Create a variation on the Mr. Potato head theme, and let your kids create faces with eyes, hair, mouth and ears made out of cheese slices and vegetables or fruits Carve fruits and vegetables prior to traveling in unusual shapes or in the form of beautiful flowers. Old-fashioned snacks such as celery sticks stocked with peanut butter or cream cheese will also do nicely.
You don’t need to sacrifice healthy eating when you are on the road or staying in a motel or hotel. With a little planning and creative thought, you can provide your whole family with healthy meals you can prepare in your room and find snacks to eat in the car. Your kids may never miss fast food when they eat these creations.
© 2016, Tonya Prater. All rights reserved.