It’s hard to anticipate all of the expenses you’ll endure on a family trip. So, wherever you can cut back and/or predict the costs, you may as well! On top of saving money, you can also eat healthier on the road with a bit of planning. Here is a top ten list of my favorite easy-to–transport, time-saving treats:
1. Dips: I love individually-sized Jif Peanut Butter! Perfect for crackers, apple slices or celery.
2. Granola: Make it or buy it; granola is as easy to transport as it is good for you. Add what you like! (Try out this tasty granola recipe. You can of course buy bagged granola or the time-tested favorite, granola bars.
3. Drinks: Super convenient are the single-serving “tubes” like Hawaiian Punch and Crystal Light. Nice change from straight water without the sugar and caffeine, and simple to add to water when you’re ready for it. Other drinks easy to travel with include individually-sized cans of V-8 and pineapple juice, Gatorade, Ensure or Pediasure, and anything in a box with a straw!
4. Nuts & Seeds: One of our local grocery stores started carrying “tubes” of shelled sunflower seeds in different flavors, and they even come with a pack of sunflower seeds to plant. The similar tubes of nuts are also totally convenient.
5. “100 Calorie Snacks”: These are everywhere! With travel in mind, I especially like the fact that the contents stay “fresh” rather than making a whole bag of snacks go stale. Plus, you can pick everyone’s favorites – mine has to be the miniature Grasshoppers cookies.
6. Fruit: I love the convenience of dried fruit. Along with raisins, of course, try mango, pineapple, and cranberries. But apples, bananas, diced melon, berries, and especially grapes are also easy to transport.
7. Salty Snacks: A trip with kids is complete without Goldfish! Wrapped sections of crackers, like Ritz and Club, are easy to pack too; just bring a zipper bag to hold on to the rest (that is, if you don’t finish them all in one shot).
8. Candy: It’s best to keep candies to a minimum, but you are on vacation, after all. Easy items to pack and eat on the road include marshmallows, licorice, Tootsie Rolls and gummy worms. And of course, pack some sugarless gum to keep ears from popping.
9. Jerky: Pack a little extra protein with one or more kinds of jerky. From individually-wrapped Slim Jims to teriyaki turkey jerky and even meatless, vegan Primal Strips jerky, pretty much everyone can find a version they like. (Pick up everyone’s favorites at the appropriately named Jerky.com.
10. Spoonable Treats: Great items that don’t need to be refrigerated include pudding, Jell-O, applesauce (so many flavors!), and canned fruit. (Don’t forget the spoons!)
No matter how far or where you’re headed, it’s a good idea to keep some simple supplies in the vehicle. For example, you can take a plastic grocery bag, and inside put a couple more grocery bags, various sizes of plastic zipper bags, plastic utensils, wet wipes, and napkins or paper towels.
(Photo of kids in the car is from Car & Caboodle, a neat site of reviews, news, and stories for families on the go.)