The road trip is a way of life for parents with children. Whether you are planning a trip across the country or a day trip across your county, pack a cooler for snacks and light meals. Not only will you save money, the payout is really in happier and more content kids. The last thing any parent wants is a child in the car loaded up on sugar or bloated on fast food meals. While you can pack any number of snacks that do not have to be cooled down, be sure to pack a cooler or two to make any road trip full of optimum high protein meals that will keep both kids and parents satisfied.
Deli Meats in the Cooler
Have ham, turkey and roast beef shaved into very thin slices at your favorite deli before you leave. To pack in the cooler, roll each slice length wise into rolls and pack in an air-tight, waterproof plastic container. You could also have Swiss cheese sliced thinly as well and either roll the cheese with the meat or roll separately.
Healthy Drinks in the Cooler
It is a road trip, after all, and drinks need to be a little fun. Avoid sugary drinks at all costs. Before your trip, save and clean water bottles. Fill these with tea or light drink mixes. For healthier drink mixes, always double the amount of water that is indicated on the package. Lemonade made in this fashion will quench the thirst of kids even on the hottest day of the year.
Be sure to pack some mineral waters and some of the popular vitamin enriched waters. The point is to pack a variety of drinks and give kids a choice. If you only pack plain water, they will tire of it and you will find yourself pulling into a drive thru or raiding a convenience store. If you cannot pack all the drinks in the cooler, pack a variety and leave the rest out of the cooler. When you remove a drink, immediately plunge a replacement in the ice.
Fruits and Veggies Pack Well for Road Trips
Take the time to pre-pack sliced vegetables and fruits for a road trip and you will be glad you did. Healthy and fresh produce is often hard to find at times when traveling. Again, use airtight containers and pack iceberg lettuce, bell pepper strips, and red onion rings. Pack tomatoes whole and slice as you use them. Celery sticks and baby carrots pack well and can be eaten with cold ranch dressing. Broccoli also packs well.
Certain fruits pack better on road trips than others. Oranges, apples and grapes are all road friendly fruits. Bananas are a great nutritional snack, but if you are going to be on the road for several days, eat the bananas first and save the other fruits for later in the trip.
Other Items for the Road Trip Cooler
Other healthy items to pack in the road trip cooler are foods that appeal to children. Hard boil eggs, peel and then store in an airtight cooler before leaving. Pack kosher dill pickles, pickle relish and a variety of olives in containers for great snacks. Cubed Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheeses are great items for the cooler. Be sure to pack favorite condiments in small containers such as mayonnaise and mustard. Pack soft cream cheese so it can easily be spread on whole wheat bagels and crackers. Pack a butter and canola spread to use on bread.
If you are traveling for quite a few days, replenish the ice and drain the water as needed. If packing two coolers, use different colors and know exactly what is in each cooler. Use a laundry basket to pack items that do not need to be kept cool in the cooler, such as whole wheat breads, bagels, crackers and whole grain chips. A laundry basket provides an ability to locate items swiftly. This is also a perfect place to pack paper products and plastic utensils.
Be sure to pack a couple of quilts or blankets in case you have to cover a picnic table or even eat on the ground. Packing a cooler and other necessities will keep kids healthy and satisfied on a road trip without breaking the bank.