After the cold winter we just had in the south, the thought of spring—especially Spring Break—is a welcome distraction. Jumping in the car and hitting the road for what is likely a warmer locale certainly has its appeal.
Going on a long car ride with the family can be a fun adventure, despite frequent bathroom requests (after you just stopped) and passengers asking “Are we there yet?” an hour into the trip. One way I’ve found to ensure a smoother family trip and avoid “hanger” (hunger+anger) is to have plenty of healthy snacks for the ride.
Before any road trip, I pack an insulated lunch bag for each person. You could use one big cooler, but I find it easier to just hand out the lunch bags at the beginning of the trip and then each person is responsible for when they want to eat. That way, there aren’t special stops to access the food and the adult passenger doesn’t have to be turning around constantly to pass out snacks in the back seat.
I fill each insulated bag with baby carrots, ham or turkey roll-ups, cheese cubes, crackers, fruit and yogurt tubes I’ve frozen. I also like to include a homemade snack like my yogurt cereal bars, which can double as breakfast if I am leaving early in the morning.
I know what you’re thinking: “Who has time to cook before packing up the family?” The great thing about these bars is that they are easy to throw together and don’t require any baking. Also, having some extra snacks or a quick breakfast with me on the trip ensures I don’t have to go to the store immediately upon arrival.
Yogurt Cereal Bar Recipe (Yield: 12 Bars)
- 1/3 cup honey
- 4 tablespoons non-fat dry milk
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 2 cups granola
- 3 1/2 cups Cheerios
- 2 (5.3-ounce) containers fruit flavored Greek yogurt
- Line a 9×9-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
- Put the honey in a small bowl and microwave for about 30 seconds. Whisk in the dry milk a tablespoon at a time. Reheat mixture as needed in 15 second intervals to make it easier to combine. Stir in peanut butter.
- In a large bowl, combine the granola, Cheerios and peanut butter mixture. Spread mixture in the pan. Using your hands, press mixture down evenly all over. Put in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Spread Greek yogurt over the top of cereal bars and return to refrigerator to chill for at least another 30 minutes or longer. Cut into 12 bars and enjoy!
What are your favorite healthy snacks for road trips?
Anne Dunaway Teh, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD is the President of Dunaway Dietetics, Inc., a nutrition consulting business, and the Co-Founder of My Menu Pal, a menu planning website for busy families. Ann specializes in weight management, sports nutrition, recipe development and family nutrition.