Saturday, 12 May 2012

Food advice for family car journeys

If you're going on a lengthy car journey, you're probably going to need to stop for toilet breaks, leg stretching and letting off steam. But, perhaps most importantly, you will need to think about what to eat on the way: food will not only keep the children in the back seat satisfied, it will break up the monotony of the journey too.

Decide beforehand whether you're going to stop at a restaurant/motorway services for lunch, or bring your own food and have a picnic en route.

If you have the time for a picnic, or if you plan to eat in the car without stopping, here are some tips about the sorts of food to bring on your journey.

Thirst quenchers

Canned drinks are not a good idea as they are easily spilled and often high in caffeine. Having an excitable child in the back of a car is not conducive to a relaxing journey!

Drinks with lids are a must for avoiding spillages. Water is ideal, but if your children find this unappealing, add a bit of squash beforehand. Alternatively, take fruit juice or low-sugar drinks in cartons - this allows you to regulate how much they drink so you can cut down on the number of toilet stops.

Snack away

Our recommendations for picnic-style family snacks are fuss-free and not too messy, so are particularly great for toddlers and young children.

1. Main food items

It is important to take food that will really fill you up, so take plenty of sandwiches, quiches and tarts. Other options, such as tortilla wraps or pitta pockets, are a less messy option for eating in the car and could make a pleasant change.

2. Healthy snacks

Dish out snacks gradually over the course of the journey, to stave off boredom, and reward good behaviour in the back seat. There are many healthy options, so snacking doesn’t have to mean sugar.

• Fruit – Berries, cherries and grapes are ideal and don’t leave much to put in the bin. For older children, take pre-cut pieces in a sealed Tupperware container with a plastic fork.

• Vegetable sticks – Celery, cucumber and carrot sticks are especially good for car journeys. Cherry tomatoes are tasty, but can squirt juice. For older children, add a dip if you fancy.

• Sticks of yoghurt – the types that comes in tubes, such as Petits Filous or Frubes Fromage Frais, are brilliantly mess-free.

Take a cool bag to keep your healthy snacks fresh, and make sure it is easy to reach in the car.

3. Dry snacks

• Pre-packed – Mini sausages, Peperami, and individually wrapped cheeses, such as Babybel, are great ready-to-eat snacks. Popcorn or breadsticks are also easy to eat on the move.

• Build your own – Give the children some oatcakes or rice cakes, with slice of cheese and ham, and let them build their own lunch.

• Dried fruits – kids often love mini packs, and don’t forget the sweet, yoghurt-coated varieties.

• Home-made – If you have the time, making your own food for the road can be a great idea. In particular, flapjacks, cakes and mini muffins will be a welcome sweet treat.

Eating on the move

Whether you’re taking a few nibbles or a meals worth of food, pack fresh food in disposable cling film or plastic bags, or leak-proof Tupperware. You can even reuse plastic takeaway boxes if you want to save a few pennies.

It’s a good idea to keep wet wipes and kitchen roll close by, in case of mucky hands and spillages.

A plastic carrier bag makes a handy bin for food leftovers and rubbish, and to wrap up dirty Tupperware.

Plastic cutlery and paper plates are also useful, especially if you’re stopping for a picnic. If you do stop, don’t forget the all important picnic blanket.

Making sure your family has enough food for the trip will take the stress out of your car journey. And having car insurance to suit your needs will also put your mind at ease.

Author Bio:

Tara Nathanson writes for Sainsbury’s Money Matters blog  on a range of topics including car insurance, car safety and other motoring topics. In her spare time she likes going to the cinema and doing yoga and Zumba classes, and at weekends she likes hanging out with her six-year-old son.

**This is a guest post I have accepted from Sainburys as part of being a member of their Family Blogger Network. I have received no payment or any other kind of remuneration for this article**


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