Thursday, October 19, 2023

Travel Snack Prep


It's getting close to travel season and with traveling comes trying to keep the kids happy while you or your spouse is driving.  One way to help keep them happy is to keep them fed.  Let's be honest a fed kiddo is a happy kiddo.  

We went on a long trip this summer to see family in Indiana, for the most part my girls travel well, they've just always had to travel so that helps, but this was going to be a long trip.  So I prepared snack bags for the trip to and from (honestly, who wants to pack snack bags leaving your trip).  That was my best decision, it made packing to come home so much easier! So anyways, here is my how-to on prepping snacks for a long trip or any trip for that matter!

1. Make a schedule - 

Below are my schedules for there and home of our trip this summer.  These are the real scratch lists. They don't need to be pretty, just something that you can reference as you go.  Those longer trips can be harder to keep track of what everyone ate when, this really helped me.  Now, honestly did I follow this schedule like it was set in stone, did we not buy Cheetos at the gas station at one point, no.  Things changed, we had lots of rain, the schedule got bumped up a bit here and there, BUT, I was able to have a guideline to follow, I had a roadmap per say to help me. It was nice to have a reference of what we'd had or had available as we went.  

2. Make a list of snack options - 

I wanted to make sure that even though we were traveling, we were able to get some healthy snacks in along with some treats.  While treats are fun and exciting, it's those healthy snacks that keep everyone sane as well.  Snack ideas: cheese sticks, carrots, applesauce pouches, various cracker snacks, fruit strips, fruit snacks and raisins.

Repacking your own snacks is where you can save some money. Cheese sticks, raisins, and any of the cracker snacks are really easy to prepackage yourself instead of paying for them to be prepackaged.  

  • Cheese sticks: you can easily buy a large block of cheese and cut your own, throw in a cooler bag and voila your own cheese sticks for cheaper.  Check out my post here: Cheese Sticks for more details. 
  • Raisins: Yes it's fun to have your own individual box, but if you buy the large container you can pour your own individual baggies full.  You can also mix in some peanuts or cashews too if you are able. 
  • Cracker snacks: So first of all our youngest is gluten free, so she needs her own individual cracker snacks.  Also, if your house is anything like mine, no one likes the same snacks, so I just grab a few larger containers of the snacks we usually eat and divide up smaller baggies of them for each kiddo.  It beats spending more for the prepackaged + spending even more, because we all want different prepackaged snack bags. 

3Purchase the items needed 

Now that you know what all you want, it's easier to buy your snacks. It's really easy to go shopping and then get a bunch of items because you didn't plan ahead and end up with more than you need or items you weren't planning on.  Also, now that you know what snacks you are planning on saving with making your own, you can pick a few fun items too.  For example, yes it would be cheaper to buy applesauce and use my reusable pouches; however for the 12 hour drive it was not feasible to try and do, and honestly I didn't want to balance that.  So for this trip I saved on the cracker snacks and bought applesauce pouches.  We also bought fruit snacks and fruit strips as a fun treat. Things we don't have often, so it makes it fun.  You'll also note I had cereal listed as the first snack.  For this particular trip we took off early, so I let my girls pick ONE special box of cereal to share.  I then poured it into baggies for them.  Again a special treat, but we limited that one to one option and they only got the one bag full.  

4. Gather all your supplies, label and start packing 

Now, with all these different snacks I'm collecting, I do use our reusable baggies as much as possible.  I don't have any fancy ones we got ours from Walmart.  They work well, except the zipper sticks after I use them in the freezer, so if you are in the market for them make sure they are freezer safe.

Anyways, back to gathering your supplies.  I did use regular ziplock bags to hold all the snacks, because I wanted to write on them with Sharpie each kiddos name and either "THERE" or "HOME",  so I knew what bags were for when.  

Then I loaded each bag up.  I started with my schedule and figured out how many fruit strips I'd need for there, then put them in each kiddo's larger bag, then I did the same for the fruit snacks, applesauce pouches and raisins.  Then I took the cracker snacks and decided how many times we'd need a cracker snack and made up their individual bags of their cracker snacks choices and put those in their larger bag.  Then I repeated the process for the the trip home.  Again, seriously, this was my best decision, BECAUSE, I was having too much fun hanging out to want to pack like this while there the night before we came home.  And that worked out great, because it was already done.  

The cooler items, like the carrots, cheese sticks or other veggies I packed the morning of. I got them ready, carrots in one bag, cheese sticks in another, etc.  But, then packed them in the cooler in the morning.  

When I loaded our larger snack bag, I made sure the "HOME" bags were on the bottom and the "THERE" bags were on top. Then I didn't have to dig so much.  

5. Tips & Tricks I learned after 14 hours on the road: 

  1. Pack few extra snacks - you never know what might happen, pouring rain FOREVER or just extra hungry i.e. bored kiddos. I had a bag at the bottom that was leftover items we got; applesauce pouches, fruit snacks, fruit strips and we used a few of them. 
  2. Snack/hour - really even if you don't end up having a snack that often, if you are going for a longer trip plan snack/hour. 
  3. Have those fun snacks intermixed. Whatever is a fun snack for your household, us it's the fruit snacks and fruit strips.  I made sure to have those a few times for our long trip.
So if you are traveling for 5 hours or 20, I hope you find something here that you can use to help make that trip a little less costly, but still being able to have some good snacks along the way.   

Blessings on your upcoming travels 


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