Travelling with kids can be a challenge and each mode of transportation has its issues. Planes are restrictive, trains take a long time and cars are cramped. If I had my druthers I would choose the car every time because you can stop when you need to, have access to more stuff for amusement and can pack your own food easily. My mother had this mastered with three girls and a husband with a penchant for last minute road trips to Disney World.
Here are a few tips and tricks that ease longer haul car transit:
- Start the day with breakfast of fruit, yogurt and oatmeal. A semi full but not greasy stuffed tummy travels best.
- Bring a soft sided cooler filled with enough variety of beverages for the day.
- Always pack nuts (for kids over 2) and whole grain crackers for the car ride. They are filling, dry and crunchy which helps dispel some of the stress of sitting still. (The attached homemade non nut- “nut-ella” travels well)
- When you make a pit stop insist that everyone get out of the car and stretch their legs and use the loo. A quick game of tag in any open space will buy you more time in the car than it costs you in the long run.
- When you do stop for the day, find a grocery store. Use that now empty cooler to purchase mixed greens, low fat salad dressing, skim milk, cooked chicken pieces, natural peanut butter, low fat feta cheese and unsalted nuts, whole grain (low sodium) crackers and some fresh fruit. This is going to become your lunch picnic.
- If and when you do stop for dinner your best bet is to have grilled fish in restaurants, not deep fried! Skip the rice and potatoes, they are almost always white and ask for extra steamed veg. Set the rule that the kids cannot eat anything deep fried, period. It will force them to look a little harder at the menu for something they like.
- Say no to the bread basket. It is not your friend and if it is sitting right in front of the family, they will fill up on it, guaranteed.
- Make everyone drink water, dehydration stresses the body and sends the message of fatigue, and crankiness. Lemon wedges can help you get kids to drink water.
- Expect the unexpected. Some kids will get sick, some will have to pee constantly, another will sleep all day in the car and be restless at night. Once you get to know what kind of traveler your child will be, you will know how to handle it better next time. (If there is a next time!)
Chocolate Hemp Seed Spread
Hemp seeds are an excellent source of non-nut, non animal protein that are easily found in health food and grocery stores. A quick whiz in a mini chopper nets you a smooth, chocolate-y spread or dip that you can feel good about and the kids will love.
Recipe By: Theresa Albert, DHN, RNCP
Serving Size: 12
Preparation Time: 2 minutes
- 1/2 cup hulled hemp seeds
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- water — as needed
In a mini food processor whiz hemp seeds with cocoa powder to combine and puree. Add Maple syrup and cinnamon and blend thoroughly. Add just enough water to make a paste or to thin to a fruit dip.