Eating on the Road Summer Edition

Posted by Michelle Anderson on

With summer hockey comes road trips.  I mean, with things opening up, I hope there’s lots of summer hockey to be had.  Anyway, I used to call summer “convenience store food season” because it seemed like we were eating a lot of meals on the road.  Many convenience stores have stepped up and have started offering healthier options, but I started getting sick of the same old slimy veggie sticks or flavorless turkey wraps.

Our usual routine for a road trip is to grab a drink and something to eat when we gas up before we hit the road.  When we leave in the morning, my drink is usually a coffee, but after my coffee, I want water.  I don’t like letting a bottle of water get warm while I’m drinking my coffee, so my solution to that has been to bring along my Yeti or Tervis tumbler, and fill it with ice.  I haven’t found a convenience store yet that hasn’t allowed me to fill my cup with ice from their fountain machine. When I’m ready to switch from coffee to water, the ice has melted just a bit, and I can pour my bottle of water in.

This little trick has also come in handy on longer trips when our cold drinks have gotten warm, and we don’t need to stop for gas or a potty break, so it doesn’t make sense to stop just to refresh our drinks.  The other bonus is that it helps me to drink more water in the hotel.  Since I have my favorite water cups with me, it’s easy to fill them with ice from the hotel ice machine when we hit the rink, and I don’t need to fill the hotel fridge with plastic bottles of water.  

Meals are a bit easier than snacks since many restaurants have also stepped up the healthy options, but those snacks are killer, especially for the kids.  They always seem to want the junk if they see it, so the trick there is not to let them even see it!  With a bit of planning, you can save yourself some cash and your sanity!

Here are a few ideas:

If you are bringing a cooler, you can make your own lunchables with cheese and lunch meat

Veggies and dips, bonus points for cutting them into shapes.  I mean, I’m not “Pinterest mom,” but we do what we have to do to get our kids to eat those veggies, right?  If fun shapes do it, I’m in.  You can do the same with fruit using yogurt as the dip.

Frozen grapes

String cheese

Drinkable yogurt 

Hard boiled eggs

Anything that doesn’t get eaten on the road can stay in the cooler or go in the hotel fridge to snack on over the weekend

If you don’t want to bring a cooler, you still have options.  

We’ll start with the “Pinterest mom” version and just get that out of the way.  If you pick up a small beading or craft container or one of those flat fishing tackle boxes, you can put different snacks in each compartment.  For example, pretzels, nuts, fishy crackers, raisins, dried fruit, fruit snacks, etc.  Kids love it because it’s special for road trips, and they can have pretzels if they’re craving something salty or fruit snacks if they’re craving something sweet, or they can put together wacky combinations.  Those cute bento boxes work as well.  You could also just use a lunchbox or even a paper gift bag.  With the gift bag option, you could include a new coloring book or coloring pages you print from the internet and crayons to keep them occupied when they aren’t snacking, and then the gift bag can serve as a trash receptacle.






Fruit snacks

Trail mix



Dry cereal

Homemade treats like brownies or Rice Krispie treats or cookies

And while I normally skip the individually packaged stuff in favor of buying bulk and repackaging myself, for road trips, sometimes it’s just plain easier to buy the individual ones for the trip, though if your kiddo often needs help opening packages, you might be better off repackaging into kid-friendly containers, and repackaging ahead of time helps cut down on the trash in the car.

And one last tip for the kiddos is to allow water only for their drink.  With juice or soda, they tend to want to slam it which means more stops for potty breaks.  Water keeps them satisfied and minimizes stops for the restroom.

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