SC Johnson Family Economics Blog
Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Packing Breakfast and Snacks for a Road Trip | Family Economics

By Tiffany

Summer is almost here and that often means climbing in the car for a road trip. You can save time, money and make things easier by packing food with you. We like to leave early in the morning when we have a long drive. In order to get out the door quickly, we skip eating breakfast at the house and take it with us. It gives the kids something to occupy their time in the car and is much cheaper than stopping at a restaurant down the road.

Here are some of the things that work well for us:

• The night before we leave I place a paper towel on the counter for each person, labeled with their name in marker. If there are any items that don’t require refrigeration (like granola bars), I place it on the paper towel. Items in the fridge get listed on the towel. That way, each person can tell at a glance what they need to grab on their way out the door. For younger kids, I designate an older sibling to help them or I grab that child’s breakfast.

• Bagels spread with cream cheese are a favorite travel breakfast for us. I make them up sandwich style, pop them in a baggie and label it with the name of the person. These get stacked in the fridge.

• Peanut butter sandwiches and granola bars also travel well and make a good breakfast.

• Fruits, like bananas, grapes, apples and oranges travel well.

• For drinks, I choose milk or juice boxes.  You might want to prepare travel cups or sippy cups with juice or milk the night before. My husband, oldest daughter and I bring coffee.

Snacking in the car helps pass time and keeps the kids from needing to stop for food. Other than at breakfast, we only drink water in the car. It’s healthier and doesn’t make a sticky mess if it spills. I like the 8 oz. water bottles, especially for kids. They can rarely finish a larger bottle before it gets too warm. 

Here are a few tips for packing snacks:

• Travel with a cooler and place it where everyone can reach it.

• I use small paper cups to serve snack cookies and crackers. It’s less expensive to buy a box of snacks than individually packed items. I also think the cups are easier to eat from than small bags.

• Grapes, baby carrots, cheese cubes or string cheese can be packed in the cooler. I pack all of these in zipper-topped plastic bags to keep the items dry on ice.

• Small lollipops are fun to eat in the car. The kids like to choose from the many flavors that come in a large bag of these. My husband even likes to eat them while driving. 

• Pack plastic grocery bags to gather up trash each time you stop.

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