The first long weekend of the summer season is almost here, and with that comes the start of the great pilgrimage up north to cottages, campsites, and the great outdoors. Whoever said, "it is not the destination, but the journey that matters," obviously never crawled up Highway 400 for four hours on a Friday afternoon.
While you may not be able to avoid the stop and go of bumper to bumper traffic, you can avoid the need to stop for greasy service centre fare with some healthy snacks that pack up fast and travel well.
- Flavoured Water -- Skip the sugary soda and make your own flavoured water. Toss slices of lemons, limes, cucumber or mint into mason jars and fill with ice and water. Dehydration can cause headaches and fatigue and you want to arrive feeling great and well-watered, especially if a few adult beverages are in store for you when you finally get to your destination.
- DIY Trail Mix -- a lot store bought trail mixes are full of added sugars and preservatives, but this simple snack takes nothing more than throwing together your favourite nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and maybe some chocolate. Full of fibre and healthy fats a handful or two will keep blood sugars balanced and cravings at bay as you trek out of the city and into nature. Try adding roasted cashews, pumpkin seeds, flaked coconut, dried apricots and chopped dark chocolate for a delicious combination.
- Homemade Fruit Rollups -- with the bounty of berries in the summer months it can sometimes get a bit overwhelming to eat them all before they turn to mush. Waste not want not and try making this blast from the past snack to take with you on the road.
- Healthy Cookies -- Who doesn't love a good cookie, especially one that is full of healthy ingredients that will keep your tummy from rumbling? A good go-to strategy if the traffic situation has pushed dinner back later than usual. Below is one of my favourite recipes, and with no added sugars or sweeteners it's OK to eat your dessert before dinner.
Safe & happy travels.
Healthy Road Trip Cookies
Recipe adapted from 101 cookbooks
3 x ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 coconut oil, melted
2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cups almond meal
1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 dark chocolate bar, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350° F
2. In a large bowl, combine bananas, vanilla and coconut oil
3. In another bowl combine oats, almond meal, shredded coconut, pumpkin seeds, salt and baking powder.
4. Add oat mixture to banana mixture and mix until just combined. Dough will be looser than normal cookie dough.
5. Fold in dark chocolate
6. Drop cookies onto parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 14 minutes
Although sometimes the object of a road trip is to get from A to B as quickly as possible, it's those stops along the way that the kids will remember. Keep in mind -- it's the journey, not the destination! An afternoon -- or even an hour -- at a waterpark after a morning of driving will rejuvenate kids, and make great memories. Not to mention, maybe tucker them out for a few hours after!
Especially with really little ones, a bit of time to stretch their legs and get some fresh air will do wonders. You want to make sure that kids get the opportunity to play, or they will dread long, read: boring, drives in the future. Plus, a break from gridlock will do you good, too!
Though frequent stops might be necessary for little bladders, it's not necessary to purchase fast food each time. This will only lead to upset stomachs and MORE bathroom breaks. Plan a few fun restaurant stops along the way, and tell the kids about them -- this will give the trip structure. Other than that, pack some healthy and filling snacks to keep the kids satisfied.
While there may not be space for a bedroom full of toys, allow for a few exceptions -- it will pay off in the long run. There's nothing like the comfort of a cherished stuffed animal, or blankie to help a child fall asleep, or sit in peace.
Many family vans have DVD players installed already, and that's lucky. Be sure to download the kids' favourite films before you leave (and if their tastes differ, choices from both camps, and a few overlappers). But DVDs can also be accompanied by headphones -- and that's a treat for you!
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