We hit the road this weekend and I needed good, non GMO, healthy snacks for toddlers for our road trip. It is one way we survive being trapped in the same car for hours on end. First I hit the protein bar aisle at Kroger, grabbing some Clif bars and non GMO Nature’s Bakery Fig bars (delish!!) for me and my husband. I also cleared snacks out of our pantry- you never know what you’re gonna find in there!
Then I hit the baby aisle, to get snacks for toddlers. Normally, this isn’t an aisle I visit often (I don’t hit the protein bar aisle much either), but, like I said. Survival. Gerber has these new bean-based, puff-like snacks. They’re made from navy beans, with 2 grams of protein, 1 gram of fiber, and 10% daily value of Vitamin E per serving. And they’re NOT made with genetically engineered ingredients.
When we left the house this weekend, we had three meltdowns before we ever even left the driveway. THREE. Between running back into the house for things we forgot, to locating and entering the address in our GPS, our kids had already lost their…crap by the time we were backing out of the drive. Mommy may have lost it as well…
(I should have just broke out the Lil’ Beanies right away, but was hoping to hold out a little bit at least!)
Here are some of my family’s tips for surviving long car trips:
- Pack lots of snacks!! The least messy, the better! My kids love things like low-sugar, organic cereal or Annie’s organic bunnies poured out into their little snack cups, organic suckers, and now, Gerber’s new Lil’ Beanies!
- For longer trips, pack a small cooler with cheese sticks and juice boxes or shelf stable milk boxes (just in case- I take no risks with milk! Bleh!). We bring a lunch bag small enough to fit in the front seat with me, so I can control the snack-age going on. 😉 PBJ’s are a good idea, too. It is my kids favorite meal, and they would eat it three times a day if I let them.
- Try audio books. My girls only have one, but they absolutely love it. It is called, “The Napping House” and has really soothing music in addition to the rendition of the story. It just might put your kids to sleep! (Not mine, unfortunately.)
- Play kids music. I always said I would never be that mom blaring Veggie Tales for hours on end, but things change. Now I do whatever the heck will keep them happy! I have a playlist on my iPod just for the kids. I occasionally borrow kids library cds to download to my iPod, or get new songs from Freegal. It is a national program offered by libraries, so go to your library’s website and see the program is available in your area. You get 5 free downloads per library card per week!
- Pack a backpack full of toys. We bring our little Skip Hop owl toddler backpack and it’s the perfect size. I usually let my kids pick a favorite toy or two, then I pack the rest with things I think will actually occupy them (You just never know, though! That’s why I let them pick a thing or two as well!). Stickers and paper worked well on our last trip- it takes up literally no room and gets thrown away when they’re done. My kids like looking out the window with their Melissa and Doug binoculars, or playing with a flashlight when it gets dark- as long as they don’t shine it out the window, Daddy says.
- Bring a blanket and cuddly animal or doll. Cuddling makes my kids happy. And even if it’s 90 degrees out, you can always crank up the air conditioning! We like the Aden and Anais swaddle blankets, because they’re made out of such light material. Plus, they make great capes, and you can play peek-a-boo with them!
- Play games like ‘I Spy’ or ‘who can find the first’…whatever you think of.
- Tell stories. Every kid likes to hear stories about when they were little.
The most important tip, however, is never let your kids get hungry! Snacks for toddlers are a must (and snacks for mom, too, if we’re being honest. Because mom has meltdowns too.)!
Our recent trip to the Cincinnati Zoo on Spring Break fell apart around lunchtime because I’d neglected to pack snacks (thinking we would treat the kids to lunch). But the restaurant and snack lines were miles long, and there no available tables or even benches left to sit at. We tried to put off lunch (since this now meant leaving the zoo to forage for food), and push through the rest of the exhibits. But my four year old languished in her stroller like a limp rag. My husband excitedly pointed out to her, “Look! Look, there’s a white tiger!”. She replied in a dull voice, “We’ve already seen that.”. I told her, “No, this is a different kind of tiger! This one is white, with stripes!!”. Laying back in her stroller, barely blinking an eye, she insisted, “I said we already saw that! I don’t wanna see any more!”. At this point I begged my husband to let us leave the zoo so we could eat lunch.
So whether you’re in the car, at the zoo or a state park, remember snacks are imperative!!
Driving to Alabama this past weekend took us 5 1/2 hours. Obviously, our kids couldn’t eat snacks the entire time, but when I brought out the Lil Beanies, those were some happy, quiet, munching girls! The snacks come in Original & White cheddar & broccoli. And they look great at this scenic overlook in Monte Sano State Park in Alabama. 😉
Thanks to Gerber for sponsoring this post! #GerberWinWin