Gold Coast Explorer since Jan 2010. Always on the lookout for fun, family things to enjoy with my four kids.
Published September 25th 2012
Image courtesy of journals.worldnomads.com
I don't know what it is about a long drive that makes you feel like eating. Half an hour on the road and everyone's asking for snacks. I guess it's like air travel - too much sitting around, so eating is a way of doing something. In the pre holiday rush it's very easy to just toss in chips and lollies for the journey. Now, I love chewy mints as much as the next person in a car, don't get me wrong, but the feeling after pigging out on lots of sweet stuff isn't so great. Also, kids cooped up in a car on a sugar high are not good for the driver's nerves or mood.
So what's the alternative? If you want to steer clear of too much junk food, then try some of these healthier options. In South Africa, we always took biltong for our padkos ("South African snacks and provisions for a journey" Freedictionary.com). The Australian counterpart is beef jerky. We are talking about dry strips of meat, which does nothing for me, but my husband and kids love it. Pre packed, it keeps for later in the holiday too (if it lasts that long).
Other snacks that travel well are dried fruit (try Aldi's Turkish Apricots) and nuts. A trail mix in a zip lock bag will keep in the glove box. Bag up some raisins or buy the little red boxes from Coles. You can also pack portion-sized bags of breakfast cereal, like Cheerios. Crackers are also good. You could carry cheese triangles to eat with them.
If you have a larger sized family, road food can eat into your holiday budget, so save your money for activities and pack for the road before you leave. Take lunchboxes or use one big cooler and prepare: carrot sticks, fresh fruit (an apple or satsuma) or a small tub of pasta salad, with balsamic vinegar to pour on. Freeze juice boxes or yogurts to use as ice bricks.
Water is probably the best drink. Give all your passengers their own metal drink bottle, which can be refilled at your stops. I prefer water, not just because it's a good thirst quencher but, with kids, it's inevitable that there will be spills and leaks. So save adding to your washing while you are away and spoiling your car seats and stick to water – it they spill, it dries.
If you stop for an ice cream treat, try and stop near an open space like a park, so young ones can run around. Many highway petrol stations in South Africa had trampolines in a kid's area, which made for a good family stop. They were a great energy burner and staved off the endless "are we there yet?" for a bit longer.
Image courtesy of The Flintstones
So what are your favourite road trip munchies? With holidays upon us, share your best travelling snacks.