Taking food & snacks with you on a trip will help prevent those gas station impulse purchases and will save you lots of money in the long run. After all, would you rather buy a bag of chips for $2 at the store before your trip, or pay $4 for a bag of chips at a gas station while on your trip?
Packing travel snacks can also mean your family will eat more healthy snacks on the trip as well. Since most convenience snacks at gas stations are packed with sugar, carbs and preservatives, planning ahead and bringing your own snacks gives you a little more control over the types of foods your family will eat. Being a vacation I am less strict with the whole “healthy” rules and we tend to eat more junk foods than normal. But going too crazy could mean some upset tummy’s and other less desirable physical reactions.
Take a Cooler
Make room for a cooler. This will not only keep snacks cool and fresh, but it will give you the ability to take foods that need to be refrigerated such as yogurt, lunch meats, etc.
Because I absolutely hate having a cooler full of water after ice melts, we found that freezing a milk jug full of water worked great to keep everything cool! And as an extra bonus, when it does melt, you have drinking water! Other options we have done in the past when taking a smaller cooler were to put our ice in a gallon Ziploc bag.
What food to take
If you are taking a cooler your options are limited only by the foods your family will and wont eat. Make sure to take a variety of food groups, textures, flavors, and both ones that need to be in the cooler as well as ones that don’t require it.
Foods to take generally fall into 2 categories: Foods to buy & take, and Foods to make in advance. Here are some examples of each that we typically take with us.
Buy & take:
- Sandwiches- this could really fall into either category since you can make these in advance, or take all the ingredients to make them while on your trip. We have done it both ways.
- Cuties (small oranges)
- Fruit Snacks
- Chocolate (keep in mind this melts)
Make in advance
- Potato salad
- Pasta salad
- Chicken salad
- Rice Krispie Treats (I add M&M’s)
- Banana Bread
- Dip for fruits or veggies