Save money with these five tips on eating as a family on the road.
Most of our favorite family vacations include road trips. It’s a family tradition to search for fun and new destinations. Since moving to Texas, we have enjoyed road trips within our state! Some Texas cities are real hidden gems. Columbus and Palestine are among our favorites! We love that each Texan town has its own culture and history. You can find a treasure trove of spots for fun photos and activities. Here are tips for eating as a family on the road.
One of the highlights for us is finding cool places along the way to stop to eat amazing and delicious food. We like to support family-owned businesses that use fresh ingredients from local farmers.
Top 5 Tips For Eating As A Family On The Road
I’ve been road tripping solo with kids in tow and dietary restrictions for a long time, and I assure you it’s possible to keep your sanity, eat well, and stay safe while traveling and going on road trips!
1. Pack Food Supplies
One way to keep your stress down and limit stops is to pack everything you’ll need before a long road trip.
Unexpected shopping trips can cause undue anxiety, and you don’t know for sure what will or won’t be in stock along the road.
Some of our essentials for eating on the road are:
- Sturdy disposable plates, cups, spoons, forks, and knives
- A few dinner knives
- Napkins, paper towels, and food storage bags
- Baby wipes and disinfectant wipes
- Cutting board
2. Bring Snacks For The Car Ride
Finger foods are the easiest and most convenient to pack, especially crumb-free ones.
Our favorite options include granola bars, fruits that don’t spoil quickly, apple sauce, instant oatmeal, and pita chips.
We usually bring plenty of water bottles, juice, or our choice of non-dairy milk in a cooler, and I suggest you bring your own to keep your food and drinks fresh and cold.
3. Road Trip Container Snack Sanity Savers
There are three things to try to avoid when eating as a family on the road:
- The chaotic mess in the car
- Kids eating too much food too fast
- Slow eaters not getting enough food
These are some creative ways to keep your road trips mess-free:
1. Fishing Tackle Boxes Used For Snacks
We don’t fish but use fishing box containers for our snacks. They work great to ration out the snacks we bring into the car. This allows me to buy wholesale rather than shopping for expensive little snack boxes or mini bags, like raisins, nuts, or dried fruit.
2. Bathroom Organizers Used For Snacks
There are very cute colorful shower caddies with just the right amount of space for a water bottle, fruit, and a variety of snacks, to ensure that everyone gets their fair share.
Food prep surfaces: A simple picnic blanket can make eating on the road special. Lap desks can serve as food trays, and if you’re going to a beach or lake destination, you can use your folding chairs and table for eating together.
Tiny trash cans: Having a designated trash can for each kid helps them take ownership of keeping the car interior neat.
Snack schedule: I am not what you call a “planner,” but I like to keep our eating schedule consistent when we go on the road.
Knowing when they’ll have a snack will keep kids from whining and complaining about being hungry.
4. Cooking On The Road
Let’s be honest! Packing fancy, elaborate meals isn’t sustainable for most road trips.
We usually cook a large batch of rice or quinoa for shorter trips to refrigerate and eat gradually.
Some go-to road fast-prep foods are bread, pita pockets, tortillas, naan bread, hummus, avocados, tomatoes, and whatever you like to put on wraps, sandwiches, and tacos. Make it fun!
We have a “miracle” electric skillet that we plug in to make our favorite easy recipes.
If you have an electric cooking piece, like a crockpot or instant pot, you can bring it with you, so you don’t have to skip warm meals and save time and money.
Otherwise, make funny sandwiches for the kiddos like the above photo – they’ll love it!!
5. Take Out And Dine In Safety
Whether we think about it or not, we’re always putting ourselves at risk when we leave home, and it’s a great time to teach our kids to be aware of that.
Deciding on general safety rules before leaving home can keep the conversation conscious, calm, and comfortable, better than reacting in panic and instilling fear.
Thankfully, there are many drive-through and curbside restaurant services with healthy options.
We will sometimes indulge in a take-out vegan pizza, park the car, and eat right out of the box. We still make it a family meal experience by cranking up the music or putting on a favorite show on one of our laptops to have a pizza party. Not to mention the delicious smell of pizza filling the car.
Road Trips Are Meant To Be Fun
Your attitude as a mom will set the stage for the journey, so help them focus on the joy of being together and the beauty of this experience.
I suggest involving your kids as much as possible in everything from planning to packing. You’d be surprised at all the incredible ideas your children can come up with regarding food!