Most of our favorite family vacations include road trips. It’s a family tradition to hit the road in search of fun and new destinations.
Since we moved to Texas, we really enjoy road trips within our very own state! Some Texas cities are real hidden gems. Columbus and Palestine are among our favorites!
What we love most is that each Texan city has its own culture and history. You can find a treasure trove of spots for fun photos and activities.
One of the highlights for us is finding cool places along the way to stop to eat unique and delicious food. We like to support family owned businesses that use fresh ingredients from local farmers.
This year, most of our travel plans have changed, but it doesn’t have to take your summer fun away!
My Top 5 Tips For Eating As A Family On The Road
I’ve been road tripping solo with kids in tow and dietary restrictions, and I assure you it’s possible to keep your sanity, eat well, and stay safe while traveling and going on a road trip!
Pack Food Supplies
One way to keep your stress down and limit stops is to pack everything you’ll need before a several hour 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
Bring Snacks For The Car Ride
Finger foods are the easiest to pack and the most convenient, especially those which are crumb-free.
Some of our favorite options include granola bars, fruits that don’t easily spoil, 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.
Road Trip Snack Sanity Savers
There are 3 things I really dislike about 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 our road trips mess-free:
Fishing tackle boxes: We don’t fish, but these containers 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.
Bathroom organizers: There are very cute colorful shower caddies that have 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, as well.
Tiny trash cans: Having a designated trash can for each kid helps them take ownership for 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.
Cooking On The Road
Let’s be real! Packing fancy, elaborate meals isn’t really sustainable for most road trips.
For shorter trips, we usually cook a large batch of rice or quinoa to refrigerate and eat gradually.
Some go-to road fast-prep foods are bread, pita pockets, tortillas, or naan bread, along with hummus, avocados, tomatoes, and whatever you like to put on wraps, sandwiches, and tacos.
We have a “miracle” electric skillet that we just plug in to make our favorite easy recipes.
If you have an electric cooking piece, like a crock pot or instant pot, you can bring it with you, so you don’t have to skip warm meals and can save time and money.
Because some rest areas may be closed, check interstateareas.com before planning your stop. Remember to pay attention to hygiene.
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, which is 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 a favorite show on one of our laptops to have our own pizza party. Not to mention, the delicious smell of pizza filling the car. Mmmmm mmm mm.
If you decide to eat in, call ahead of time and make sure it’s a reputable spot that focuses on safety. Wear masks, distance yourself, use disposable gloves and hand sanitizer, and keep your interaction with others and touching common surfaces to a minimum.
Yes, Road Trips Can Still Be Fun
Even though road trips won’t be the same right now, it doesn’t mean they have to be any less magical for your family.
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 together.
I suggest involving them 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 when it comes to food!
What tips do you have for eating as a family on the road? I look forward to your ideas!