By Toronto Nutritionist, Theresa Albert
Travelling with kids can be a challenge and each mode of transportation has its issues. Planes are restrictive, trains take a long time and cars are cramped. If I had my druthers I would choose the car every time because you can stop when you need to, have access to more stuff for amusement and can pack your own food easily. My mother had this thing mastered with three girls (yours truly, crazy car-sick) and a husband with a penchant for last minute road trips to Disney World.
Here are a few tips and tricks that ease longer haul car transit:
- Start the day with breakfast of fruit, yogurt and oatmeal. A semi full but not greasy stuffed tummy travels best.
- Bring a soft sided cooler filled with enough variety of beverages for the day.
- Always pack nuts (for kids over 2) and whole grain crackers for the car ride. Freeze dried fruits and vegetables are great too. All are filling, dry and crunchy which helps dispel some of the stress of sitting still. When you make a pit stop insist that everyone get out of the car, stretch their legs and use the loo. A quick game of tag in any open space will buy you more time in the car than it costs you at the stop.
- When you do stop for the day, find a grocery store. Use that now empty cooler to purchase mixed greens, low fat salad dressing, skim milk, cooked chicken pieces, natural peanut, pea or almond butter, low fat feta cheese and whole grain (low sodium) crackers and some fresh fruit. This is going to become your lunch picnic.
- If and when you do stop for dinner your best bet is to have grilled fish or chicken in restaurants. Set the rule that the kids cannot eat anything deep fried, period. It will force them to look a little harder at the menu for something they like.
- Say no to the bread basket. It is not your friend and if it is sitting right in front of the family, they will fill up on it, guaranteed.
- Make everyone drink water, dehydration stresses the body and sends the message of fatigue, and crankiness. Lemon wedges can help you get kids to drink water.
- Expect the unexpected. Some kids will get sick, some will have to pee constantly, and others will sleep all day in the car and be restless at night. Once you get to know what kind of traveler your child will be, you will know how to handle it better next time. (If there is a next time!)
About the Author:
Theresa Albert is a nutritionist and food communications consultant. Her Food Network show,Just One Bite! aired for 5 years on both Food Network and BBC Kids. She is currently a trusted on-camera correspondent for CTV Newschannel as well as CBC and regular health expert on the daily lifestyle show, Steven and Chris which airs internationally.
Named one of Canada’s Top 25 Tweeters by Today’s Parent Magazine and one of Savvymom.ca’s 35 Favorite Bloggers, she is called for comment from every major magazine, newspaper and television outlet in Canada. She has a weekly column in the Metro Newspaper and regularly writes features for Today’s Parent, Canadian Family Magazine and blogs at Huffington Post.