5. Be a good road (um, role) model!
“If mom and dad are eating Cracker Jack at the gas station, then you can’t expect your children not to want the processed stuff, too,” says Swanson. So, in addition to snack packs for them, pack something healthy to sustain you until you get to your destination. Besides, you’ll need your energy—for the trip back home.
Nutritious, road-friendly refreshments
What foods deserve prime packing space in the car? “Snacks based around whole foods are going to be healthier than processed snack foods,” says Rima Kleiner, M.S., a registered dietitian in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Choose carefully, however, to avoid choking hazards. Pea-sized pieces of food are best. Fruits and vegetables that snap into hard chunks, such as carrots, celery and fi rm apples, should be diced, shredded, or cooked and cut into small pieces. Peel softer produce items, like grapes, cherry tomatoes and soft apples, and cut them into small pieces. Shred meats and cheeses. Layer thick spreads like peanut butter very thinly. Unless a second adult is in the car to observe your tot, don’t drive while he snacks. It’s best to devote your full attention to your toddler when he is eating. “Just like a child can drown in minutes when a parent’s back is turned, so, too, can they choke,” says Marilyn Swanson, Ph.D., R.D. If you’re the driver and lone adult, stop and treat your little one to a healthy snack you’ve brought.
Next: What to bring