Healthy Road Food for Kids Starts with Bringing a Cup: Tips for a Well-Balanced Road Trip

After travelling back and forth on various road trips with the kids over the years, I’ve discovered that the key utensil for healthy car eating is the road cup.  Yes, it’s that simple.

road fruit cupI now always travel with a set of reusable, stackable plastic cups, enough for each passenger in the car (or plane or train).  It makes life so much easier.  The cup is perfect for holding a decent amount of food, managing portion control and has the flexibility of sharing lots of small, healthy bits, without hands flying everywhere and food all over the ground.

Depending on how long of a trip, the kids seem to be hungry practically every hour or 150 km (how is it possible to get that hungry just sitting there?).  This can add up to a lot of calories and junk food, if you’re not careful.  For those long rides, pass out the nutritious treats like a layered cake – just one or two things at a time so they don’t get bored of any one snack, plus you can control the timing and amounts of each layer.

road veggie cupAs an opening strategy, since I’m the one in the passenger’s seat, doling out the snacks, I always start with the cup-o-veggies first.  Like in any meal (even the well-balanced road trip meal), they’re always the toughest sell.  But when you start with the veggies, it gets them out of the way, the kids are at their hungriest so they will complain the least, and, they know that they need to get through that first cup, before they get to the other good stuff.  After this first course, you can relax.  The other snacks can be distributed in almost any order because you know they will get eaten.

The secret to a healthy road trip, and really, any good trip, is just a little prep before you go.  Thinking ahead and doing a little chopping beforehand will go a long way.  Here are some healthy snack ideas that are great for the road, as long as you have that cup:


  • Baby carrots
  • Cut cucumbers, red peppers or celery
  • Hummus for dipping – also good for protein and fiber (bring a spoon for scooping)


  • Berries
  • Apple or peach slices
  • Cut pineapple or melon


  • Cheese strings

Note:  If you’re travelling for more than an hour or so, make sure to keep perishables cold with an ice pack.

Healthy Snack Foods

  • Popcorn
  • Goldfish crackers
  • Pretzels
  • Raisins, dried mangoes or other 100% fruit snacks
  • Nuts


  • Water!!!!

You don’t need to get fancy.  Everyone could use more water to keep hydrated, it won’t spoil, has no sugar or calories and, unlike juice or soft drinks, the kids likely won’t drink it so fast that you have to pull over for pee stops every half hour.  I love the Thermos insulated, stainless steel water bottles.  Add a couple of ice cubes and the water stays cool and refreshing for hours.

Enjoy the ride.


The Delicious Versatility of Avocados That Kids Love

A friend of mine once described avocados as “nature’s mayonnaise”.  I’ve never forgotten it because I strongly believe this to be true.  The melt-in-your mouth, creamy texture of that little fruit can add so much flavor to even the most mundane of dishes.

My kids are strong advocates, too, and like it in almost anything – an easy victory in the healthy eating front.  Try some of their favorites with your family:

• In salads.  Cut into cubes and added on top.  It helps make the greens go down way easier.

•  In sandwiches.  Add slices to any sandwich, hot or cold.  Especially on chicken or turkey.  Wow.

• On whole wheat toast.  So simple but so delicious.  Restaurants have started serving this at fancy brunches but you can easily do it at home for a fraction of the price.  If you want some restaurant pizzazz, add a dash of kosher salt and a squirt of lime juice on top.

• In wraps.  The kids love it in any form of taco, burrito, quesadilla or sandwich wrap.  In slices or as guacamole.

• In sushi rolls (maki).  Find them at restaurants, make them at home or buy them at the grocery store – they’ve become so much more accessible.

• On it’s own.  Sometimes I just cut an avocado in half, take the pit out and give the kids spoons to scoop it out.  It’s easy for me and fun for them to do themselves.

The only trick to the avocado is that you are at the mercy of when it’s ripe. Leave it out on the counter to ripen.  It should have a little give when you squeeze it gently.  If it’s too hard, it will taste chalky and gross.  Too soft and it may be brown and moldy-tasting.  You have a day or two to use it at its peek.  Or put it in the fridge after its ripe to preserve for an extra day or so.

It sounds trickier than it is.  You can quickly learn the primetime of an avocado.  And it’s definitely worth the small effort.

Chicken Taco with Homemade Guacamole



A Healthy Alternative to the Delicious Breakfast Sandwich

Ok, who doesn’t enjoy that delicious little breakfast sandwich from the nearest fast food place?  Kids and parents alike love that tasty, greasy bite of heaven.  But in the time it takes you to walk/drive to the nearest restaurant, wait in line, pay and get your sandwiches, you could have easily made and eaten a healthier version that both your wallet and waistline would appreciate.

With a little foresight into having these common ingredients in your kitchen, this should take you a max of 10 minutes to make.  Plus, you can indulge more often and not feel guilty about all the extra fat and calories if you exchange a few healthy alternatives to the classic.

Start by toasting and slightly buttering whole wheat English muffins.  Fry up an egg – this is the most labor-intensive part, which should still only take about 3 minutes.   Add fried egg to the English muffin.  Top with baby spinach, your favorite light cheese (like fat-reduced cheddar, Colby or Havarti) and tomato and/or avocado slices.  Done.  Easy, fast, has all the major food groups and the kids love it.

Have an extra few minutes and want to indulge more?  Buy frozen, ready-made potato hash browns and pop them in the oven, as directed.  My kids love these – it adds to the feeling of having a special restaurant treat, but the fat is way reduced by baking instead of deep frying.

Bon appetit.

Brekkie Sandwich

–       Whole wheat English muffin – toasted and lightly buttered
–       Fried egg (pref. in a little Canola or other light oil)
–       Baby spinach leaves
–       Fat-reduced cheese (cheddar, Colby or Havarti)
–       Tomato and/or avocado slices