**This is a guest post**
Travelling in the car with children can be a nightmare, but there is little doubt that having hungry children makes the whole situation much worse. If you get a chance to stop on the way to eat then that’s great, but getting them to eat a healthy meal on the move is a challenge most parents dread.
If you don’t want to end up with hyperactive children, tomato sauce smeared all over the interior of the car, or two week old cheese under the car mats, take a look at our list of tips.
Dips, sauces or anything that can be smeared is generally a no-no, unless you are willing to clean your car interior afterwards. Try and go for ‘finger food’, such as sausages, chicken sticks, chunks of cheese, sticks of carrot or celery – anything that doesn’t need a knife and fork and that isn’t messy. This doesn’t need to be unhealthy, processed food which will only make them hyperactive or ill – a little basic preparation can result in some scrumptious home-made finger food that you’ll all enjoy.
Crackers and oatcakes make a great alternative to crisps, and several places sell them individually wrapped in crisp-type packets. Plain old digestives are also relatively low in sugar and can be used as a treat alternative to chocolate – but provide a plastic plate to catch any crumbs!
Fruit can be great to pick at along the way, and you can cut it up and stick it in a plastic box in advance to avoid any mess. Apple slices, clementine segments and grapes are all healthy, tasty and relatively mess-free.
If you haven’t got time to prepare a fruit salad, dried fruit can be a good alternative. Raisins, banana slices and dried apricots are all sweet, tasty and far healthier than sweets. Put some in resealable bags for a great sweet alternative.
Avoid sugary drinks and go for flavoured water or squash if they dislike plain water. Putting it in a sports bottle with a non-drip lid helps to avoid any soggy accidents.
Many yoghurts and fromage frais now come in ‘pouches’ – perfect for eating on the go! This avoids the need for a spoon, saving on mess and keeping the yoghurt cooler for longer.
If you can get them to sleep then this is surely a godsend, so warm drinks can be handy. Packing hot milk or Horlicks in a thermos is a good option. A tip is to pour it out into a toddler bottle before handing it over. This may seem insulting to your older child, but the handles can make it easier to hold (although you want it to be warm – not hot) and the spout stops any spillage.
Their favourite cereal, without milk, can make for a fun snack. Put some into a Tupperware box before you leave – but reserve it as a special treat, as you don’t want the sugar to make them hyperactive!
Don’t feed them large amounts in one go, but ration food out over the course of the journey. This prevents overeating and feeling sick, and also avoids ending up with hyperactive children. It also helps to break up the monotony of the journey.
Travel sickness can be a real pain and many children suffer from it. To avoid this try to steer clear of fatty or spicy foods, and stick to something relatively dry and plain. If you can, avoid feeding them at all until you get there, or just give them enough to keep them going.
Keeping your family fed whilst on the road can make for a smoother journey, and so can having the right car insurance cover.
**This is a guest post by Sainsbury's Finance**