Thursday, February 21, 2013

Snacks To Go: The Five Basics Every Car Should Have

Today will be my [almost] 4-year-old's 4th day of preschool!  [It's no secret that I cried more on his first day than he did.]  I realized when I picked him up earlier this week that he's hungry after class.  Parents everywhere know that the Hunger fuse is short, and that hungry >>> cranky >>> a tantrum of epic proportions.  On days that we don't drive directly home for lunch after class, if I don't have a plan I WILL resort to the nearest drive-through menu. Or worsethe nearest grocery store - believing I can shop for dinner and buy my preschooler a healthier snack. 

Actually, it's far more likely that once we're there I'll realize that we're ALL hungry, and we'll come away with more 'junk food' than healthy food.  And once that 'junk food' is there it's too easy to go to, all week long until it's gone.  

Not having a plan is an unhealthy and expensive trend.  Even when I stick to $0.99 menu items/snacks, I 'have to' buy a minimum of 4 [because each family member 'needs' one]!  It doesn't take much effort to spend roughly $4 here and there.

How often are we pulling up to a drive-through menu when:  
◊ we're in a hurry,
◊ we skipped breakfast/failed to pack a lunch,
◊ we're busy,
◊ we have no plan for dinner,
◊ we're tired,
◊ we're in the middle of running errands and we haven't eaten,
◊ going to the grocery store will be a hassle,
◊ we have hungry kids in the car, or because
◊ we're traveling [long-distance]?

If we pull up to a drive-through menu it ought to be
because WE want TO, and not because we're desperate to.

your DEFENSE for
FEWER happy boxes                  MORE happy meals

  • I keep an empty Rubbermaid personal cooler in my car at all times [to avoid having to look for it].  
  • I haven't bothered [yet] with ice packs/ice "blankets"/etc. to chill the cooler.  Instead I pack a couple of Ziploc® Brand Freezer bags ½ - ¾ full of ice, and keep them in my freezer. [Pick the bag with the closure that looks like it will best hold water.]
  • A spill-proof, plastic cup with a lid [preferably that locks into place] is a MUST for drinks on the road.  My youngest throws ^this particular cup out of his crib EVERY night. It still doesn't leak.
  • latching plastic storage bin for snack items you can just keep in your car.
  • Baby wipes
With these 5 basics, there aren't many common snack items you couldn't pack, especially for a short amount of time.  [Including fruits and veggies, and even cheeses.]

when to PACK A SNACK
Any time you leave the house, for any reason :)

We can't plan every outing, all the time.  As well as I think I know my boys, I can't always plan when they'll be hungry either.  Any time you leave the house you risk missing a meal, and a meal out/on the road can be costly.  [Especially with my two chicken nugget lovers in the car!]  With your cooler and a well-stocked bin are kept in your car at all times, if you end up eating out it will be because you WANT to.  Not because you feel you have to.

On that note, have a GREAT Thursday!  I'm on my way to the freezer to snag a DIY Ziploc® ice pack along with a few cheese squares for the kiddos, and we're off!

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