Thursday, March 8, 2012

Healthy Travels

One thing I've learned as a parent is don't leave home without snacks. That's our "don't leave home with out it" motto.  Diaper and snacks. The must haves when out an about. I mean what mama hasn't been at the peak of your grocery shopping trip (or other outing) and all of sudden a sweet, smiley little person turns into a famished screaming little monster? Yep, I've been there.  There have been a couple times at the grocery store where we've busted open something in the cart and had a little "pre-pay" snack time.  I've learned that little people are 'grazers.'  This is why having an arsenal of snacks can save the day. 

 We also do a fair amount of traveling with the kiddos.  We love adventures and love having our kiddos be a part of those adventures.  We've gone camping. We've headed out on road trips.  Last fall we went on a family trip to visit some friends in California and just last week we were in Texas visiting other dear friends.  These trips both included airports and planes and long days for kiddos and mom and dad.   I get real annoyed at airport prices of food and even more annoyed at the quality of food they offer.  So my solution is to pack it all up myself.  My goal is to pack up enough food for the girls to have adequate amounts to eat and have a few extras for those melt down moments.  It's also great to have some food for them to be munching on during take off and landing.  This is my post on traveling with little adventurers and a few ideas for packing up food on the go.

First tip is start out with a plan.  Jot down some ideas of filling, nutritious snacks that your kiddos like.  It's nice to even surprise them with something new that your pretty confident they will like or even something that you haven't made in a while.  Depending on how long your travels are you may get by with just heavy snacks, and the reality is that heavy, nutritious snacks can be quite filling and wholesome.  

Here are my favorites when traveling.
  •  Homemade granola bars (my new favorite recipe is below)
  •  Freeze dried peas (absolute favorite for both of my girls)
  •  Raisins
  •  Bananas
  • Apples
  • Hummus and chopped veggies (carrots, celery, peppers, kohlrabi)--if flying, put the hummus in a reusable container or ziploc bag and do the same with veggies.    
  • Homemade trail mix (nuts, seeds, dried fruit, chocolate or carob chips)
  • Dried fruit
  • Fruit Leather (made with REAL fruit and not sugar)--when flying these are nice for take-off and landing) 
  • Granola--granola makes a great, cheap, and easy breakfast when you get to where your going, and a yummy snack along the way.
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Nut/Seed butter and Jam sandwich (pack in reusable or ziploc bags for an easy lunch or snack)
  • Instant Oatmeal--Easiest traveling breakfast ever! Simply add hot water. Hot water is easy to find any where. Easy to do when camping or to grab in the airport.  Find the best quality instant oatmeal you can, with a low amount of sugar.
  • Tea--Toss a few of your favorite tea bags into your purse.  Again all you need is hot water and maybe a cup. 
  • Almond Butter or Peanut Butter individual packets--These are nice and easy to pack, especially if your flying and need to minimize space.  Dip crackers or veggies into these packets for an extra protein boost.  Spread the nut butter on rice cakes and mash a banana on top. 

The hit of our recent travel was a new granola bar recipe I made.  I had a whole list of granola bars I was wanting to try but opted to experiment with this one.  Turns out this one gets raving reviews by my two little girls.  They were honestly begging for them at the airport.  Funny.  What's a mom to say?   "No I'm sorry that you like these so much but really we should save all this whole food goodness for another day?"  Nope I let them indulge and lick their fingers clean.  Next trip we take I know exactly what I'll be packing.

I stumbled across this recipe on a website named the The Sensitive Pantry.  I made a few adaptations but it's pretty much her recipe.  They are a little crumbly, so that is warning number one.  Warning number two is that you may find that they don't last long because everyone is grabbing for them. 

Nutty Fruity Granola Bars


½ cup dried apricots, chopped finely
½ cup dates, chopped finely
½ cup raisins

2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup slivered almonds (or chopped almonds)
½ cup sunflower seeds, pepitas, sesame seeds, or a combo of all three
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

½ cup maple (other options are brown rice syrup, honey, or agave)
3 tablespoons coconut oil
¼ cup brown sugar (I omitted sugar but sucanat or palm sugar would be a better option)
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ cup chia seeds (optional)
¼ cup flax seeds (optional)


1)Preheat the oven to 350

2)Mix together apricots, dates, raisins
3)Lightly toast oats, almonds, seeds, and coconut on a cookie sheet in oven for approximately 10 minutes.  Check often to make sure the mixture doesn't burn.  The coconut should be lightly browned. 

4)Lower the oven temperature to 300.  Combine maple syrup, coconut oil, sugar (if using), vanilla, and salt in a saucepan over medium low heat.  Cook until mixture is well combined.  

5) Add the three mixtures (dried fruit, coconut/almond mix, and maple syrup mix) together.  Add in chia seeds and flax seeds, if using.  Stir to combine. 

6)Line a 8 x 11.5 baking dish with parchment paper.  Spread mixture out in dish and firmly press it down until it's evenly spread throughout the pan.
7) Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan.  Cut into bars. These will keep in an airtight container for about a week, or wrap them in plastic wrap for individual bars on the go.   

I hope you enjoy these as much as my two little girls did! 

Happy travels to you!


  1. My new favorite is roasted chick peas! So easy and crunchy...YUM!

  2. Good idea! I haven't done roasted chickpeas in forever! Thanks for the suggestion!