Road-tripping with Kids, Food Edition #FuelTheLove

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It's summertime and road trip time and PCS time in our house!  That is a LOT of hours in the car, in case you were curious.  We just completed our Colorado to Washington move, and as soon as this house is unpacked, summer vacation starts!

Now that the kids are a little bit older, we are all about the road trips.  In the last year, we did Colorado to California (including Las Vegas), Mount Rushmore, home to Canada (near Niagara Falls for Christmas, Jackson Hole for spring break, and just came off the CO-WA trip through the pretty Montana route.

Road trips are all about the fuel, and that the fuel for the car and the fuel for the kids. I've taken to packing as much food and snacks as we can to help keep everyone healthy and happy in the car, and we make sure to have a pre-trip oil change with Pennzoil at Walmart to keep the car happy too!  We both drive SUVs and with the husband having a 9 year old hybrid version, we want to keep it in top shape. Pennzoil also offers a free warranty that covers 15 engine parts that may fail due to engine wear or which experience abnormal wear due to friction. With the age of the car, and the mileage, this is very important for us!

With Walmart, we can drop the car off for Pennzoil Platinum Oil and we can shop for the kid and grown-up fuel in store while we wait! From June 10th - September 9th, Pennzoil oil changes will be on Rollback at Walmart ACC {Automotive Care Center} stores, so you'll be able to get Platinum Full Synthetic for $45.88, compared to the regular Walmart price of $49.88 (industry standard is about $66).

So what is the secret to road-tripping with kids and not having to eat a ton of fast food along the way?  Bento lunches and a snack box!

I'm not usually a big buyer of individually wrapped items, but for road trips, I make an exception.  We use a shoebox size plastic bin and fill it with protein bars, granola bars, gummies/fruit snacks, and more.    We balance the snacks with a healthier lunch, easy to eat fruit and frozen yogurt tubes.

What's in our ideal car bento lunch?

It definitely has to be neat and easy to eat!  For starters, I opt for a one-piece box so I can rinse it in the hotel room without having a million pieces to look for.  I also add a plastic fork to help, so we don't accidentally lose one of our good ones.

Inside the box, our first road-trip choice is homemade pocket sandwiches.  They are a little bit neater to eat and we can make them per family member.  Popular picks are peanut butter and jelly, cream cheese and jelly, tuna, chicken or egg salad, etc.  If we are going with a cooler and icepacks, we have more flexibility than if we are going with just day lunches and no cooler.

For side dishes, I opt for easy to eat fruits like blueberries, blackberries, or grapes, apple slices, or even cut up strawberries.  To prevent extra stickiness, we skip the melons and other juicy fruits.  Carrot sticks are another popular car choice, although both my kids prefer a bit of ranch dressing to go with them.  We do make do without.

Since no lunch is complete without a little treat, I usually pick easy foods like pretzel sticks, Goldfish crackers, mini graham crackers, etc.  Again, it's all about ease of eating without making a huge mess.  We also love a fun, non-messy trail mix for road trips--raisins, mini marshmallows, pretzel sticks, Goldfish crackers, etc.

Whatever your choice is, remember to tailor to your kids' ages and allergy needs (my two are nearly 10 and 13, we are past choking hazards and have no allergies in our house).

What are your favorite on the go, road trip tips for kids?


  1. What a great collection of roadtrip snack ideas! The worst is being on the road and getting hungry out in the middle of nowhere...thanks for sharing these tips! #client


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