Bring the map, forget the snacks for family road trip
When packing up for a family road trip, consider leaving the snacks
at home, says a CNRC registered dietitian.
"Using food to keep your kids occupied encourages them to
eat when not hungry, a habit that can contribute to weight problems
later in life," said Joan Carter, also an instructor of pediatrics
at Baylor College of Medicine. "Don't think of food as entertainment."
Many times parents pack snacks and offer them to youngsters when
they begin complaining of boredom, she said. These practices can
give the wrong message that snacking is something to do to keep
Carter said on trips less than two hours, water is the only thing
you need in the car. On longer trips, she recommends stopping every
few hours for 10 to 15 minute "snack and play" breaks.
"Find a park or rest stop where there's a place to eat a snack
and run around for a few minutes," she said. "Bring a
Frisbee or football as a quick activity. Get the kids moving a little
bit and let them burn off some energy."
Books, games, maps and other activities can provide children something
to help the time pass more quickly during the drive, she said.
On trips where a roadside stop isn't feasible, Carter suggests
packing bite-size sandwiches, trail mix, sliced fruit, bottled water
and 'string cheese' for snacks. She cautions against any kind of
food that could choke a child
in an accident or quick use of the brakes.
"It might seem harmless to give a child hard candy or peanuts,
but it can present a serious problem if the driver has to slam on
the brakes," Carter said. "An easy rule is if you wouldn't
let a kid run with it in his mouth, don't let him eat it in the