(Family Features) Whether you're running about town on errands or hitting the road for a family trip, parents should prepare in advance for the drive. After all, parents know better than anyone that long stretches of time in the car can lead to hungry, cranky kids. But, with some strategic planning, parents can keep everyone happy. Use these snack ideas and tips to make the best of a busy day or a road trip.
Prepare snacks in advance
One way to combat crankiness before it starts is to make sure the kids are well-fed. Pack some snacks to take with you, so you're always prepared when the hunger sets in. Here are a few easy and quick snack ideas for on-the-go:
- Sliced Fruit - Pack up everything you need to slice up apples and bananas. Resealable containers make it easy to store and serve food.
- Applesauce - Pack convenient snacks such as the Snack & Go Applesauce Pouches from Mott's in your purse for when the kids get hungry. Only 40 calories per pouch and with no added sugar, these handy pouches have a cap, so there's less mess. Kids will love snacking on delicious applesauce, while getting nutrition they need.
- Apple-Banana Smoothie - Add two frozen, peeled bananas to a blender with 1/2 cup of buttermilk and 1 cup of applesauce. Serve this smoothie in a tumbler with a lid and a straw as an on-the-go snack kids will love.
- Baby Carrots - Pre-wash baby carrots and add them to a water-tight container for quick snacking between activities.
Keep them engaged
The key to keeping kids happy in the car is to stick to their regular schedule as much as possible. This means parents should be prepared with their child's favorite stuffed animal or blanket at nap time. In addition, parents can help keep kids entertained by telling them a story or playing a game.
To keep kids happy, remember to:
- Take along a few toys and make sure they are within reach.
- Pop their favorite movie into the DVD player.
- Play some fun music and get everyone to sing along. For very young children, learning the tune to the "ABC's" can be a treat. For older children, look to albums from their favorite children's TV shows and movies to keep them excited on the drive.
- Stock up your car with picture and story books from the library. Even small children will enjoy turning the pages of a storybook. Ask them to tell you what is happening in the book.
- Play games such as "Eye Spy with My Little Eye." These games will not only get them paying attention to their surroundings, but also allow you to interact with them, so they won't feel like they're just along for the ride.
- Have a blanket and pillow ready when naptime hits. This is especially crucial for long stretches in the car, or following a busy morning of errands that require multiple stops.
For more great, on-the-go snacking ideas and recipes your kids will love, visit www.motts.com.
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