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. Or worse, the 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 4 to feed each member of our family! It’s so easy to spend $4 here and $4 there.
I stopped to consider how often we choose the drive-through 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]?
MORE happy meals.
The Kitchen Skinny
Real meals. And when you’re a busy parent on-the-go, here are the 5 basics every car should have to provide you and your kids with a healthy snack until you get home:
- 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.
- A latching plastic storage bin for snack items you can just keep in your car.
- Baby wipes
when to PACK A SNACK
Any time you leave the house, for any reason.
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 then we’re off!