Going on holiday generally means that routines and good habits take a backseat, and the taboos that were frowned upon all year sneak their way into the family festivities. Meals are no exception but there are some small things that you can do to ensure that your little munchkin is getting some solid nutrition between all the ice cream cones and hot dogs:
- Plan ahead: although the words ‘planning’ and ‘holiday’ don’t necessarily gel, a little pre-thought will go a long way in stocking up your fridge, cooler bag or handbag with healthy and nutritious foods that are easy to serve up wherever you go. Pre-empting that your little one is more than likely to get bored in the car or plane on your journey, make sure you have enough entertainment on hand in the form of a variety of delicious snack choices.
- Tools for freshness: pack a cooler bag and a few ice packs so that you don’t have an excuse not to have anything healthy on-hand. If you would rather not schlep a clunky cooler box around, look out for the fabric varieties that could double as a grocery bag/travel/beach bag.
- Store it: instead of feeling as though you would rather avoid the mess of leftovers and debris after packaging has been opened, throw a few small storage containers and package clips (or even clothes pegs) into your packing. By doing so, you’ll have a smart way of separating serving portions and keeping leftovers intact.
- Be practical: look for those products that are re-sealable and easy to serve straight from the packaging, and those snacks that won’t make an unholy mess! Pre-packing portions of snacks into single servings (packets or containers) will make it easier to hand snacks out when the time comes.
Here is some healthy snack inspiration to keep in mind when doing your holiday grocery shopping:
- Fresh delights: look out for fresh fruits that are easy to eat (naartjies, grapes, strawberries, blueberries) or ready cut-up fruit and veg options to make life even easier. For more mess-free options, opt for slithers of apples, banana, strawberries and pears, or carrot and cucumber battons.
- Skewer it: to keep little hands busy, skewer an array of mixed fruit pieces – like banana, apple, strawberries, kiwi, pineapple- onto a skewer stick (look for blunt-ended sticks). Store these in your cooler bag for a playful and delicious treat!
- Dried goodness: dried fruit is such a simple snack to store and dish out easily on-the-go, just don’t overdo it or your little one may end up with a sore tummy.
- Stack it: what’s a family holiday without some home-made sarmies? Opt for wholewheat, rye and low GI options and get creative with fillings, cutting each sandwich into fingers to hand out to little people with ease. Some healthy fillings include; sugar-free nut butter and banana; egg mayo; chicken mayo; cold meat with cucumber and tomato; smashed avocado and lemon juice.
- Meaty treats: biltong sticks and dried wors serve as a healthy, high-protein snack for the whole family. Remember to store dried meat in an airtight container once removed from the packaging (note that biltong can be high in salt, so ensure that your little one is hydrated if they are eating it and limit portions).
- Fuss-free nibbles: Rice crackers are fantastic to keep on-hand to eat plain, add a topping to or to dunk into a dip. Dried cereal is also super easy to hand out – preferably look out for options that aren’t loaded with sugar (retailers like Woolworths keep a kiddies’ cereal range that has no added cane sugar). Organic toddler snacks (look out for awesome products from Happy Baby and Olli) also make for a fantastic healthy snack.
- Dip it: re-sealable packs of guacamole, hummus and cottage cheese are healthy and delicious dip options for crackers, bread sticks or even veggies.
- Something cheesy : wedges, cubes or strings are high protein options that make for easy eating on the backseat, plane, beach or whilst missioning around. Remember to keep cheese cool to prevent it from spoiling in warm weather.
- Freeze it: pop some mini yoghurts in the freezer and keep these on-hand for hot days (not forgetting to pack some spoons!). For an even easier (and less messy) eating option that can be eaten straight from the packaging, try this with tubes of drinking yoghurt or no-sugar-added fruit purée in pouches with a nozzle – like Squish (found in most stores in the baby food section).
- Remember to keep an eye on your child at all times when they are snacking (with one eye on the backseat if you are sitting in the front of your car!).
- Keep your child hydrated at all times on your travels and especially when spending time in warmer weather.
- Be prepared for some mess wherever you are. Spills and accidents happen, so keep those wet wipes close on-hand when dishing out food and drinks.
Most importantly, enjoy the time with your children and don’t sweat the small stuff: if your little one has consumed more sugar, sodium and refined carbohydrates than they probably should have over the holidays that’s OK – 2018 and the new year resolutions that come along with it are just around the corner!