Whether you’re off on a family adventure or have a regular commute in the car, keeping your children occupied and happy on the road is a top priority. While there are a number of distraction techniques that you can use to keep the kids calm and happy on the road, one method is to consider what’s fuelling them in the first place. Whether your child is prone to feeling motion sickness, nerves or simply tends to get moody in the car, there are a number of specific foods you can try that may have a soothing effect – and a soothed child makes for a soothed driver.
Best Snacks for Children Likely to get Motion Sickness
Motion sickness is a surprisingly common ailment that’s especially prevalent among young children as their bodies develop and grow. It’s essentially a disturbance of the inner ear that can be caused by repetitive motions such as the rocking of a boat, aeroplane turbulence and the movement of a car. It can cause vomiting, nausea and general discomfort, and prevents many kids – and therefore families – from getting on the road.
Luckily, many children grow out of it – but until that day, try adding these nutritious snacks that may just prevent the sickness from occurring in the first place.
Snack 1: Coconut and Ginger Balls
These simple, nutritious balls are an easy snack to take on the road and crucially, they powerfully combat nausea caused by motion sickness. Ginger has numerous natural properties that have been proven to prevent nausea in numerous studies. As an ingredient, ginger has been found to cut symptoms of nausea by 40% in patients undergoing chemotherapy. It’s a powerful ingredient.
- A cup of dates
- 2 tablespoons of chopped, raw Brazil nuts
- 3/4 cup of shredded coconut
- 1/2 a tablespoon of honey (or your preferred sweetener)
- 2 tablespoons of grated fresh ginger
- Using a food processor, begin by blending the dates, before slowly blending in the additional ingredients until all have been broken down to a similar size and sticky consistency.
- Use an ice-cream scooper to create balls from the mixture, and finish by hand-rolling each ball.
- Finally, store in a sealed container in the fridge – until you’re ready to go on your road trip.
Cleanliness Rating: 4/5 – A little sticky to make-up, but these snacks don’t require too much packaging or fussing, and can be eaten straight from a jar with very little mess.
Snack 2: Crackers with Cream Cheese
Crackers are the foundation of a simple, tasty snack with nausea-fighting properties. Foods that are high in starch – such as bread, toast and crackers – help by absorbing stomach acids and thus settling your stomach when it goes into overdrive.
Teaming Crackers up with cream cheese is an easy way to get kids eating on the go, while also making sure that the sugar content is low and doesn’t unsettle your children or affect their mood in other ways. It’s also tasty and quick to put together, and requires very little preparation in advance – just pack the cream cheese and the crackers and hit the road. Dip as required.
Cleanliness Rating: 3/5 – Very simple to throw together, but crackers are crumbly and dipping into cream cheese has inevitable spillage risks. Nonetheless, it’s simple, tasty and quick – and really does help to settle an upset stomach.
Snack 3: Apple Wedge Chips with Peanut Butter & Cereal
This snack is a powerhouse when it comes to battling nausea. The protein in the peanut butter can provide a stable source of energy when the kids feel nauseous and aren’t keen on eating, while the cereal as a grain is a dry, stable food that will help to settle the stomach, all underpinned by the delicious fibre from apples that helps to calm your digestive system.
Altogether, this sweet, crunchy, filling snack will help to relieve nausea and is so delicious it will distract from other symptoms of motion sickness too!
- Your favourite cereal
- Brown sugar
- 2 apples
- Peanut butter
- In a shallow bowl, combine 1 cup of your cereal, crushed, with 1-1/2 teaspoons of packed brown sugar.
- Core 2 apples, cut into wedges and pat dry with absorbent paper towels.
- Finally, spread the inner flesh of the apple with reduced-fat, smooth peanut butter, before rolling the wedges in the cereal mixture.
Cleanliness Rating: 4/5 – A little messy to make, but once packed away, this is very much a grab-and-go snack. Powerful, healthy and delicious; the kids will be arguing with the grown-ups over these.
Best Snacks for Kids that Get Nervous in the Car
Kids can develop anxiety or nerves for any number of reasons – but it can be especially problematic if a child develops anxiety regarding travelling by car when we use it as a means of transport every day. While children often outgrow such phases, it can be difficult to deal with when it occurs. These snack ideas will help to get your kids back on track and fear-free on the roads. It’s important that in these situations, you avoid snacks that are high in sugar and caffeine content. These both act as stimulants and will only get the kids racing.
Snack 1: Mixed Berry Snack Bites
Blueberries are considered a super fruit, rich in vitamins and phytonutrients – and especially packed full of anti-oxidants, which actively relieve stress.
These no-bake, mixed berry snackbites can be packed full of anti-oxidant rich berries, and are healthy, easy and delicious snacks that will ease anxious kids on car journeys.
- 1/4 cup of freeze dried, unsweetened berries
- 11/2 cups of oat flower
- 1 1/2 cups of coconut flour
1/2 cup of peanut butter
- 1/2 cup of honey or sweetener of choice
- 1/4 cup of milk
- Blend or process 1/4 cup of freeze dried, unsweetened berries until they reach a flour-like consistency
- Line a large plate with parchment paper and set aside, before mixing 1 1/2 cups of oat flour, 1/2 cup of sifted coconut flour in a large bowl
- Stir in 1/2 cup of smooth peanut butter and 1/2 cup of honey or sweetener of choice, and mix until it becomes a slightly crumbly texture.
- Finally, use a tablespoon to add 1/4 cup of milk, to create a thick, creamy batter.
- Stir in your dried berries and get your fingers in there to create bite-sized balls of the mixture. Set the balls on the lined plate before refrigerating for half an hour.
- These quick, easy to make snacks can be stored in a jar or tupperware and taken on the road either in or outside of a cooler.
Cleanliness Rating: 5/5 – Easy to make and quick to pack, these snacks have no excess packaging and are delicious stress-busters.
Snack 2: Whole-wheat Banana Muffins
Muffins are a treat for everyone – kids and adults alike – but these whole-wheat banana muffins pack an extra secret. By using wholegrains, these muffins have a powerful anxiety-easing effect, and also battle some of the further physical symptoms of stress and anxiety, including nausea. Incorporating fresh, fruity bananas is also a great way of sneaking in a fruit that’s known for its digestive easing, and for being a great source of potassium.
- 1 1/2 cups of whole-wheat flour
- 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 3 bananas
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup of packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup of milk
- Combine 1 1/2 cups of whole-wheat flour with 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour in a large bowl.
- Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and a 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the mixture.
- Separately, mix 3 large, mashed ripe bananas with 2 lightly beaten large eggs, a 3/4 cup of packed light brown sugar and 1/3 cup of milk.
- Whisk these ingredients together until smooth, before folding into the flour mixture until combined. This should work its way into a batter – be sure not to overmix at this stage.
- Spoon this batter into muffin cups, and if desired place a banana chip on top of each one. Alternatively, add a dark chocolate flake or chip – as dark chocolate is also known for its stress-busting properties.
- Bake at 375* Fahrenheit for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool and store in tupperware for the road.
Cleanliness Rating: 3/5 – Takes a little more time to make, and each ends up individually wrapped in muffin cups, but this delicious and powerful combo makes it worth the effort.
Snack 3: White Pizzettes with Smoked Salmon and Baby Lettuces
Fish dishes are packed full of Omega 3 and nourishing fish oils – which are not only important for brain development and healthy skin and nails, but can also act in the short term to ease nervousness and anxiety. Filling and soothing, these savoury snacks are an easy, kid-friendly way to soothe nervous travellers.
- Pizza dough
- Olive oil, chopped garlic, salt and pepper
- Lemon juice and sugar
- Parmesan cheese
- Smoked salmon
- Baby greens
- Parsley and chives
- Heat your oven to 450*F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, before tearing a pre-prepared ball of recently defrosted frozen pizza dough into six pieces.
- Transfer these to prepared baking sheets, and poke the crusts with a fork multiple times.
- Separately, mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil with a tablespoon of chopped garlic, and brush each crust with the mixture.
- Sprinkle each pizzette with parmesan cheese and pepper to taste.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the crusts become crisp and golden.
- To finish, combine a tablespoon of olive oil with lemon juice and sugar to taste, as well as salt and pepper to create a sweet but tart dressing.
- Top the pizzettes with smoked salmon, baby greens, parsley and chives, and sprinkle the dressing over the salmon.
- Pack each mini snack individually for tiny hands.
Cleanliness Rating: 3/5 – Messy to eat with all the delicious dressings and moving parts, but this soothing, nutritious snack will go down a great in mini-pizza format.
Best Snacks for Kids who get Moody in the Car
Whether it’s temper tantrums or a sullen mood, kids with fluctuating moods can be unhappy when strapped in to the back of a car with little to amuse themselves. While some of this is natural and can’t be helped, there are some ways that mood can be alleviated and other ways to prevent intense mood swings that flare up on car journeys.
Snack 1: Fruity Pizzas
Fruits have been found to contain mood-boosting, energising nutrients, as recommended by doctors the world over. In particular, bananas consist of mood elevating carbohydrates with slow release energy that will keep the kids in high spirits. This fruity pizza snack is the perfect way to re-package fruit for kids and keep them engaged. It’s also easy to throw together and travels well.
Ready-made mini pancakes
1/2 cup of icing sugar
1 tub of cream cheese
Orange juice and an orange
Banana, kiwi, strawberries and blueberries
- Mix 1/2 cup of icing sugar, 1 tub of spreadable cream cheese, 2 tablespoons of orange juice and the zest of one orange together to make a zesty, fruity spread to smear onto your pancakes
- Top with chunks of freshly peeled and cut banana, kiwi, strawberries and blueberries
Cleanliness Rating: 2/5 – This snack is sweet, fun and uplifting, but could definitely cause a mess in the car. Pack your wet wipes, because it’ll be worth it when the mood swings back to a smile.
Snack 2: Dark Chocolate Chunk Brownies
Dark chocolate is renowned for its happiness-inducing, stress busting properties. Put simply, it provides a dose of dopamine – which is the chemical in the brain responsible for feelings of contentment, happiness and joy. Use your favourite brownie recipe and swap out milk chocolate for dark chocolate, and watch the kids light up when you pull out this sweet treat on the road.
Cleanliness Rating: 5/5 – Brownies are a much loved, easy to make dish – and the kids won’t need convincing to give them a taste. Easily taken on the road in tupperware or paper bags, with little to no fuss and mess.
Snack 3: Brazil Nut Energy Balls
Brazil nuts have been studied for their nutritious qualities, and have been found to contain a chemical that directly combats irritability. This is an especially powerful tool to have in your arsenal when children become unruly, restless or frustrated during long car journeys.
The brazil nut energy balls can be made very similarly to the coconut and ginger energy balls above – simply replace with brazil nuts and combine with the processed dates. For an extra crunch, roll the balls in finely chopped brazil nuts once they’ve been rolled.
Cleanliness Rating: 4/5 – A little flakey if rolled in brazil nuts to finish, but overall this is a simple, non-sticky treat that will soothe flustered kids on long journeys.
Hopefully, this bunch of recipes will help keep the travel sickness at bay and get your trip off to a great start. Now you’ve got the food sorted, the car games packed, and all the fun stuff done, it’s time to make sure you have car hire excess insurance for those exciting family road trips, especially if the journey is a long one!