You would think the school starves my kids.
I know they ate plenty at home during the summer! But as soon as they get in the car after school, my kids complain they are hungry. I definitely can’t run any errands right after pick up or they whine the whole time. So this year I’m prepared with after-school snacks for the car. Yes –you got that right: I’ll be prepared for the car pick up line with travel snacks at the ready for hungry kids.
My kids are 6 and 8 and still use booster seats in the car. I love this because they have extra cup holders and little storage cubbies in their seats. Most of the healthy after school snacks I pack can fit in cup holders to make it easy for little hands to eat (and hopefully not spill all over the car or themselves).
Timing is everything: how to plan and pack ahead
At the beginning of the week, I make snacks for the whole week. Since it isn’t a full meal that I’m serving, it doesn’t take more than 5-10 minutes to be ready for the week. I use the clear small plastic cups so I can see what is in the cup and my kids can as well. The cups can be washed and reused so no waste of plastic baggies. The bonus is they fit into the booster seat cup holders perfectly.
Favorite After School Cold Snacks that Travel Well
These fresh, refrigerated snacks are great for hot, sweaty kids when they get into the car after school:
- Carrots with Ranch Dressing (add the dressing right before you head to school)
- Applesauce Pouches
- Cheese Sticks
- Apple Slices
Another way you can be prepared for the car pickup line is to have a snack box just for the car. Of course, items that are shelf stable are ideal. Thankfully, my minivan stays cool in the garage, so even in the hot Texas sun, I can keep more items in my snack box than if I park outside in the heat.
What to pack in your travel snack box
These foods will keep in the car for longer periods, even in the heat or cold. Don’t forget the napkins or wipes!
- Granola Bars
- Fruit Snacks
- Dried Fruit
- Beef Sticks
A Collapsible Storage Box is a Must
The collapsible storage box can be used in so many ways in the car. Ever since my kids were young, I have used it for back up supplies (diapers, wipes, clothes, toys). As they grow older the contents of the storage box changes, but its usefulness continues.
Extra bottles of water are a great addition to the box along with the snack boxes since my kids seem to always be thirsty as well as hungry when they get in the car. A box of tissues and wet wipes are a necessity. My kids aren’t babies anymore but I still buy plenty of wet wipes for spills and stickiness.
For the trash that is bound to accumulate, I keep a couple of grocery store plastic bags in the box along with a small trash can. You can find smaller trash cans at just about any retailer that sells home goods. I line the trash can with the plastic bags and the kids know where to put their trash. It’s much better than them putting trash in the cubby holes of their booster seats.
The Snack Box is a Thing of Beauty
The beauty of this snack box is that it can also be used when you head out for a family trip. Restock it here and there as you go throughout the school year so your kids can grab and go. If any of your kids have food allergies, color code the boxes so each kid knows which color box is theirs.
No more whining from hungry and thirsty kids as they get in the car from school. Grab one of the cold snacks on the way out the door and put it in their cupholders with the snack box on the floor between them. And while you’re waiting in the pickup line, grab a little bite for yourself, because you most likely forgot to eat lunch.
What are your car snack tips and tricks? Share your tips in the comment section below!