In another life, for about 8 years, I knew what it was like to try to mobilize four children for well, anything. Between parent-teacher conferences, extra-curricular activities, playdates and experiences we wanted them to have, I learned how to be efficient.
In one of the many ways I get to serve people, I get to love on an amazing couple with four children. And one of the ways I’ve been able to offer my “efficiency support” is by helping pack the snacks they take on road trips and vacations with their younger children. I’ve affectionately started to call it having “snack savvy”.
I first got the idea when this family went on a summer vacation trip. They needed to rent a full-sized van to transport all the kiddos which meant children in the far back, the adults in the front. It made sense to me that the kiddos would have individual servings. And helping their trip go smoothly in this way became super important to me.
YOU GET A SNACK, YOU GET A SNACK, YOU GET A SNACK!
Why when you’re trying to pack all of the people in your family, be sure the reservations are confirmed, check the weather and road conditions as well as plan entertainment that works for every, single person and their preferences – with your approved parental permissions – would you spend time making individual servings?
This time spent on the front end answers the need for efficiency, simplicity and the very important need to help maintain your sanity while on your adventure.
Individual servings help keep small hands in only their portion. Individual servings help decrease the chances of spilling the entire treat. Individual servings help determine how much of one snack a child may be putting in their bellies and individual servings help keeps things “fair”.
I know. You want your children to share and take-turns and this is important. But while on a road trip, with everyone in tight quarters and on different bathroom cycles, you may want to cut yourself and your kiddos a bit of slack and eliminate stress from this part of your travels.
Here are the supplies I recommend if you’re going to try this (or are receiving help from an organizational junkie like me).
USING THE SNACK PACKING SUPPLIES
Shop a few days before the trip begins. All of the snacks were set out on the kitchen counter top with plenty of space for me to work my organizational mojo. Be sure to get plenty of sealable baggies. I suggest full boxes of three different sizes; particularly the “snack”, “sandwich” and “quart” sized bags.
Use the largest snack bags to group similar, pre-packaged snacks. Set aside the packages, but don’t throw them away just yet.
For the snacks your family enjoys that come in one large bag – like say, this bag of Lay’s Potato Chips – this is where the fun comes in.
Open or cut open the top of the bag as close to the top of the container that you can get is best. Distribute the chips into 6-8 sandwich bags (these are sandwich bags), then seal them without crushing the snacks.
Rinse the inside of the now empty snack container bag with water, then dry it inside and out with a paper towel.
Place the individual snack-filled baggies back into the original snack container.
This works because it serves as a carrier and a clear indicator of the snack your kiddos will be reaching for. It can also be used as a garbage collector after the goodies have been eaten.
THIS HOUR IS WORTH IT
Putting all like items together, opening anything that is sealed (like the Pringles container in the group snack photo at the end) and separating ingredients that are for a recipe will save you so much time.
If you’re reading this and can’t even begin to imagine yourself doing (and enjoying) this task, then invite your sister or a girlfriend over to help you. You know, the kind of friend that won’t flinch when you open the door without make-up on, or have opted to use your fingers as your styling brush. She is content with you putting the finishing touches on your packing list in another room. It’s a victory for her to help you get things done and it’s a bonus if she snags a bit of quality time with you.
It’s a win-win; you get the help you need and your friend gets to love on you.
If you are tackling this project on your own, but are frustrated in your spirit, then put on some music that makes you move and/or moves your spirit. As you move through the steps of being “snack savvy”, it is my hope that you will consider how much margin you’ll be creating for yourself and your family by doing this before you leave.Just think.
You’ve been in the car for
two hours 20 minutes and people are already jonesing for provisions like you’ve never fed them before.
Rather than listing all the snack options, opening the container for the first time at that moment, possibly ripping the top of the bag and then not being able to re-seal the bag to prevent further spills while trying to please the other children that are also suddenly starving, you have a visual, simple system available to any and all snackers.Group non-food items together and keep them in their original packages to decrease the chances of them being confused for edible items. Now is the time to see if the containers of the pre-packaged items (i.e. granola bars) can be used to pack/transport the other snacks; if not, flatten and recycle them.
This system helps not just when you’re traveling and on the road to visit or for vacation, but is also efficient for the days you take an excursion or are running around and want to take some food with you. Also, helpful for snacks in the after school pickup lane.
Remember to set aside some goodies for the return and enjoy your trip!