In the summer, we somehow find ourselves spending a lot more time in the car and a lot more time outside. From trips to the pool and beach to carpools to and from camp, the car is our home away from home. With hungry swimmers and campers, avoiding extra stops and getting from “point a” to “point b” in a timely manner, having a well stocked trunk is essential. Our summers consist of Farm share pickup at Lindentree Farm, pool evenings at the town pool, coming and going to various summer camps, and a few road trips to New York City and up north.
Part of parenting is keeping your children well fed and hydrated I’ve been told, and in the summer that means stocking a cooler with drinks. The car gets too hot for most fresh food, so I keep the cooler full of seltzer (the cooler keeps the seltzer from getting too hot, but it doesn’t keep them cool unless I add ice every day, but who has time for that?!). I keep the cooler full and it seems to work. If I have time to stop at home before picking up the kids, I will fill two cups with ice so they can pour their drinks over ice. I will also grab a few carrots, celery sticks, a pint of berries or something fresh. As for the rest of it, I try to keep snacks that can withstand the heat in a bin in the car.
The snacks can get a bit tricky. For most of the year, I use reusable containers and fill them up with snacks, but there are times when I give in and go for individually packed treats for convenience and as a back up for days when I’ve forgotten to stop and pick anything up. I try to have peanut butter crackers and nuts for a little protein, I’ve started to keep the Strong & Kind Bars in the car for myself (I’m a little obsessed with the Jalapeño ones), then there is popcorn and some pretzels. I always like to have some gluten free options, because a few of our friends are gluten free so popcorn and rice crackers usually fit the bill and we like those too.
For sweetness we usually have some fruit leathers (the Simply Balanced fruit strips from Target are a favourite of ours) and then I like to have a little cookie or something sweet, but with the hot car, most of our sweet treats get too sticky. I was recently sent some samples of a favourite family treat: Shortbread. Unlike most packaged cookies the shortbreads have just a few simple ingredients which makes us all happy.
Shortbreads are the perfect traveling treat. They are sweet and rich, but not too sweet. They don’t make a crumbly mess like the crunchy granola bars I used to keep around. Even the chocolate chip ones work in the car because the chips are small so they don’t make too much of a melted chocolate mess. These cookies made an appearance at our Fourth of July picnic at the pool and they were a big hit. They are also going to be in the kids’ car kit for our long drive up north for vacation. The cookies are packed two to a package and the boxes can be ordered on Amazon with 24 packs to a box. For a picnic with friends I also like the Walker’s Shortbread mini fingers. They come in a pack of 24 mini shortbread fingers. Now if only I had thought to put one of those cookie packs in my computer bag. I’m feeling a little peckish right now!