To Dadi Ma’s House We Go! Fun and Healthy Snacks for the Road
By Leena D. Saini
“Mommy! I’m hungry!”
“But we just pulled out of the driveway! How can you be hungry already?!”
What is it about a road trip that makes everyone so hungry? Maybe you are going on a family vacation or to Dadi Ma’s house. You spend days, if not weeks, packing…especially if you have small children like I do, ages three and 10 months. Clothes, strollers, bibs, bottles, diapers, stuffed toys, you name it.
But none of this, not even the destination, seems to matter, because five minutes after getting into the car, your little one wants to know what snacks you packed.
Ok, it’s not just your little one. Maybe it’s your husband too.
Oh alright, and me as well.
Food always seems to taste better on the road! I have distinct and fond memories as a little kid in the back seat on a long trip. It was comforting; mummy and daddy up front, and me looking out the window, watching trees go by and happily nibbling away on all sorts of goodies.
Making Road Food Fun and Easy
Does packing a supply of food and snacks for the entire family seem time-consuming and overwhelming? It doesn’t have to be! In fact, packing goodies for the road is super simple and fun, not to mention healthier and less expensive. Here are some ideas:
- Food “Presents”
When I was little, my mom always packed food for trips in fun containers and parcels. Aluminum foil, parchment paper, even brown butcher paper made for exciting little “presents,” each one containing a healthy and tasty snack. What fun it was to unwrap each little culinary mystery and gobble up what was inside!
Make it even more fun by creating separate lunch bags for each family member. Use simple brown paper bags and task older children with decorating each one with markers or stickers. Fill each bag with your food “presents.”
Other fun containers? Plastic Tupperware decorated with stickers, old-fashioned metal lunchboxes (readily found at dollar stores these days), bento boxes and tiffins are also good ways to pack your food.
- Foods to Pack: Think Nutritious
When packing road snacks, always remember to bring items that don’t need refrigeration (unless you are bringing a cooler). And think nutritious. Since each little parcel contains a few bites of food, make sure each bite is packed with something healthy and nourishing. Here are my top ten foods to wrap up in aluminum or paper parcels:
- Aloo parantha triangles.
- Hard-boiled eggs, halved and sprinkled with garam masala or paprika.
- Fresh cucumber and coriander chutney sandwiches, cut into triangles.
- Mumra-kishmish“balls” (create by mixing peanut butter and honey together, then adding mumra and kishmish. Form into bite-sized balls. Best for older kiddies!).
- Raisin bread and cream cheese sandwiches, cut into triangles.
- Baby carrots, cucumber slices or celery sticks.
- Sliced bananas rolled in a crushed cereal of your choice (the cereal prevents the bananas from being too sticky to eat).
- Cracker sandwiches (A kid favorite! Have fun with the fillings! Peanut butter, soy butter, honey, cheese, jelly, etc.).
- Baked pita wedges (brush pita halves with olive oil, garlic and parmesan, or seasoning of your choice. Bake at 200 degrees for 5 minutes for a crispy, tasty “chip”).
- My personal favorite road trip food?
Subji sandwiches made in a camp sandwich maker or pie iron (readily found in big box stores or on Amazon). Best. Food. Ever. These sandwiches can be filled with any subji you have leftover (aloo muttar and aloo gobi are my favorites) and become almost stitched together while cooking.
The filling is sealed in and you can eat them with your hands, no utensils needed, and with practically no mess. The recipe is simple:
Subji Campfire Sandwiches
½ cup subji filling of your choice
White or wheat sandwich bread
- Butter two slices of bread.
- Using a knife or spoon, spread about ½ cup filling onto non-buttered slice of bread.
- Cover with second slice of bread (butter side out) to create a sandwich.
- Place sandwich in pie oven, close, and roast on stovetop over medium heat, turning pie oven over frequently to cook both sides, about 3 minutes a side.
- Pop out, cool and pack!
Safe travels and have fun creating food memories with your family. It’s all about the journey after all!
For more baby and toddler food ideas, please visit my blog, Masala Baby Food at www.masalababyfood.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/masalababyfood.
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It’s so funny how life rotates 180 degrees and then a whole 360 degrees. I have such vivid memories of being 7 years young, with my “wrapped” subji sandwich that my mom so meticulously put together for me. And then the feelings embarrassment that my food looked and smelled so differently from my peers. Two decades later, as an adult when I bring cultural foods to potlucks or my workplace, everyone flocks to my seat; curious to know what I’ve got. I’m not a mum just yet, but when I am, I’m encourage by these posts to see how far we’ve come. We truly live in an era where foods from all over the world are celebrated.
Thanks for sharing, and thanks for the walk down memory lane.