Commuting to and from childcare and school can be a challenge on the best of days, as many parents tell Kellie Connor, the Centre Manager at Guardian Childcare & Education, South Melbourne.
When faced with a tired and hungry child it can become more than a little difficult, so we like to offer fruit near the door so little ones can grab something for their journey home.
If you’re looking for things to carry with you for the commute, there are a number of factors one must consider when choosing the right snacks:
• Is it nutritious?
• Will it ruin their appetite for dinner?
• Is it going to be smeared or splattered all over the car/bus/train?
To help keep the belly rumbles at bay, Vanessa Schuldt, Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) at Nutrition Speak, recommends the following tasty and nutritious snacks for the commute – that won’t ruin their appetites!
Plain popcorn: It’s an awesome ‘wholegrain’ snack with a high fibre and antioxidant content.
Home-made trail pack: Combine a mix of sultanas, mixed nuts, sunflower or pumpkin seeds and popcorn. Keep them fresh and portable in a zip-lock bag.
Fresh fruit: Think portable fruits that are easy to eat like mandarin segments, grapes, bananas, apple slices, rockmelon chunks, cherry tomatoes, blueberries etc.
Home-made mini berry muffins: Make these with wholemeal flour, wrap individually and freeze for future snacking.
Chunky fresh fruit salad: Serve this in a spill-proof snack container. Make it extra fun at home by serving the salad in an ice cream cone (line the cone with cupcake paper to stop it from going soggy).
Raisin bread or a date scone: Spread with a little margarine or butter.
Reduced-fat fruit yoghurt: Choose a yoghurt in a squeeze tube to reduce mess. Reusable squeeze tubes are even better.
Vegetables: Choose easy to eat and transport veggies like carrot sticks, celery sticks, capsicum slices, green beans, grape tomatoes and serve with a healthy dip like hummus or tzatziki.
Corn on the cob: Corn leftover from last night’s dinner makes for a tasty snack the next day.
High-fibre breakfast cereal buds/bites eg. Sultana Bran or Fruity Bites: Great to eat even without milk. Keep fresh in a zip lock bag.
Wholemeal crackers: Serve with cream cheese and pickled gherkins.
Rye or chia mountain bread with avocado: Assemble this before you leave work/home.
Rice cakes: Smear this with a little peanut butter or Vegemite.
Note: A child’s ability to grind food with their teeth and is limited until they are at least four years old, which puts babies at risk of choking. Some foods that pose the greatest choking risk for babies and toddlers include raw apple pieces, grapes, raw carrots, celery, raw peas, dried fruits, nuts and seeds (including popcorn kernels). So please take your child’s developmental readiness and skills into account before offering any new food and always supervise your child as they eat.