As I've mentioned before, my husband and I both work full time, and so we don't get to spend a ton of time during the week. As a result, we try to make the weekends as family-oriented as possible. (I mean, between all the birthday parties, play dates, and random events, that is.) We try to do something fun, as a family, every Sunday, be it something big (apple picking, museum, street fair) or small (baking, local park, bike riding). We pick one thing to do, and then sort of let the rest of the day fall into place around that. And it's been fantastic. Except for one thing...
You ever been to a bowling alley? Tons of fun for the whole family! Rented shoes! Lebowski jokes! FRIED FOOD AND CANDY EVERYWHERE OH MY WORD THE FRIED FOOD AND CANDY. My kids alternate between (bumper) bowling during their turns, and asking for soda and Snickers bars while they wait.
While we generally have a great time on these little Sunday adventures, I find myself torn between letting the kids eat their weight in nachos/caramel apples/fries (it's the weekend!") and maintaining some semblance of order ("that right there is a fried nacho covered caramel apple, WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO STREET FAIR FOOD THESE DAYS?"). I'm all for rationalizing some stuff (ice cream equals calcium, is one of my favorites), but not ALL of the stuff.
Something that I've started doing is maintaining a "moveable pantry" on hand in the car for these situations. I've put together a little bag we can just keep there with some kid-friendly non-perishable snacks. My kids don't have any nut allergies, so I keep some candied nuts in there, along with yogurt-covered raisins, other assorted dried fruits (craisins, mango, pineapple), crackers and bagel chips, and granola/KIND bars. I also occasionally try to change it up, throwing in something new (dried kiwi, anyone?) just to keep it interesting for them. Now, I can't say that we always go toward the bag first, but the kids know it's there, and - crucially - like all of the stuff that's in there. There may or may not be the occasional ice cream lunch when we're out on the road, but for the most part (calcium, I tell you! CALCIUM!), the bag has been a success whenever anyone starts in with "I'm hunnnngry."
What about you? What are some strategies and snack ideas that work well for you when you're out with your kids?