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Low Stress Holiday Nutrition Tips for Mums (And Kids!)

Summer holidays… As mums we yearn for family time, sunshine and making memories.

Throw in the odd ten minutes to read a book uninterrupted and we’re happy.

And while we might get to enjoy all those things, my experience as a mum of two is that alongside the fun is endless bickering, longer days and constant requests for food!

We go to Cornwall on holiday each year and I can guarantee that my eldest son will ask for a snack sometime around 25 minutes into the 6-hour drive. Every time.

So, how to feed the kids and yourself with as little stress as possible this summer? Here are my top tips.

In The Car

Let’s start with food on a road trip. I always have a cool bag at my feet in the passenger seat, packed to the brim with options to keep everyone happy. For me the key is mixing up what I offer the kids – if it’s just sugar, somewhere around hour four tempers flare. Mine and theirs.

Even though not much energy is expended sitting in the car, we want to keep everyone’s blood sugar steady. Big drops in blood sugar because of skipped meals or too much sweet stuff and everyone will feel it –more tired and more shouty usually. We keep blood sugar levels steady by aiming to combine some protein sources with some carbohydrate, and ideally some healthy fats too, every time we eat.

Protein can be eggs, meat, fish, dairy, nuts or seeds.

Carbohydrate can be crackers, bread or vegetables, and healthy fats might be eggs, nuts, seeds, avocado or hummus.

Snack packs are quick to put together ahead of the journey and depending on the age of your children are great for independent grazing. I go for lidded boxes with 4-6 compartments, and I add rolled up turkey or ham, strawberries or apple slices, cubes of cheese, miniature crackers, mini biscuits (always a hit) and a colourful vegetable like carrot batons or red peppers slices.

The key here is the protein from the meat and the cheese – this will help support those blood sugar levels and keep the mood in the car on the right side of jolly. (Hopefully.)

If it’s a long journey or you just haven’t had the time to prepare anything, Services on motorways can offer some healthy options. Look for packs of carrots sticks and hummus or apple slices with peanut butter, or cheese wrapped in ham.

I’ll always search out pre-cut fruit of any kind. Yogurt pouches are also brilliant – minimal mess but a hit of protein with a little sweetness.

What about crisps and sweets? Let’s face it they make a long journey a little easier, but in my experience making sure there are more nutritious options alongside them makes a big difference to how everyone gets along as the hours roll by!

Days Out

If time allows, I’ll always aim to take food with me if we’re heading out for the day. Mainly as it’s so much cheaper than a sandwich and a bag of crisps in a museum or a park café for example, but also because my youngest son has a dairy intolerance so I like to make sure I have food he can eat. If you find yourself getting bored of making sandwiches, or you want to get the kids involved too, here are some of my go-to ideas:

· Pots of dips with mini pittas and crudites. Look for guacamole, hummus and tsatsiki.

· Boiled eggs (try seasoning with sea salt and drizzle with apple cider vinegar)

· Mini skewers with cherry tomatoes and mozzarella, or cheddar with cucumber slices.

· Mini corn on the cobs

· Savoury popcorn – look for ketchup-flavoured

· Slices of watermelon or cantaloupe

· Dried fruit – I like Crazy Jacks mini packs of dried mango

· Cooked chicken goujons

On Holiday

A steady supply of snacks is often required! Kids often graze by nature, responding to their body’s cues for hunger and needing energy boosts between meals especially on active days.

Once we’re on holiday, I tend to relax and let my kids enjoy what they fancy but I always make sure that a good breakfast is non-negotiable. A few easy ones if you’re self-catering would be scrambled eggs on toast or porridge with nut butter and banana.

Again, try to get some protein into that first meal of the day to kickstart their energy (and yours) and to help support blood sugar levels through the morning. If you’re in a hotel, for example, always offer protein with whatever else they’ve chosen, whether that’s some meat or cheese or eggs. This will also make it less likely they’ll feel hungry within an hour or two of breakfast.

For lunch I always encourage fruit for pudding too. Ice cream can follow but offering them some colourful options to tempt them (and hydrate them) is always worth a go.

I have put together these ideas and many more in my FREE Super Snacks for Summer Recipe Collection. Use this link to request yours. Mostly ready in 5 minutes, use them for keeping them nourished, as well as yourself.


About the author:

Thalia Pellegriniis a BANT-registered nutritional therapist with more than a decade of experience. Known as the Knackered Mums Nutritionist, she runs her clinic online and sees clients around the world. She offers her signature 1:1 Revitalise package, as well as her 6-month group program The Energised Mum Method and runs The Mother Retreat. She supports time-poor mums to nourish themselves and works to address health issues ranging from PCOS to PMS to perimenopause and low energy, anxiety and fatigue.

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