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9 Healthy Road Trip Snacks for the Whole Family

9 Healthy Road Trip Snacks for the Whole Family

Traveling is exciting but can be difficult with a car full of hungry kids. To keep everyone happy we like to get creative and pack an assortment of healthy road trip snacks. When we’re prepared with homemade real food snacks, we tend to avoid the overly processed stuff available along the road (and everyone feels better).

1. Wellness Energy Bars from The Wellness Mama

Wellness Energy Bars from The Wellness Mama

2. Roasted Chickpeas from Stuffed Suitcase

Roasted Chickpeas from Stuffed Suitcase

3. Peanut Granola Bars from The Healthy Maven

Peanut Granola Bars from The Healthy Maven

4. No Bake Energy Bites from Cooking Classy

No Bake Energy Bites from Cooking Classy

5. Baked Oatmeal Fruit Cups from The Wholesome Dish

Baked Oatmeal Fruit Cups from The Wholesome Dish

6. Savory Vegetable Terrine from Gourmande in the Kitchen

Savory Vegetable Terrine from Gourmande in the Kitchen

7. Blueberry Vanilla Greek Yogurt Bars from Half Baked Harvest

Blueberry Vanilla Greek Yogurt Bars from Half Baked Harvest

8. Parmesan Quinoa Bites from Whole Lifestyle Nutrition

Parmesan Quinoa Bites from Whole Lifestyle Nutrition

9. Easy Homemade Cheese Crackers from Living Well Mom

Easy Homemade Cheese Crackers from Living Well Mom

See more healthy road trip lunch ideas and snacks to make and pack. Happy traveling!

Post courtesy of our friends at Mighty Nest.

 

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Road Trip Essentials: What to Pack When Traveling with Kids

traveling with kids

Everyone looks forward to summer vacation: school is out, work slows down and it’s the best time to plan a few trips with your family. Whether they are short trips for a weekend away, or a long flight across the country, traveling with kids is a challenge, so here are some tips to help you prepare for your next summer outing.

Listen

With the pull of social media, it’s nice to find something to do in the car so that kids spend time looking out the window instead of staring at a screen. Downloading audio podcasts is a favorite of ours for long road trips. Look at Common Sense Media for age-appropriate recommendations. Find a biography, a book-on-tape (like the Penderwicks, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle or James and the Giant Peach), or choose from the seemingly endless list of riveting TedTalks (about everything from Bees to Creativity), and time will fly by.

Read

Many schools have a summer reading list, so road trips and flights are the best time to get going on reading homework. If books aren’t holding your child’s attention, try checking out magazines from the library. Little kids will love Ladybug and Spider, and our all-time favorite is Stone Soup. Also try books with riddles or poems like Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein or science books like Exploratopia by San Francisco’s Exploratorium.

Play

Any version of Taboo is a great road trip game, and even the drivers can play without taking their eyes off the road. Similar to Password, one person tries to get everyone else to say a word by saying anything except the “taboo” words listed on their card. It’s tricky and encourages some creativity. And, there’s always the old-fashioned license plate game that can keep kids busy for hours. Everyone in the car keeps a list of all the states they can find represented by license plates on passing cars. It’s easy to change the game depending on the ages of the kids: after older children find a state, they can name the states that border it, or name the state’s capital. Also try homemade travel board games like travel tic-tac-toe or a marble maze. You could also pass the time by sewing your course on a map, then you can keep the map later as a souvenir.

Eat

Of course traveling with kids is never easy without snacks to help perk up weary minds and pass the time. Pack more than you think you’ll need, and include a variety of healthy snacks, dips and treats. Try these energy bar and bite recipes, full of protein, easy to make (many are no-bake) and store, and low in sugar. Cut fruit or a selection of veggies and dips are also great road-trip snacks. For a longer trip, try these healthy lunch ideas. Pack your snacks in easy-to-clean, leak-resistant stainless steel containers. Don’t forget to bring water in glass water bottles. It will also be handy to have your reusable bottles and containers at your destination for family outings.

Photo courtesy of SuperShuttle.

10 Tips to Help You Raise Eco-Conscious Kids

Tips to Raise Eco-Conscious Kids

To ensure that our planet remains healthy for future generations, it’s our responsibility to teach kids how to be eco-conscious. According to the EPA, Americans generate about 254 million tons of trash every year. That breaks down to 4.4 pounds of trash per person per day. And, we’re only recycling and composting about 1.5 pounds of that waste. Each bag of trash we roll out to the curb has to be collected, then taken to a landfill where it’s either buried or burned.

Unfortunately, neither burning trash nor burying it is good for the planet. According to National Geographic’s story Human Footprint: Where Does All the Stuff Go? burning trash releases gasses into the air, contributing to dangerous smog. Burying trash in landfills simply covers it up, and because the trash isn’t exposed to air and water, it fails to break down and instead releases toxins into our air, soil and groundwater.

Trash is just part of our environmental problem. Our carbon footprint also includes the cars we drive, the electricity we use, the water we waste and the food we buy. Almost every action we take somehow impacts our planet.

The good news is that we can lower our impact with a few easy changes, and we can teach our children to be mindful of their everyday behaviors to decrease their carbon footprint as well. Follow these 10 tips to raise eco-conscious kids:

Flip the switch

Don’t waste unnecessary electricity. Even very young kids can be mindful of their electricity usage and should turn off lights and other electronics when not in use.

Turn off the faucet

Another great way to help younger kids participate is to help them remember to turn off the faucet when they are soaping up their hands or brushing their teeth.

Don’t toss out food

According to the NRDC, “40 percent of food in the United States today goes uneaten. This not only means that Americans are throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion each year, but also that the uneaten food ends up rotting in landfills as the single largest component of U.S. municipal solid waste where it accounts for a large portion of U.S. methane emissions.” Don’t toss out food. Begin a family compost effort so that food can be used to help the Earth, not linger in landfills.

Start a family garden

The best way to help the Earth is to plant more green! Organic produce gardens, flower gardens or shrubs and trees all help the planet. Every bit of green adds more oxygen and eliminates carbon dioxide from the environment.

Leave the car at home

Driving creates pollution. Bike or walk with kids when you’re able. Encourage them to embrace more natural, eco-friendly forms of transportation.

Donate clothes, shoes and toys

It’s best to buy fewer clothes, and try shopping at consignment and vintage shops. If you do have items that you don’t need, don’t toss them in the trash. Instead, donate used items to a local charity or thrift store. Your older items may be someone else’s treasure.

Limit red meat

Red meat and carbon dioxide go hand-in-hand. According to the World Resources Institute, raising cattle for beef uses an incredible amount of resources like pasture and water, and “ruminants, of which cattle are the most common, accounted for nearly half of all agricultural production-related greenhouse gas emissions in 2010.”

Pick it up

Trash and litter pollutes our planet. Teach kids to not be a “litter bug” and encourage them to pick up trash when they see it lying around in parks, beaches or other areas.

Reuse

Saving the environment means reusing items when possible. Buy books and other items at thrift stores and donate them back. Use reusable water bottles and lunch containers so your kids limit single-use plastic and learn that everyday actions can have a huge impact.

Recycle

Even though recycling is not the answer to our waste problem, it is important to do if you have items that can be recycled. Glass, paper and aluminum can usually be easily and efficiently recycled. Check with your local waste-management service to find out which plastic products can be recycling in your county.

This is a guest post, with edits, from Uma Campbell.

The Sustainable Thanksgiving Table

thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Whether you are hosting or visiting with friends or family, we love having personal touches on our table. Involve your children by working on homemade crafts to add to the meaning of the holiday.

Homemade Place Cards

Thanksgiving is not a meal you have every day. You may only see these friends or family members on special occasions. So make it personal and special by setting the table with thoughtful, homemade place cards.

Give your kids a list of all the guests who will be in attendance or offer to bring the place cards to whoever is hosting. Start with some recycled card stock, cut into 7” x 5” rectangles and let the creativity flow. Get ideas from these homemade place cards.

Thankful Placemats

Share why you’re thankful at your dinner table by making placemats out of recycled butcher paper. Ask your kids to write the statement, “I am thankful for” on the top of each with 3-5 lines or bullet points. Maybe they include a word of gratitude at each place setting. See a Thanksgiving placemat example here.

As your meal is getting started or wrapping up ask guests to fill in the blanks and then share around the table. This is an easy way to incorporate the meaning of the holiday into your meal.

Natural Table Decorations

Traditional Fall colors are beautiful on a Thanksgiving table. Hunt around your garden for eucalyptus, rosemary, olive or other holiday leaves. Add branches, lavender, gourds, berries or other natural decorations. No need to purchase anything that gets tossed into landfill, use your natural decorations all season, then add to the compost bin after the holidays. See some beautiful, natural Thanksgiving table decorations here.

Looking for more Thanksgiving inspiration? Visit our Pinterest Board full of ideas for the holidays. Happy Thanksgiving!

How to Plan an Eco-Friendly Halloween

eco-friendly

Halloween is notoriously one of the most wasteful holidays because just about everything is wrapped in plastic and designed for single-use. From costumes and decorations to candy and parties, Halloween can take a toll on the environment.

However, with a little planning, it’s possible to participate in Halloween fun without creating all the waste!

Hand out plastic-free treats

There is a movement to replace candy treats with healthier alternatives, but this often means families are giving out plastic—and sometimes toxic—throwaway treats like glowsticks, plastic toys and juice boxes.

Instead, hand out eco-friendly treats that inspire creativity:

• Paper folding fortune tellers
• Origami animal shapes
• Felted wool animals
• Pencils and erasers
• Riddles on paper
• Small homemade books
• Seed packets

Make your costumes

Store-bought costumes are not only usually disposable, but they can sometimes contain dangerous chemicals and toxic flame retardants. Also look for alternatives to traditional face paints, and see the results of a report that tested 48 Halloween face paints for heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium and lead. You don’t have to know how to sew to put together creative homemade Halloween costumes. Find out how to make eco-friendly costumes from things you have around the house by visiting our Pinterest board.

Use plastic-free treat bags

Forgo the plastic pumpkin bucket and use a small cotton treat bag that also doubles as a lunch bag. Get one here with a reusable cotton napkin for $5.95. They’re the perfect sustainable party favor too.

Use earth-friendly decorations

It’s much more fun to spend an afternoon with your kids making decorations out of fabric or recycled paper rather than going to the party store. Black construction paper bats, cheesecloth spider webs, candelabras, old branches and vintage decorations can be used over and over again. Use old clothes to make a newspaper-stuffed headless man for your front porch. And don’t forget to compost your pumpkins when Halloween is over. See our Halloween Pinterest board for some DIY eco-friendly decorating ideas.

3 Halloween Costume Ideas You Can Make!

halloween

Autumn is here and Halloween is just around the corner. Halloween is a fun holiday full of treats, scares and the opportunity to dress up! Making your own Halloween costume allows you to be creative, have fun, save money, and lessen your impact on the environment.

Here are three ideas for costumes you can easily assemble using found materials or items you may already have around the house. These ideas work for men, women, and children’s costumes.

Mummy

Turn an old white bed sheet or piece of fabric into a DIY mummy costume! Start by taking 5-10 teabags and placing them in a bucket of boiling water. Let the tea steep for 20 minutes and place the old sheet in the water. Soak the sheet for an hour to give the fabric an aged appearance. Hang the sheet outside to dry or place in the dryer. Cut or rip the fabric into long strips. Put on white or light colored clothing and find a volunteer to help you wrap strips around your arms, legs, torso and neck!

Witches and Wizards

If you’re in a time crunch and need a quick and easy costume, this is for you! All you need to make your Witch or Wizard hat are paper, scissors, a ruler and some double stick tape. Follow the step by step instructions here.

Finish off your costume with items from your closet or a thrift store. For a witch costume, find a black dress, striped tights, black shoes and a broom. For a wizard costume, find a robe, graduation gown, or make your own with a sheet or tablecloth.

Cardboard Dinosaur

We love this idea from hello, Wonderful that we couldn’t help but share. This is not only a great idea for kids but adults as well. All you need are three cardboard boxes, paint, white mat board, glue and scissors.

These costume ideas are just a starting point. Exercise your imagination and embellish your costume anyway you like. Check out our Pinterest Halloween board for more suggestions on eco-friendly costumes and decorations!