The road trip is a family vacation classic. But long hours on the road with breaks only at highway rest stops and fast food chains can make for a cranky carload of people. Thankfully, there are ways to keep everybody happy and healthy.
Bring a cooler and pack it with water and juice rather than soda.
Instead of the usual pit stops, go to a supermarket and pick up healthier snacks like nuts and fruit. Hit the salad bar and buy cold cuts and cheese to make your own sandwiches.
For impromptu picnics, always have paper plates, plastic utensils, and one real knife on hand.
Pack a blanket or sheet in the car, so that you'll have a place to sit near the playground, at the beach, or just some grassy patch at a rest stop. Another good idea is to look for the local elementary school--they usually have playground equipment.
At snack time, portion control is essential. Measure out the appropriate amount and put it in a Ziploc bag. Otherwise, the kids might keep digging for more--and probably make a mess while they're doing so.
When it comes time to choose a place to stay, pick a hotel with a pool. Having the kids play around the pool is much better than them being stuck in the room watching TV. Unless, of course, they're watching the Budget Travel Minute.