Kid-Friendly Snacks To-Go

January 21, 2011 7:00 AM

Starbucks Kids Snacks


Traveling with youngsters often requires more than just planning the perfect kid-friendly car activities and packing up all required items for a day-long jaunt around Chicagoland; it also calls for knowing where to stop for a quick, {semi}healthy and tasty snacks when the kiddos need something to tide them over their hungry stomachs during the trip. Most pit stops listed feature convenient drive-thrus, myriad locations in the city and suburbs, readily available restrooms and caffeinated (or energy-boasting) beverage options for adults who also need a little something to make it through the drive (and Chicago traffic).



Starbucks Coffee
Locations: city and suburb wide

Though Starbucks doesn’t feature an actual kids’ menu, it’s the perfect pit stop to satisfy both mom or dad’s caffeine needs and tiny tummies who need a healthy, tasty snack while on the go. The coffee company’s new addition of the Artisan Snack Plates allows parents to provide quick yet filling sustenance when time is of the essence. Our favorite, the protein plate, packs 13 grams of protein and has only 370 calories while featuring enough finger food (cheese, a hardboiled egg, grapes, apples and peanut butter) to keep the children full and happy until arriving at our destination.

Jamba Juice
Locations: city and suburb wide

Slow-cooked steel cut oatmeal and 100 percent real fruit smoothies give Jamba Juice a healthy edge over fast food options. Though the large smoothies containing sherbet as a main ingredient are calorie-rich, Jamba Juice is a winning road-side stop because it features several smoothies with less than 250 calories. Plus, the smoothies are made from actual fruit and all real-food ingredients. Even those who need dairy-free beverages can find something filling and yummy. If an energy boost is needed, Jamba also offers freshly brewed coffee and hot tea options, too. Jamba Juice locations do not feature a drive-thru; however, our kids assure us that getting out of the car is definitely worth it while venturing into the smoothie bar. The quiet filling backseat usually solidifies those assurances.

Dunkin’ Donuts
Locations city and suburb wide

Names can be telling and deceiving at the same time, and so it is for Dunkin’ Donuts. Yes, the large chain has more high-calorie (but trans-fat free) donuts than could fill a small hatchback car, but it also prominently lists several healthy menu options on its DDSmarter menu. Fresh bananas, egg white and cheese English muffins and egg-white veggie flatbreads all have high nutritional value and are typically kid-pleasers. For mom and dad, the coffee is always hot, fresh- brewed and dressed anyway you’d like – from black, to cream and sugar or spiked with flavors like vanilla or caramel.

Locations city and suburb wide

Our family rarely ventures into the world of fast food, but when we’re traveling and need a quick snack, McDonalds has healthy menu options that appease almost everyone in the car. The McCafe menu choices please both coffee drinkers who enjoy their caffeine with no frills and those who like their daily espresso topped with whipped cream and chalked full of flavor (and calories). The munchkins can choose from milk, 100 percent apple juice or bottled water to drink and have a handful of healthy, naturally-sweetened snacks. The apple dippers with caramel or snack-size fruit and walnut salad are huge hits among the back-seat crowd while the snack size fruit and yogurt parfaits appease nearly every appetite, too. Each of the aforementioned snacks contains 280 calories or less.

Einstein Bros Bagels
Locations city and suburb wide

Einstein Bros Bagels is the perfect rest stop for families who need to stretch their legs, refuel and hit the restroom when there’s time to spare, as most locations don’t have a drive thru. Public restrooms, a darn good coffee and tea selection and scrumptious treats coupled with quick service, however, make this stop worthwhile. Children of all ages appreciate the vast variety of bagels (chocolate chip) and enjoy indulging in the fruit and yogurt parfait (big enough to split between two younger siblings). Tread lightly in the bakery department, as most of the baked goods pack quite the sugar punch unless reloading sugar-packed troops into the car makes the trip more exciting than grating.

Hyacynth Worth writes about raising boys, healthy parenting, faith and everything else included in arena of motherhood at Undercover Mother.

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