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Road tripping? These 10 simple snacks are way more fun than trail mix
10 inexpensive, simple, and creative substitutes for trail mix that will keep you and your family healthy and happy on those long car rides. - photo by Danielle Christensen
This summer vacation whether you're headed to Disneyland, national parks, or your in-law's, it's time to start packing up the snacks. But when it comes to long hours in the car and "starving" children in the back seat, there's a point when trail mix just doesn't cut it. Here are ten healthy and easy alternatives that will ensure your trip gets off to a good start.

1. When in doubt, don't throw it out

It's always a frustrating feeling when your knife hits the bottom of the peanut butter jar and comes away empty. But wait! Instead of tossing the jar in the trash, run it through the dishwasher. Before leaving for vacation, fill one fourth of the cleaned jar with new peanut butter, place some celery sticks inside, and voila! You have happiness in a bottle, my friends. What's not to love about that?

2. Keep it sweet

When the kids (or you) are feeling cramped and cranky, treat yourself. Go on. Pass out the cookies. To avoid a sugar rush, be sure to indulge in sneakily healthy versions. Stick to recipes with ingredients like applesauce, oatmeal, and craisins. The kids think they're getting dessert...You will think you're getting dessert! It's a win-win situation.

Don't have time to make cookies the night before? Bake them earlier in the week and keep them in the freezer until you're ready to go!

3. Make it a poppin' good time

Let's be honest; Popcorn balls are fun, but time consuming. A healthy and less sticky substitute is air popped popcorn drizzled with olive oil. It takes only minutes to create and when divided into sandwhich sized baggies, is easy to pass around the car.

4. Spice things up

Have you ever wondered what to do with that lonely can of chickpeas in your cupboard? Try roasting them! All it takes is paprika, garlic powder, salt, and olive oil. Leave it in the oven for a good twenty minutes and you'll be surprised at the easy and delicious snack food you've created.

5. Dish out the dip

Want some good old fashioned dip for your vegetables but want to keep it healthy? Try garnishing some carrot sticks or sugar snap peas with hummus. Whether you make it or buy it, hummus can dress up a number of veggies in no time.

6. Bag some baguettes

There's something satisfying about a little crunch every now and then, but a box of crackers can be pricy and disappears quickly in the car. Solution? Slice some baguettes and toast them in the oven. Dipped in hummus, baguettes make a great snack that will keep you fuller longer than just plain crackers.

7. Put a ring on it

A simple, yet classy choice for your next road trip are apple rings. How it's done: core an apple, slice it thin, and sprinkle cinnamon, cloves, and other spices on top. The best part? They're fun to eat! Plus, there's no need for extra sugar.

8. Save your straws

Whether you forgot the plastic spoons or are afraid of a nasty spill, never understimate the importance of a good straw. Believe it or not, a straw can be a life saver for your little one. Whether it's yogurt or applesauce, straws are a great car ride hack to avoid spills. Something as simple as a straw can ensure you won't be spending your vacation cleaning out the car you arrived in.

9. Juice things up

When the family needs a little pick-me-up, consider passing around juice boxes. The multi-flavor packs are a great way to make sure everyone gets their favorite flavor. Just make sure to look for 100% juice so you aren't drinking excess sugar.

10. And that's a wrap!

Tortillas aren't just for tacos - they also make fabulous finger food! Using peanut butter for a spread, roll up with strawberries, bananas or whatever fruit your heart desires for a less crumbly version of a PB&J. Call it lunch in the palm of your hand or call is bliss, this snack is a cinch.