Did you ever notice that there is no middle ground when it comes to kids and hunger?  They can be incredibly happy and busy when all of sudden, they are STARVING.  And, by the way, if they don’t have something to eat in the next 45 seconds, they just might not live.  This dire situation is never a problem at home – there are always snacks to be had.  But on the road, it’s a completely different story.   The time elapsed between the first “I’m hungry” and the tears can be just a matter of minutes.  It’s not unlike having a ticking time bomb walking next to you.  More than one family outing has been ruined due to unmet hunger needs.

Oh, did I mention that my kids are 10 and 12?

Yes, you read correctly.  This problem is not exclusive to toddlers.  In fact, I think growing kids are the most needy when it comes to food.  They need it fast.  It has to taste good.  And– if you are dealing with siblings – be sure that the treats are the exact same size, texture, color, flavor and brand or risk being cited for unfair parenting practices.

So when we found ourselves with the opportunity to go kayaking with friends, I decided to pre-empt any starvation situations.  I bought along two boxes of Strawberry and Chocolate Pop-Tarts.  The big question was:  Would we need them?

Who am I kidding?  We were kayaking to a dam about half a mile from any civilization or concession stand.  If that doesn’t scream hunger pains, I’m not sure what does.  Sure enough, halfway through our trip, someone got ravenous.  And as you know, “kid famine” is virally contagious.  Within minutes of the first outbreak, we had an epidemic.

Luckily, I had the perfect antidote.

Imagine everyone’s delight when I pulled out the Pop-Tarts!  These snacks were perfect for a few reasons:

  1. They travel extremely well with two Pop-Tarts in each waterproof (guess how we know this) wrapper.  They are also really easy to hold – no mess.
  2. The kids are used to enjoying Pop-Tarts for breakfast.  They were completely tickled to be eating them as a late day snack.  On a kayak no less!
  3. Different flavors suit different kids – everyone was happy with what they got
  4. They also work for grown-up hunger.  What can I say?
  5. It was a terrific energy boost for the long odyssey back to the dock – a trip that would have seemed like days if we had whiny, hungry grownups kids in tow.

As is always the situation with growing boys, sometimes just one Pop-Tart is not enough.  They kids ate the extras for dessert with our picnic when we returned.  “Better than cookies or brownies”, one kiddo remarked.

So many important ingredients go into a successful family outing.  We can’t control the weather – but we can control the hunger.  I think Pop-Tarts are going to be joining us on these trips for the rest of the summer.

What other minefields do you come across on family outings?  What little details can make or break a trip?  How have you dealt with these issues?  Or are you still dealing.  Leave a comment here to be entered to win $100 gift card from BlogHer.

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