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Kid-Friendly Foods to Keep it Clean When Eating in the Car

Eating in the car is something all parents face with their kids from time to time; is it possible to feed your kids something good that will not end up smeared all over your seats?

In the Atlanta viewing area, there is a local commercial for a restaurant that features a mother with hungry kids in the car. The BBQ genie appears to tell her, “You gotta feed these kids when they are hungry!” Now, I’m not sure that that’s always strictly true, but in this crazy world of school, sports, plays, study groups, etc., there will no doubt be times when you will want to—need to, even—get your kids something healthy and on-the-go.

But, what about your car?

Kids are notorious for a lot of things, but being neat and tidy isn’t one of them! The BBQ genie in the commercial says she has the solution: A box. But, I have to digress: It just doesn’t seem likely that having a box to hold the meal is going to keep kids from getting rib sauce all over their faces, hands and, ultimately, all over your seats!

Maybe there are some better options.

The Classic PB Sandwich: Whether between two slices of bread or rolled into a tortilla, peanut butter is not going to drip, run, or have any reason to get all over your kids’ fingers (older kids, at least; younger kids may well go that extra mile and make that PB messiness happen). Leaving the jelly off is probably a good idea—it does add a pretty significant drip-ooze factor—but a side of apple slices is a healthy and tasty addition.
A Cheese Quesadilla: Place the cheese between two tortillas and heat in a dry pan on both side (in a pinch, you can even heat for about 30 seconds in the microwave). Also, slicing the quesadilla “pizza-style” makes it easier to pack, hold and share.
Pinwheel Sandwiches: Take a tortilla and spread it with whatever your kids like—hummus, cream cheese, turkey, cucumbers, roast beef, pimento cheese (of course, not all of these at the same time). Chill for a few minutes to make slicing easier, then just slice into nice, clean rounds.
And, a few ready-made (well, almost ready-made for a few of them) options: Cereal bars, pretzels, trail mix, grapes, carrot sticks, raisins, cheese sticks.

Of course, there will always be crumbs involved with any kind of eating in your car—do not get rid of the Car Vac! And, some parents ban eating in in their car completely because they worry that their child could get choked on something and they would be unable to help them—not a completely unreal fear. But, if you do choose to let your kids eat in the car, perhaps some of these ideas will help—and inspire some of your own, which we hope you will share with us in the comment section below!

Image: 2014 Honda Odyssey; read more about it here on TorqueNews!


John Goreham    March 20, 2014 - 11:39AM

Our last 2 family cars were an Outback and a Highlander. Both had cloth seats the color of chocolate chip cookie. That was after our first kid-years car had a black interior (mistake). The beige worked very well with kids snack foods and hid the stains the best. I have always wondered why an automaker has not actually named an interior "Chocolate-Chip."

shirl (not verified)    March 20, 2014 - 12:08PM

those are great suggestions. and they are healthy! instead of the quick stop at the drive thru, plan ahead and take snacks! save money, extra time stopping, and a lot of empty know, this is a good idea for ADULTS! :) OH, AND DON'T FOR GET THE WATER :) and those wonderful little ""butt wipes"" you can get at the dollar general for $1 a pack(80 wipes!) that are so awesome to keep in a ziplock bag for messy hands :)