(ARA) Ever see a well-prepared mom offer her child a little bag of carrots or crackers and think, “Wow, she’s on the ball!”   

You’re right. Moms and dads who remember to pack healthful organic snacks for their kids are less likely to incur the crying and moodiness that comes with hunger and boredom. Parents would do well to take the time to pack snacks before hopping in the car or boarding a plane or train, says registered dietitian Toby Amidor, MS, RD, a culinary instructor at The Art Institute of New York City and the busy mother of a 5-year-old, a 2-year-old and a newborn.   

“No matter the length of the trip, be ready with snacks,” she says. “Kids get hungry after 5 minutes in the car or just waiting to board a plane.”   

Food safety is the No. 1 priority for Amidor.   

“Stay away from foods that spoil easily,” she says. “If you pack foods that need to be kept cold, make them the night before your trip, and keep them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to leave. Foods from the fridge should be eaten within 4 hours of being taken out.” If they’ll be out longer, use an icepack to keep snacks cold in a thermal lunch bag.   

Among Amidor’s favorite healthy snacks for the road are peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cheese sticks, egg salad on whole-wheat bread, or cream cheese and cucumber on a whole-wheat pita. And as a registered dietitian, it’s no surprise she promotes fruit for kids. Her favorites? Easy-to-eat clementines, grapes and bananas.   

Remember to keep your children hydrated during long trips. Amidor’s children are veterans of several trips to Israel, and she ensures they drink plenty of water. How can you be sure your kids are drinking enough?   

“They should be taking trips to the bathroom,” she says. “That’s the best way to know—and if they’re still in diapers, those diapers should be wet!”   

Tune in tomorrow for Part 2 of this story.