Summer road trip season is starting to wind down but fall trips to go apple picking, exploring pumpkin patches, and then of course family gatherings are all just around the corner. One challenge that dads have is planning and packing good quality healthy snacks that will keep the kids happy on a road trip but in the right portion sizes so that there’s no fighting, no waste, and no over consumption. With the INKBIRDPLUS vacuum sealer, we might have found the perfect solution.
Before we begin, I want to note that INKBIRDPLUS is a sub brand of INKBIRD, a company who we’ve become big fans of over the past few months across a few different products that they make. Their quality and prices have always been great with measuring temperature and environmental sensors, so we were very excited to take this vacuum sealer for a spin too.
So, to test it out, I put together a quick “snack bag” consisting of some chicharrons, crackers, and a few pieces of cheese. While this still needs to be kept cold, one huge advantage here is that in humid conditions that you might get during summer road trips - this will prevent the crackers from getting soggy. Plus, it saves a ton of space since you aren’t having to pack over-inflated bags or half-empty boxes. Also, as any dad knows - sometimes kids can be picky, so if one kid wants Wheat-Thins and the other wants Chicken in a Biskit … now everyone can be happy!
I honestly wasn’t sure if the INKBIRDPLUS vacuum sealer would work with the chicharrones since they can be pretty fragile sometimes. However, I used the pulse mode initially and later tried again with the automatic sensor and both times it sealed things perfectly. Dare I say it … I think the vacuum sealing actually made them more crush resistant than being loose in a sandwich baggy!
Portion Size Is The Key To Healthy Snacking
When you buy a bag of chips, cookies, or even a bag of trail-mix there’s typically two options - buy a big family sized bag or a smaller individual sized bag that is far more expensive. What if you could buy that bigger bag though and break it down into individual portions without dealing with the stuff getting stale from sitting in baggies for days or even weeks? You could even create your own individual mixed snacks by taking some trail-mix, chocolate chips and a couple cookies and sealing it all in the bag days ahead of time so it’s ready to go when you are.
Best of all, you can keep the portions right for your kids so that they get enough energy to keep going but not enough to ruin their schedule for dinner.
Sometimes you feel compelled to “finish the bag” rather than letting things go stale and that’s a bad habit that we all need to break as well. However, I decided to see if the sealer would work on that bag of chicharrones I used earlier and guess what … it sealed it back up nice
But Don’t Ziplock Bags Work Too?
Sure, resealable bags work just fine but they end up trapping air and this leads to things getting stale. For instance the guidelines for storing nuts is to transfer them from the original packaging to air-tight containers immediately after opening.
Additionally, sandwich bags can open easily and spill. Sealing them with a vacuum machine keeps them fresh and safe.
Another benefit that I’ve found is that when you put certain items in a vacuum sealer such as cookies for instance, the package ends up being far more crumble resistant than if I just had placed a handful of cookies in a ziplock bag where they can bounce around and break into pieces.
The INKBIRDPLUS vacuum sealer Makes Things Easy
The INKBIRDPLUS vacuum sealer has a few features that we like.
First, it is aesthetically attractive as well as compact. Measuring 14.7” x 6.1” x 3.15”, it will both fit - and fit in - with your other kitchen appliances as well as being compact enough to be tucked away in a cabinet or a shelf in the pantry when not being used.
It offers both moist and dry modes - so for making kids snacks it works great, but in the review over on ManTripping, he used it to individually seal steaks so that he could take advantage of pricing discounts on a family sized pack even though he only needed one at a time.
The INKBIRDPLUS vacuum sealer offers a -85KPA suction, so it is plenty powerful to pull all the air out of the bag without being so powerful that it might damage delicate items or for instance smash pieces of bread and make them unusable later for use in a sandwich.
Also, it comes with a roll of 11.02” x 118.11” sealing material so you can begin creating your perfectly portioned bags immediately after opening and plugging the machine in.
Finally, for busy dads that just want to press a couple buttons and go - this unit is super simple to use. Just place the food in the bag, insert it into the vacuum sealer, select if it is wet or dry food and if you want to seal or vacuum and seal. There is also a pulse and canister option as well.
That’s it … easy peasy!
Tips for Using a Vacuum Sealer to Package Road Trip Snacks for Kids
A vacuum sealer is an excellent tool for preserving the freshness of snacks, especially for road trips. It not only extends the shelf life of many foods but also makes packing more organized and less messy.
Here's a list of tips to ensure you get the best out of your food sealer when preparing snacks for your kids:
Choose the Right Bag Size:
Sealing Delicate Items (Chips, Crackers):
Pulse Mode is your friend here! The INKBIRD vacuum sealer offers a pulse mode so you can seal delicate items such as chips, crackers, and cookies easily. Think of it as if you are sucking on a straw at full force vs making tiny sips to get those last drops of milkshake at the bottom of your glass - it’s the same way with the vacuum pump pulling air out of the bag, while avoiding the chips or crackers getting crushed.
Alternatively, if food preservation benefits aren’t required - you can use the “seal” mode (instead of Vac&Seal) and avoid any risk of the vacuum process crushing stuff at all.
Sealing Perishable Items (Sliced Vegetables):
The INKBIRDPLUS vacuum sealer doesn’t have a “wet” setting, but it does have a “moist” setting that allows you to seal items that may have some residual liquid on it. While you should use the dry mode for certain things like cookies, chips, nuts etc. For vegetables you will want to use the moist mode - even though we’re going to try to get rid of as much moisture as possible before sealing.
- Dry Before Sealing: Ensure that the vegetables are dry. Excess moisture can lead to a poor seal and potential spoilage.
- Double Seal: For added protection, you can seal the bag, then place that bag inside another and seal again. This ensures no air or moisture gets in.
When done properly, chopped carrots, sliced cucumbers, radishes, and cherry tomatoes can all be packaged together to make a delicious and healthy road trip snack.
With a marker, label each bag with its contents and the date of sealing. Depending on the type of pen you have handy, you can write directly on the bags provided by INKBIRD or you can use stickers to label the bags individually, or you can buy vacuum sealer bags that are specifically designed to be written on.
This helps in organizing and ensuring you consume the snacks while they're still fresh.
You may also want to mark who’s bag it is so that there’s no fighting over stuff or someone doesn’t accidentally grab the wrong person’s snack!
Opening The Bags:
Kids are resourceful when there’s something they want, so I’m not going to tell you that these bags will keep kids from opening up the cookies and chocolates before they are ready but these bags can be challenging to open - that’s sorta the point though.
As such, as a parent, you may want to keep a pair of scissors or a small knife handy to help with opening the snack bags.
Even some of the best vacuum sealers such as the INKBIRD aren’t magical. Many of the items you seal will still need to be kept cold or at least cool. For instance, If you're packing perishable items or things that melt (like chocolate), consider using a cooler with ice packs to keep them fresh and intact.
If you're sealing multiple bags of the same snack, do them in batches. This speeds up the process and ensures consistency.
Before packing them away, double-check each bag to ensure it's sealed properly. A poor seal can lead to air entering the bag, which can spoil the snack.
A food sealer can be a game-changer for road trip snacks and frankly considering how compact and portable the INKBIRDPLUS vacuum sealer is - you could potentially even take it on the road with you so when you stop at a farmers market and find that fantastic elk jerky you can take it home with you or at least seal it up so your car doesn’t smell it all the way home!
When used properly, a vacuum sealer not only keeps food fresh, but it also makes packing more efficient and organized. With the above tips, you'll be well-equipped to prepare a variety of snacks for your kids to enjoy on the road. Safe travels and happy snacking!
Your Family Will Thank You On The Next Road Trip
While it might take a little bit of extra planning to get stuff set up in advance, creating these snacks in advance will be a time saver on the road as well as helping you to avoid providing portion sizes that are too big for small bodies or less than healthy snacks.
Plus, there are so many other benefits here such as being able to store coffee for months instead of having it go bad weeks after opening the canister or if you are traveling to a humid part of the country - vacuum sealing the bread can help make it resist going moldy or getting soggy.