#4 Coffee, Tea and Snacks
It’s the formal motto of not only the Boy Scouts, but also the US Coast Guard. And while I did a brief stint as a Girl Scout, I’ve never been in the Coast Guard. That I know of, anyway.
I do, however, like to be prepared, and in that vein comes another installment in the on-the-go series. This kit is ideal for day trips, seminars/conferences, hospital visits, and late night study sessions. Everything I need for a cup of coffee or tea and a little something to tide me over if I’m hungry, fits nicely in a little bag perfect for tucking into your tote, purse, or backpack.
A quick note before we dive in, due to the nature of this particular kit, there aren’t a lot of links for finding the components online. Wherever you do your normal grocery shopping, you should be able to find lunch or snack sized portions. Also check the dollar stores and dollar sections at large stores, as they usually have a great selection of things that would work well for this. If you’re unable to find smaller portions of what you’d like to include, you can, of course, always make something yourself with small zippered bags or plastic containers. Making them yourself would also be more cost efficient.
Let’s go through this and I’ll show you what makes the perfect beverage and snack to-go bag for me.
- small zippered bag (5.25” x 4” x 1”) – The bag I used was from a Burt’s Bees kit that came with several sample/travel sized products in it. While Burt’s still offers the kit, apparently they no longer come in the small reusable bag. You can pick up one of the zippered bag kits on ebay (if that item is no longer available, I used the search term ‘burt’s bees kit’), a comparable bag on amazon (5 for $9), or this option also at amazon (3 for $14). Other great sources for smaller bags are drugstores, places like Sephora and Ulta, the dollar section at larger stores, and occasionally dollar stores will have things that would work.
- gummy bears – These are small packages of tiny gummy bears, just the right size to fit in something like this. You can pick up a box of treat sized packs at Target or Walmart around Halloween or in late July/early August when school is about to start. But if you can’t wait, you can buy a 54 pack box from amazon for $12.
- napkin – I usually save the napkins from take-out sets of disposable utensils for just this purpose, however, anything will do. You could use a regular napkin, paper towel, or whatever you’d like and simply fold it into the appropriate size.
- coffee pods – Next time you’re staying at a hotel with an in-room coffee maker, grab the single cup pods you don’t use. You can even ask for a few extra at the front desk. If you’d like to stock up, you can find them on amazon (54 pack for $21), or even make your own with some cheese cloth or a coffee filter and your favorite ground coffee. There are many DIY tutorials on Pinterest if you need some inspiration.
- tea assortment – Hit your pantry and slip 3-4 different individual tea bags into your kit. No tea at home? You can get them at the grocery store, Walmart, Target, just about anywhere.
- protein bar – I always keep a protein bar with me. I eat a pescatarian diet so having a little something in my purse, tote, or backpack has saved me more times than I can count. Luna Protein bars have 12 grams of protein and taste fantastic. I also love that these are so small they fit anywhere I need them to. They come in seven flavors and a box of 6 can be found in any grocery, discount, drug, large, or convenience store for around $6.
- hard candy – The important thing here is that you include some type of hard candy. If your mouth and throat are dry or your sinuses are acting up, hard candy is a great quick fix, especially if you don’t have any water or something else to drink. There are two different kinds of coconut hard candy in my kit and while I like both of them, my favorite is the regular (as opposed to the toasted). I used to buy them at World Market, where you can still get the toasted variety even though they no longer carry the regular flavor. You can find them online several places, including this Asian grocer for under $2. If you go this route, make sure you stock up and that way you can save on shipping.
- peanut butter – This individual serving of peanut butter is a super quick shot of protein for me. I scoop it out with a spork and eat it straight from the container. This was one I picked up from a hotel stay (where a breakfast bar was included), but you can also get a three pack of Jif individual servings at Dollar Tree or the grocery store.
- drink mix – Walmart, Target, any grocery, or dollar store will have a decent selection of powdered drink packets. These are for an individual serving, so you just add it to water. I keep them for places where I’m drinking bottled water that’s not necessarily cold (I really don’t like room temperature water and will only drink it if there’s absolutely no other option.). My favorites are Hawaiian Punch tropical punch and grape Propel, but you can find them in just about any flavor you can imagine including iced tea, Gatorade, and cherry limeade.
- creamer – These individual packets of Coffee Mate creamer came from either a hotel stay or a hospital visit where I had a couple left over. You can get individual servings packets in a box of 50 for $7 on amazon.
- Nutella – This individual serving of Nutella is just big enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, and keep your hunger at bay. Again, I believe I had this left over from a hotel breakfast buffet, but you can get a box of 20 packs from amazon for $8.
- spork – A spoon and a fork, for those times when you just can’t make up your mind. Seriously, this came in some box of noodles I used to get from the grocery for lunch. The great thing about this one is that the handle can be removed, therefore it takes up less room than a standard fork or spoon. Any utensil will do, as long as it fits into your bag.
- stir sticks – You can pick up a few extra of these anywhere they have complimentary coffee. You can even buy a box of something like 10,000 at a restaurant supply, if you’re so inclined. You could also take a regular drinking straw and just cut it down.
- almond butter – This is the honey flavored, but I actually prefer the plain, unflavored. In addition to ordering them on amazon (a pack of 10 for $7), you can buy individual packets and multi pack boxes at Walmart, Whole Foods, and Target.
- honey – So, I couldn’t find honey in an individual serving size that I was happy with, so I decided to make my own. I’ll post my DIY below. It’s super easy and shouldn’t cost you anything.
- sweeteners – I keep one raw (turbinado or demerara) sugar, one regular sugar, and one Splenda type sweetener in the bag. I usually also have a Sweet-n-Low in mine, as well. You can pick up a multi pack box of sweetener singles at any grocery store, Walmart, Target, etc.
Putting together the ideal coffee/tea/snack kit for you really comes down to preference. You’ll want to include candy, bars, something with protein, and sweeteners that you like. There are all kinds of snacks in multi-packs of individual servings anywhere you buy groceries. They have a package of small sandwich cookie four packs at Dollar Tree in both vanilla and lemon flavors. You could also include small packets of goldfish crackers, pretzels, cereal bars, almonds or other nuts, small bars of chocolate, packets of hot chocolate, and Lipton’s cup o’ soup. And, again, if you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can always make your own.
Here’s a quick do-it-yourself project for individual serving honey packets. You’ll likely have all of these things on hand at home.
DIY honey packet
What you’ll need:
1 straw (use a clear one)
- Pour some honey into a small bowl.
- Cut a drinking straw to the desired length (make sure it will fit into the zippered bag).
- Completely submerge one end of the straw in the honey.
- From the other (non-submerged) end, suck honey up into the straw until it’s about half an inch to the end of the straw.
- Use the pliers to clamp the straw between the opening and the honey, about an 1/8 of an inch from the honey.
- Keeping the straw clamped, take the lighter and use the open flame to seal the end by going slowly back and forth until it’s melted together. It should be closed securely.
- Flip the straw over, use the pliers to clamp the open end.
- After allowing any excess honey to flow out, while still clamping, use the lighter’s open flame to slowly seal that end, as well.
- Rinse off the honey straw to remove any sticky residue.
To use, snip off one end of the straw and squeeze honey down, or snip both ends and gently blow on one end to get the honey out of the other.
All done. How simple was that?
As always, use the ideas in this post as inspiration for your own on-the-go coffee/tea/snack bag.
Tell me about the snack/drink options you would include in the comments.