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Road Trip Snacks for Kids: Easy and Convenient Ideas

If your kids are like mine, then snacks are pretty much all they ask for on a road trip, (along with “Are we there yet?!”) Packing the right type and amount of snacks for kids during road trips is essential to help the journey run smoothly and reduce the arguments are whining.  I’ve found snacks should be simple to prepare I’m sorry, I just don’t have the time to make all those really cute lunch boxes), as mess-free as possible, and ideally contribute to their daily nutritional needs. 

A lot of food types will depend on how your kids are, if an adult is in the back of the car with them or if you are driving with no other adults – as choking can always be a risk.

Options like pre-portioned bags of trail mix, jerky or sliced fruits make an excellent choice as they’re easy to handle and also provide a good balance of essential nutrients. For those with a sweet tooth, consider including some raisins or a small amount of candy/sweets as well.

Consider pre-cut fruit, granola bars, cheese sticks, jerky, and individual portions of popcorn.

In the car, always have within reach a variety of hydrating drinks including water bottles or juice.  Ideally, try to only allow water in the car as juice spills can be so sticky to clean up.

Must Have Packable Snacks for Road Trips

When it comes to road trip snacks, not all options are created equal. Some snacks are easy to pack, mess-free, and keep hunger at bay, while others can cause a lot of spills and crumbs in the car. 

Trail Mix

Trail mix is an excellent snack option for road trips. It’s a mix of nuts, seeds, candy, and dried fruits like raisins, packed with protein, healthy fats, and fiber. Opt for pre-portioned bags to make it easier for kids to manage their portions and prevent overeating. Additionally, trail mix is convenient as it doesn’t require refrigeration, making it a hassle-free snack choice.

Sliced Fruit

Sliced fruits such as apples, oranges, raisins, and grapes are fresh, hydrating, and kid-friendly. They can be neatly packed in small containers or resealable bags to ensure they stay fresh and don’t spill during the journey. Packed along with water or juice, these fruits provide essential vitamins and minerals that can help keep kids energized throughout the trip.

Mini Sandwiches or Wraps

Mini sandwiches or wraps made with kid-friendly fillings like ham and jerky or peanut butter and jelly/jam are perfect for satiating hunger pangs during road trips. They are easy to handle and offer a balanced combination of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. Moreover, they can be wrapped individually in parchment paper or foil for mess-free consumption.

By choosing packable snacks like these, parents can ensure that their kids have access to nutritious options that will help sustain them throughout the journey without creating an unnecessary mess or hassle in the car.  Here are some additional snack options that cater to both kids’ taste preferences and nutritional needs.

Supermarket Health-Conscious Snacks

When shopping for healthy snacks at the supermarket, prioritize options that are portable, mess-free, and, above all, nutritious for road trip food. Below are some readily available health-conscious snacks found in most supermarkets: Dried meat like jerky, dried fruits such as raisins, and a few sweet treats like candy can also be considered particularly for longer trips.

Individually Packaged Hummus Cups with Pretzels or Veggie Sticks

Hummus pairs wonderfully with pretzels, carrot sticks, cucumber slices, or bell pepper strips. The individual hummus cups are convenient for on-the-go snacking and can be easily stored in your car along with bottles of water and juice during a road trip.

Baby Carrots and Celery Sticks with Single-Serve Portions of Ranch Dressing

For kids who enjoy dipping their veggies, consider buying single-serve portions of ranch dressing to pair with baby carrots, jerky, and celery sticks. These pre-portioned dressings make it easy for kids to enjoy their veggies without the potential mess of larger containers. Offer the jerky and dips along with a selection of water and juice to drink.

Nut Butter Packets Paired with Whole-Grain Crackers

Nut butter packets are an excellent source of protein and healthy fats, providing sustained energy for long car rides. Pair them with whole-grain crackers for a balanced and satisfying snack option that’s easy to pack and eat on the go. 

These pre-packaged snacks not only save time on preparation but also ensure that you have healthier options readily available during your road trip, making meal planning less stressful. 

Car Activities for Toddlers, The best road trip or car activities for toddlers are simple and mess-free. Included here are lots of easy road trip activities for long car journeys.
Shoes don’t entertain for long…

Making Your Own Car Snacks

Let’s start with popcorn. It’s not only a healthy snack, but also a fun one to make and share during long car rides. You can easily whip up batches of popcorn at home and season them with a variety of flavors such as grated cheese, cinnamon-sugar, or even savory herbs. Portion them out into individual servings in reusable bags or containers and you’re all set. They’re crunchy, tasty, and sure to be a hit with kids of all ages.

Next, homemade granola bars are another fantastic option. These bars can be packed full of oats, nuts, dried fruits and maybe a bit of cereal to provide sustained energy while on the go. Plus, you have the added benefit of controlling sugar content by avoiding excessive sweeteners.

By making them yourself, you know exactly what goes into each bar – providing peace of mind about the ingredients your children are consuming. Even the simplest ingredient, like an apple, can bring significant nutrients and a sweet flavour.

Finally, mini muffins are a portable hit during car trips. Infused with different wholesome ingredients like bananas, bluberries, carrots, oats, and cheese, they offer both flavor and nutrition in every bite. Not to mention their ideal size for tiny hands to manage without creating a mess in the backseat.

Consider adding subtle flourishes like cocoa powder or a sprinkling of nuts to add an extra dash of fun! With these tips and recipes, your road trip snacks will be a success for your family road trip.

When it comes to keeping kids engaged and content during a road trip, providing a varied selection of snacks is crucial. Much like a treasure trove of goodies waiting to be discovered, a well-organized array of options can transform a mundane car ride into an exciting snacking adventure. Here are some creative and tasty ideas to make snack time on the go a delightful experience for everyone.

Snack Time Choices

Consider setting up a DIY trail mix bar in the car. This allows kids to customize their own mixes, fostering a sense of independence and making snacking feel like an entertaining activity rather than just munching on pre-packed items. Offer an assortment of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, cereal, and even chocolate chips in separate containers. This way, kids get to choose their favorite ingredients and experiment with different flavor combinations.

Make-your-own Trail Mix Station

Tuck away an assortment of cheese and whole-grain crackers in individual tupperware containers or even add a few pieces of string cheese. To enhance the variety, include different types of cheese such as cheddar, gouda, baby bel, or mild brie. This not only adds a savory touch to the snack lineup but also provides a source of protein and calcium for growing little ones.

Cheese and Cracker Tupperware Assortment

The excitement of opening each container to discover a new cheesy surprise paired with crunchy crackers or an apple slice makes this snack option help pass the time with kids.

Rice cakes or rice crisps come in various flavors such as barbecue, sour cream and onion, or white cheddar. Including a variety pack offers multiple taste experiences and crunchy textures without sacrificing health benefits. 

Flavored Rice Cakes or Rice Crisps Variety Packs

By offering a range of choices that vary in texture and taste, kids can look forward to exploring new flavors and combinations with every snack break. This not only keeps things interesting but also helps cultivate adventurous eating habits in little travelers.

Road Trip Snack Time

One way to add some excitement to snack time is by making DIY snack kebabs—using skewers to thread on colorful fruits like grapes, strawberries, and even blueberries, along with kid-friendly cheese cubes. 

Another fantastic travel snack for toddlers and older children is to prepare homemade road trip snacks like bite-sized energy balls. These are easy to make with oats, honey, and a mix of mini chocolate chips or dried cranberries for added sweetness. Not only are they delicious, but they also provide a good energy boost for your little ones.

List of Ideas for Road Trip Snacks for Toddlers 

Some snack ideas for a toddler include:

  • Applesauce pouches or other fruit puree pouches
  • Apple Slices
  • Cucumber sticks
  • Carrot sticks
  • Yoghurt tubes
  • Pepper slices
  • Avocado
  • Cheese Sticks or Cheese Cubes
  • Bananas
  • Grapes (halved length ways)
  • Blueberries (halved in needed)
  • Animal Crackers or goldfish crackers
  • Trail mix
  • Pretzels
  • Cereal hoops like cheerios
  • Sandwiches

Additionally, consider including frozen squeezable yoghurt tubes in various flavors as part of the snack spread. Although not mess-free, these convenient options allow kids to enjoy their favorite yogurt without any hassle. We like to freeze them first so they remain chilled and help keep other snack cool and fresh.

Traveling, especially families on a road trip, can present challenges in keeping snacks fresh.

Preserving Snack Freshness During Your Travels

One of the best ways to maintain snack freshness is by using insulated cooler bags or hard coolers with ice packs. These are ideal for storing perishable items like sliced fruits, yogurts, and blueberries.

Another helpful tactic is portioning out snacks into individual containers or resealable bags. This method not only preserves snack freshness but also makes treats easily accessible for each child without causing spills or messes in the car.

The Ideal Temperature:

  • Perishable items should be kept at a temperature of 40°F (4°C) or below to prevent rapid bacteria growth and maintain food quality.

Ice Packs Ratio:

  • Maintaining a ratio of 2:1 ice packs to snacks in cooler bags or hard coolers ensures optimal freshness and coolness.

In addition to these measures, it’s wise to pack disposable wet wipes and a small trash bag for quick and easy clean-ups, ensuring that snacks can be enjoyed without any mess, which is especially important when toddlers are involved.

Portion Control:

  • Portioning out snacks encourages balanced eating habits and allows for better control over the quantity consumed.

Preventing Spills:

  • Individual containers and resealable bags help contain spills and mess, making snacking more enjoyable and hassle-free for everyone in the vehicle. Bento box style snack boxes are a great idea to store travel snacks for older children but the spillage risk for younger children and toddlers is high. Munchkin offer some  Munchkin snack catcher snack bowls with lids which still allow access through the top, but stop spills.

In my experience, disposable wet wipes have been indispensable for maintaining cleanliness during snack time on the go, especially with children and toddlers around.

Worst snacks and foods to bring

In my experience, avoid flavoured milk or milkshakes and avoid bringing lots of sugary snacks, like crisps, doughnuts, fizzy drinks or overly processed food or greasy and fried foods. They are not great if travel sick to clean up and have little nutritional value. Trust me on this one – the car was a mess!

Some other healthier snack idea options include:

  • Edamame
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Beef Jerky
  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Bagel Chips
  • Apple Sauce Pouches
  • Olives
  • Celery Sticks
  • Bananas
  • Apple slices with peanut butter
  • Pineapple slices
  • Melon slices
  • Granola Bars
  • Protein Bars
  • Fruit Snacks

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