Every parent knows there is nothing worse than hangry (hungry + angry) kiddos. Well, nothing worse than being cooped up in a car on a long road trip with that hangry child. Packing great snacks for your family is one of the easiest and most important things you can do to ensure a much happier driving time. Besides, it’s a known fact that road trips and snacks go together like milk and cookies. As a busy mama, I know what it feels like to be stuck in the snack rut and not be able to think of any new ideas. That’s why I wanted to share some of our tried and true road trip snack favorites to hopefully give you some new things to try on your next trip. In no particular order, here’s the best road trip snacks for kids.
THE BEST ROAD TRIP SNACKS FOR KIDS:
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1. Veggies + Dip
Grab some carrot sticks, snapped peas, mini cucumbers, or sliced red peppers and pair them with small hummus or ranch cups.
2. Fresh Fruit
Some favorites to bring on the road are apples, clementines, and grapes. Clementines make your car smell amazing when you’re peeling them (and letting your kids peel them is a bonus fine motor activity for little hands). I typically try to avoid fruits that are overly juicy (looking at you watermelon) to hopefully keep the mess minimal.
*Tip: Divide the grapes into small baggies ahead of time to make serving them much easier.
3. Nuts + Dried Fruit
Cashews, almonds, nut mixes, raisins, dried cranberries, and freeze dried fruit galore! Nuts and dried fruit are a great source of energy and are easy to divide up ahead of time. Please keep your child’s age in mind and make sure they can easily chew the nuts / dried fruit you choose.
4. DIY energy bites
Energy bites have quickly become a road trip staple. They’re easy to make ahead of time, easy to adapt based on your families taste preferences, and you can mix up the ingredients to change up the flavors. This is one of our favorite recipes.
5. Dried Cereal
There’s not much easier to toss in your snack bag than dried cereal. If you’re looking for a snack and activity all rolled into one, grab some cheerios and toss them in a bag with a piece of ribbon. Your kids can string the cereal on to the ribbon to make a necklace and then enjoy eating their creation.
6. Trail Mix
Purchase your favorite trail mix or enlist your little tourists to make their own a few days before you head out the door! The options truly are endless with trail mix which makes it a wonderful snack that can be fully customized to your child’s preferences.
7. Almond (or other favorite nut) butter packets
Nut butter packets make it really easy to have the classic nut butter and apple snack that your childhood was made of. Was it just me or did anyone else grow up on apples and nut butter as a regular after school snack? When serving this in the car, I like to slice the apples with a plastic knife and then place them in a paper bowl with a little bit of the nut butter.
8. Cheese sticks/Babybel cheese
Cheese sticks and babybel cheese are a great snack to keep in the cooler. This will totally depend on the length of your road trip (and how awesome your cooler is), but for longer road trips I suggest not bringing too many of these since you’ll have to eat them fairly soon after you leave. And as yummy as cheese sticks are, you probably don’t want to eat five of them in one day.
9. Beef Jerky Sticks
Chomps® are our favorite brand of beef jerky sticks because they are delicious and free of artificial additives and preservatives. They come in so many yummy flavors and are perfect for kids and adults. They’re full of protein and individually wrapped for on-the-go convenience!
10. Frozen Yogurt Tubes
Pop the package of yogurt tubes in the freezer before your trip to keep them cool longer on the road. They are extra delicious to eat when they are frozen (hello, breakfast!) or you can also wait until they’re thawed. Speaking of frozen things, have you ever tried freezing grapes? Go try it and thank me later. Seriously so yummy!
11. Sweets and Treats
Sweets and treats can be a fun and special thing to have on a road trip especially when you’re trying to
bribe convince your kids to get back in the car after a pit stop. While I’m typically a big chocolate fan, summer road trips are not the time to bring chocolate unless you put it in the cooler or you genuinely enjoy using a bazillion wipes to clean up your backseat. Some family favorite sweets and treats are:
- Fruit snacks + fruit leather
- Graham crackers
- Animal crackers
- Small cookies / individually packaged treats (our favorites are the Annie’s mini cookies and bunnies)
- Gummy Bears (my personal go to travel treat)
12. Packaged Snacks
Here’s some of our favorite packaged snacks to munch on. Be warned, some of these snacks have the potential to be messy especially with a toddler who likes to crumble crackers everywhere.
- Squeezable Applesauce
- Boom Chicka Pop
- Pirate’s Booty
- RX Bars
- Granola Bars
- That’s It Fruit Bars
- Goldfish / cheddar bunnies (the individually packaged bags are perfect for traveling so they stay fresh)
- Plantain or tortilla chips (with small guacamole cups for dipping)
Individually packaged snacks (like the cheddar bunnies shown below) can be more expensive, but I usually splurge on them for road trips because they are easy to pack and they stay fresh for the whole trip.
- Water (these are our favorite water bottles that keep beverages nice and cool)
- Juice Boxes
- Milk Boxes
- Spindrift Sparkling Water (Ok, I’ll admit. This isn’t really a kid favorite drink, but it’s my mama go to on long road trips or really any day in between).
To keep everything organized in the car, we like to toss our packaged snacks in a plastic bin and then store fruit, veggies, drinks, and anything else that needs to stay cold in the cooler.
Once you’re ready to go, the big box of snacks goes in the far back of the car.
I then have a small bin of snacks to put in the front of the car for the adults and another small bin to put in the backseat for the kiddos.
Putting snacks in small bins makes it really easy to grab something to munch on while you are driving, especially when everyone else is asleep. When your snacks start to run low, you can add some new things at your next pit stop. Added bonus, using small bins also helps to not eat through all of your snacks in the first 30 minutes of your trip.
Packing snacks for a road trip doesn’t have to be overly complicated, but it’s definitely one of the most important things you can do to keep the hangry away and prepare for a successful adventure on the road. I hope you were able to find a new travel snack idea (or two) to try out on your next family trip.
Do you have any travel snacks that should be added to this list of the best road trip snacks for kids? I’m always on the hunt for new ideas and would love for you to share your family must have in the comments below!