Whether you’ll be flying, taking a road trip or hopping on a train to visit family for the holidays, traveling with toddlers can be stressful. You’ll probably be thinking about how to keep them occupied with toys, books, and special stuffed animals as well as how to avoid meltdowns. Chances are, you’re also looking for healthy, easy travel snacks for toddlers.
While we’re not frequent jet-setters nor do we travel a lot, I have taken several flights and road trips with my kids when they were babies and toddlers and I can tell you from experience that you can never pack enough snacks.
Getting through airport security screening, walking to the gate and going to the bathroom for example, always takes twice as long. So having snacks on hand can keep your kids fueled and happy for the long haul and also help you avoid pricey fare at the airport and at rest stops.
Best Travel Snacks for Toddlers
The key is to pack snacks that are healthy, simple and mess-free, and those your kids will actually eat. Here are 15 travel snacks for toddlers that will making this holiday season stress-free.
1. Trail mix
Trail mix can be a great snack for kids, but not all types are created equal.
Most store-bought trail mixes are packed with salty nuts, dried fruit, “yogurt-” covered raisins, chocolate chips and M&Ms for example, so they’re high in sugar and sodium.
When looking for a healthy trail mix, read food labels carefully and stick with those that have only unsalted nuts and seeds and dried fruit. Or consider making your own trail mix with ingredients like raisins, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and nuts so you can control the ingredients.
2. Fresh fruit
Whole or cut-up fresh fruit like apples, pears, bananas, oranges, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and figs are healthy, easy options.
Related: 5 HEALTH BENEFITS OF FIGS
Most kids love to munch on cereal, which is why it’s one of the best travel snacks for toddlers.
Unfortunately, when it comes to finding a healthy kids’ cereal, there aren’t a ton to choose from.
There are those that are obvious sugar bombs with their bright, artificial colors, marshmallows and favorite characters on the box, but cereals that have health claims like “a good source of fiber,” “gluten-free,” and “made with real fruit,” aren’t the best options either because many are high in sugar.
When comparing brands, look for cereals that have whole grains and are high in fiber. Bonus points if the cereal has a good amount of protein.
Avoid those that have added sugars, artificial ingredients, food dyes and preservatives.
Related: WHAT ARE ADDED SUGARS?
4. Tortilla roll-ups
A tortilla roll-up cut up into small pieces like sushi is a great snack option for your toddlers when you’re traveling.
It also couldn’t be easier to pull together.
Take a whole grain tortilla, spread it with a nut or seed butter, add a banana, roll it tightly and slice it crosswise into pieces.
You can also add smashed berries or a low-sugar jam, or use turkey and cheese, for example.
5. Yogurt tubes
Yogurt is one of the best travel snacks for toddlers because it’s high in protein and a kid-favorite, but be sure to read labels because many are high in sugar.
Siggi’s Yogurt Tubes or Stonyfield Organic’s Whole Milk Tubes Strawberry Beet Berry are two of my favorites for kids.
To prevent yogurt from spoiling, put it in a snack bag with an ice pack, use a freezable bag (I love the PackIt freezable snack bags), or simply freeze the yogurt ahead of time.
Related: HOW TO CHOOSE A HEALTHY KIDS’ YOGURT
6. Granola and snacks bars
Just like trail mix, granola bars can be healthy travel snacks for toddlers, but look for those that have protein and fiber, which will balance your kid’s blood sugar levels and satisfy his hunger.
When looking for a healthy granola bar, look for those with the least amount of sugar possible.
Sugar is sneaky and can be hidden behind at least 61 different names like fruit juice, cane sugar, sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup.
Also be sure to avoid granola bars with saturated fat and instead, look for those that have heart-healthy fats with ingredients like nuts, peanut butter, chia seeds, and flaxseeds.
7. Fruit and veggie pouches
Squeezable pouches of apple sauce, or those that have a mix of fruit and vegetable purees, come in really handy when you’re traveling.
Pack cut-up vegetables like celery, cucumber, carrots, jicama, broccoli and cauliflower florets, and sugar snap peas.
Toddlers love to dip so pair veggies with a nut butter, bean dip, hummus or guacamole for a healthy, protein and fiber-filled snack.
9. Hard-boiled eggs
Hard-boiled eggs are loaded with protein—one large egg has nearly 7 grams—and they’re a great portable option whether you’re flying or driving to your destination.
10. Cheese sticks
High in protein, cheese is one of the best travel snacks for toddlers.
Pair your kid’s favorite kind of cheese with whole grain crackers, tomatoes or slices of fruit like apples and pears.
Unlike refined carbohydrates, whole grain carbohydrates like those in popcorn have fiber which stave off hunger and keep blood sugar levels steady.
Non-GMO, trans-fat free and low in sodium, SkinnyPop is one of my favorite brands.
12. Beans, peas or edamame
It may sound like a strange option, but beans, peas, or edamame are one of the best travels snacks for toddlers. Not only do toddlers love finger foods, but these are all a good source of protein and fiber so they’ll keep your tot feeling full for hours.
13. Nut butter
Peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter and sunflower seed butter are all great options.
Pair it with whole grain crackers or fresh fruit or veggies and you have a healthy, satisfying snack.
Muffins or mini-muffins can be a healthy snack option but most store-bought brands are made with refined carbohydrates, are low in fiber and high in sugar.
Read labels carefully or consider making your own with healthy ingredients like pumpkin puree, zucchini or spinach, for example.
Need a recipe? Try this one for Sweet Spinach Muffins With Banana.
15. No-bake energy bites
I love no-bake energy bites because they take minutes to make and are a healthy, bite-sized snack option for kids.
Depending on the ingredients you use, they can be a good source of protein, fiber and healthy fats too. Most recipes call for rolled oats, nuts and seeds, raisins and other types of dried fruit.