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There’s no doubt that the long summer days at home with the kids on top of pandemic stress and anxiety have taken a toll on you. While you’re probably vying for a vacation right about now, hopping on a plane to a tropical island probably isn’t in the cards but a road trip may be. So whether you’ll be heading to a beach house, going camping and visiting family, you’ll definitely need a list of healthy, delicious, and easy road trip snacks for kids.
Something else to consider is that although you’ll have to hit the rest stops to use the bathroom, there may be less options to buy food.
Plus, with COVID-19 rates increasing in many states, you probably don’t want to spend a lot of time there.
During pre-COVID-19 times, I was always a fan of packing snacks from home when I took road trips with my daughters.
Unlike processed, packaged snacks, which are generally low in protein and fiber, and high in saturated fat, sodium and added sugars, snacks made with real foods satisfy your family’s hunger, fight fatigue, and prevent meltdowns.
Packing snacks for the car also saves you time and money.
TIPS FOR PACKING ROAD TRIP SNACKS FOR KIDS
Before you hit the road, here are a few things to keep in mind for your snacks.
Choose real, whole foods
Packing a bag of chips, crackers or cookies is so much easier than preparing your own snacks, but aim for real, whole food ingredients which have the nutrition to keep everyone’s body and mind happy.
Pick protein and fiber
Road trip snacks for kids should have a combination of protein and fiber, which is satiating and prevents blood sugar crashes.
Many salty and sweet processed foods simply don’t fill you up and increase cravings for more.
Make road trip snacks for kids extra special
Just because you’re packing snacks from home doesn’t mean you can’t upgrade them or include a treat to make the trip a little extra special.
Think about dipping fresh fruit in chocolate, adding chocolate chips to trail mix, or roll energy balls coconut.
Store snacks in a cooler or an ice bag
To keep snacks fresh, you’ll need food storage containers, or Ziplock bags, and a cooler with ice packs.
ROAD TRIP SNACKS FOR KIDS
Packing snacks for your next road trip doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming with these easy, healthy, and delicious options.
1. Fruit and cheese
The combination of protein-packed cheese and fiber-rich fruit is the ideal combination for snacks when you’re taking a road trip.
A few yummy combinations include: pear with brie, apple and cheddar, peaches and mozzarella, and watermelon and feta.
2. Veggies and dip
Raw vegetables like celery, carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, or jicama paired with hummus, a bean dip, guacamole, salsa, or ranch dressing are healthy road trip snacks for kids.
Protein-rich and super-delicious, eggs are a great option to pack on your next road trip.
Make them kid-friendly by making hard-boiled eggs, deviled eggs, or egg muffins.
4. Granola bars
When I’ve taken road trips with my kids in the past, packing granola bars and snack bars have always been a great choice.
Yet not all bars are created equal. Most are high in added sugars and saturated fat, have artificial ingredients, preservatives, and food dyes, and are low in protein and fiber.
5. Greek yogurt
Low-sugar yogurt is a great choice but consider plain Greek yogurt which is higher in protein.
Top the yogurt with your child’s favorite fruit (berries, peaches, plums, and cherries are yummy this time of year), or blend it before you leave.
Either way, you’ll have one of the best road trip snacks for kids.
Creamy, rich, and delicious, hummus is usually a kid-favorite.
Pair it with raw vegetables, whole-grain crackers, or whole wheat mini pita bread, and you have a great option when hunger strikes.
Pudding is usually a kid favorite but most store-bought brands are high in sugar and have artificial ingredients.
Instead, make your own chia seed pudding or chocolate avocado pudding and top it with fresh fruit.
8. Trail mix
Whether you’ll be going camping or taking a road trip to visit family, nothing says summer like trail mix.
If you’re going to go the store-bought route, read labels because many types of trail mix have a lot of salty nuts, candy, and chocolate.
You can also make your own with unsalted nuts, seeds, and dried fruit and let your kids help portion them out.
9. Dried fruit
Dried fruit can be a healthy snack for kids and also feel like a treat, but to balance out the sugar and add protein, mix it with nuts and seeds.
10. Beans and legumes
Beans, peas, and lentils for a road trip may seem odd, but because they’re packed with protein and fiber and small for little fingers, they’re ideal.
11. No-bake energy balls
Whether you call them energy balls, energy bites, or protein balls, they’re one of the best road trip snacks for kids.
With oats, nut butter, dried fruit, and nuts and seeds, these little gems of goodness will keep your kids happy for hours.
12. Fruit salad
A yummy fruit salad is a healthy, delicious, and kid-friendly snack when you’re taking a road trip.
During the summer, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, grapes, mangos, pineapple, and kiwi are all great choices.
Even better—get your kids to make their own mini fruit cups because studies show when kids choose variety, they’re more likely to make healthy choices.
13. Air-popped popcorn
I love making air-popped popcorn at home—it’s a good source of whole grains and fiber and it’s a great snack to bring with you on the road.
Avoid store-bought brands of microwave popcorn, however, which are often filled with artificial ingredients, made with palm oil, and high in sodium and added sugars.
Muffins or mini-muffins are some of the best road trip snacks for kids.
Try to look for recipes that have healthy ingredients like pumpkin and zucchini, and up the fiber with chia seeds or flax seeds.
15. Yogurt-filled raspberries
With more than 6 grams of fiber per serving, raspberries are a great option for road trips.
Fill them with Greek yogurt and you have a protein-packed, kid-friendly snack.
16. Roasted chickpeas
If you want to start introducing more plant-based foods into your kids diet, start small by offering a small portion of beans.
Chickpeas are a good one to start with because they have a firm texture and are perfect for little fingers.
You can serve them as is, or roast them ahead of time with olive oil and some yummy seasonings like paprika and make a crispy snack in place of chips.
17. Pumpkin seeds
You can pack plain pumpkin seeds or make cinnamon toast pumpkin seeds—yum!
Related: How To Eat Pumpkin Seeds
The combination of both protein and fiber makes edamame a healthy, delicious, and kid-friendly snack for kids. You can buy edamame fresh or frozen but I recommend buying them shelled to save time.
Serve them plain or sprinkle them with spices or parmesan cheese.
19. Fruit and veggies with nut butter
For a protein and fiber-rich road trip snack, pair your kid’s favorite fruit and/or vegetable with peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, sunflower seed, or pumpkin seed butter.
You can buy pre-portioned nut butter packets or pack your own in a mini snack cup.
Try celery, carrots, jicama, fennel, apples, pears, bananas, and strawberries.
20. Tuna or salmon
Whether you pop open a can and set aside individual portions ahead of time, or buy it in a packet, tuna fish and salmon are a great protein-packed snack when you’re traveling.
I like the Safe Catch brand because they test for—and set—a mercury limit.
Add some whole-grain crackers or mini pita bread and you have one of the best road trip snacks for kids.
21. Snack mix
A homemade snack mix is another great way to empower your kids to make their own choices.