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If you’re looking for the best healthy road trip snacks for kids and toddlers, you’ve come to the right place. From homemade car snacks for kids to grab-and-go travel snacks for toddlers, this list has plenty of wholesome (and delicious!) options to choose from.
So, you’re finally taking that much-needed family vacation you’ve been waiting for. As exciting as that can be, traveling long distances with kids can be stressful. To help ensure a smooth(ish) journey, healthy and filling snacks are essential.
However, many parents aren’t sure what to bring for long car rides with kids. If you’ve been racking your brain trying to think of healthy snacks for the road, fear not. I’ve compiled an extensive list of my favorite road trip snacks for kids and toddlers.
From grab-and-go snacks like fresh fruits and pretzels to healthy snack recipes that are 100% child-approved, I guarantee you can find some great choices for your next road trip on this list. Did I leave out your favorite healthy road trip snack? Let me know in the comment section below!
Tips For Packing Road Trip Snacks For Kids
Before you start choosing the best road trip snacks for kids and toddlers, keep these helpful tips in mind:
- Opt for well-balanced snacks. When planning out your kids’ snacks, try to make sure you have some fresh produce, protein, and a whole grain. This is the best way to keep your kids feeling satisfied on a long road trip!
- Bring a reliable set of snack containers. Imagine packing the best healthy road trip snacks for your kids, only to have them wind up coating the floor of your car because the bag or container broke. Avoid this ‘oops’ moment by packing reliable containers or these reusable ziptop bags for your car snacks.
- Pack a variety of textures. Keep snack time exciting by bringing along a variety of yummy textures for your kids. Soft fruits, crunchy crackers, and creamy nut butter… See what I mean?
- Incorporate lots of colors. No matter how old you are, we all eat with our eyes first. An easy way to make sure little kids enjoy their road trip snacks is by incorporating a variety of bright colors. (This means lots of fruits and veggies!)
- Switch up the flavors. Variety is the spice of life! Even if your kiddos live and breathe for all things sweet, they’re bound to grow tired of their car snacks if everything is a sweet treat. Make sure to have a good balance of both sweet and savory snacks on hand for the long trip.
- Don’t forget reusable water bottles. It’s super important for the whole family to stay hydrated on long drives. You can easily fill them up along the way at a rest stop, gas station, or fast food restaurant.
Best Homemade Snacks For Road Trips
Have a little extra time and want to make your kids’ snacks from scratch? Check out my top picks below for healthy travel snacks for kids and toddlers that you can make at home. All of these kid-friendly snack recipes are vegetarian and made with clean, natural ingredients!
1. High Protein Granola Recipe – This easy and healthy homemade granola is made with rolled oats, nuts, seeds, almond butter, honey, and coconut oil. It’s packed with protein, carbs, and healthy fats for a tasty and kid-approved road trip snack.
2. No-Bake Peanut Butter Balls – These delicious peanut butter energy bites are made with just 5 simple ingredients, not to mention they’re loaded with protein and healthy fats. What kid doesn’t love a bite-sized treat made with chocolate chips and peanut butter? They make the best travel snacks!
3. Homemade Lara Bars – Ready in just 10 minutes, these no-bake healthy date bars are made simply with dates, almond butter, cocoa powder, and macadamia nuts. They’re sweet, delicious, and vegan-friendly!
4. Vegan Baked Oatmeal Bars – This delicious baked oatmeal with berries recipe can easily be sliced into bars for a wonderful grab-and-go option. Just let it cool, slice it into single-serving bars, pack your oatmeal bars into an airtight container, and hit the open road.
5. Nut Butter and Banana Stackers – Hands down one of the best toddler road trip snacks, these delicious stackers are basically just toddler-sized open sandwiches. All you need is sprouted-wheat bread, peanut butter, and banana slices.
6. Vegan Chocolate Truffles – I never knew healthy snacks could be quite so decadent until I made this recipe. Made with quinoa, nut butter, dates, and chia seeds, these vegan truffles don’t have as much sugar as traditional truffles, and are great kid-friendly snacks for young children and older kids alike.
7. Banana Breakfast Cookies – Don’t let the name fool you, this special treat is not exclusive to breakfast. Easy to make and low in sugar, these delicious grab-and-go cookies feature mashed banana, pumpkin puree, bran cereal, and rolled oats.
8. Pumpkin Seed Butter – You only need two ingredients (pumpkin seeds + salt) to make this delicious nutty spread. Pack it into a jar and use it as a healthy dip for apple slices or crackers!
9. Vegan Graham Crackers – These homemade graham crackers make a wonderful alternative to the unhealthy store-bought version. Pair them with some fresh fruit and nut butter for a delicious healthy road trip snack that your kids will love.
10. Parmesan Kale Chips with Garlic – Looking for a healthy car snack on the savory side? I’ve got you covered. These crispy kale chips are easy to make, delicious, and kid-approved.
Cooler-Safe Road Trip Snacks For Kids And Toddlers
These are some of my favorite healthy road trip snacks that you can easily store in a quality cooler with ice packs. All of them can be brought along for a short ride without being stored in a cooler, but I highly recommend bringing a cooler for longer trips to ensure freshness — especially when it comes to meat and dairy products.
Raw Veggie Snack Ideas For Kids
Super healthy, easy and kid-friendly veggies help to give kids the variety and nutrients they need while traveling!
- Cucumber slices
- Celery sticks – great with nut butter!
- Carrot sticks or baby carrots
- Snap peas
- Halved cherry tomatoes
- Broccoli florets – you can serve these raw or steam them for toddlers
- Bell peppers – sliced and served with hummus or yogurt dip
- Cauliflower florets – raw or steamed for toddler road trip snacks
- Believe it or not, baby food pouches made for toddlers can also be a great, mess-free way to pack veggies and fruits on a road trip!
Fresh Fruit Snack Ideas For Toddlers
I like choosing fruits that are less likely to bruise or spoil quickly when packing snacks for my kids. My favorites include:
- Apple slices – in an airtight container, they will last for a couple days before getting brown.
- Mandarin oranges – like cuties – easy to peel and easy to eat!
- Bananas – I only bring these along if I have a good way to store them so I can ensure they don’t get mushy.
- Grapes and blueberries – these store well, but you’ll have to cut them in half if you have toddlers to avoid a choking hazard
- Strawberries and raspberries – these are good snacks for a shorter road trip, but they tend to get mushy quickly so I wouldn’t recommend them for a longer trip.
- Dried apricots and freeze dried pineapple – these will last forever, and kids love them!
Healthy Dairy Snack Ideas For Kids
Dairy is a great option because it packs well, kids love it, and it’s super filling.
- Plain Greek yogurt – enjoy with fresh fruit and granola or bran cereal
- Cottage cheese – great on its own or with some berries and granola
- Cream cheese – pair it with cucumber slices, crackers, or an English muffin
- Cubed or string cheese – enjoy on its own or pair with apple slices or raw veggies and whole-grain crackers. Mild cheeses like mozzarella cheese or cheddar cheese are usually very kid friendly. Cheese sticks are great because they usually come pre-packaged which cuts down on your prep time!
- Homemade smoothies – made with low-fat or Greek yogurt. Whip ‘em up, transfer to a reusable water bottle, and enjoy!
- Drinkable yogurt (Siggi’s has a great one!) – a great alternative if you want a less messy yogurt for your kids to enjoy!
Healthy High-Protein Snacks For Kids
While these snacks are perishable, they will all keep your kids more satisfied and fuller longer, thanks to their ability to stabilize blood sugar and their high protein content.
- Cubed meat – Chicken and turkey both work great. I recommend cooking your own at home and avoiding deli meats, which are often loaded with nitrites.
- Hummus – Serve as a high-protein dip for veggies, whole grain crackers, and sprouted wheat bread
- Beans – black beans, kidney beans, white beans, and edamame are all a good source of protein and will keep your kids full
- Hard-boiled eggs – Boil a big batch before the trip and let the kids enjoy on their own or alongside some crackers and fresh fruit
- Cubed tofu – serve roasted or raw for a plant-based protein snack option
- Rotisserie chicken – shred and serve alone or with fresh veggies
Backpack-Friendly Snacks For Kids And Toddlers
Check out the healthy road trip snack ideas below for my top picks that don’t require cooler storage. These are easy snacks for kids because you can store them in a beach bag or backpack and store them for the duration of your road trip!
Healthy Store-Bought Snacks For Kids
You can find all of these snacks at almost any grocery store or at convenience stores – which makes them perfect if you run out of snacks halfway through your trip and need to stop somewhere to stock up again!
- Healthy low-sugar cereal – dry cereal is a great car snack for kids and toddlers and can be mixed with nuts for a healthy trail mix option
- Freeze-dried fruit – make sure to check the nutrition label and opt for the ones with nothing but fruit on the ingredient list (no added sugar)
- Apple Chips – my kids love these!
- Roasted chickpeas or Chickpea Puffs – an awesome combination of protein and fiber to keep your kids feeling satisfied on long drives
- Whole-grain crackers – Mary’s Gone Crackers and Back to Nature are both great options for organic crackers without refined grains – I like them better than animal crackers because they’re lower in sugar and can be paired with healthy proteins for a filling snack.
- Veggie Chips – I love these Off the Eaten Path Chickpea Veggie Crisps and these Harvest Snaps Snapea Crisps (so do the kids!). Baked potato chips also make a great snack!
- Rice cakes – great on their own or with peanut butter
- Organic air popped popcorn – like Skinny Pop
- Mini Lara Bars – perfect size for toddlers!
- Kind Kids Bars – 25% less sugar than most kids’ granola bars
- RX Kids Bars – these kid friendly protein bars have 10-11 grams of protein per bar, which is a great way to keep little tummies full!
- Perfect Kids Bars – these contain peanuts, so avoid them if you have a peanut allergy in the family
- Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars
- Whisp Cheese Crisps
- Bamba Puffs
- Applesauce – look for the ones with no added sugar (apples are sweet enough!)
- Fruit leather
- WildMade fruit roll-ups – no added sugar; half a serving of fruit per roll
- This Saves Lives Mammoth Marshmallow Krisp – full serving of fruits and veggies in every bar
- Boom Chicka Pop
Whole Grain Snacks For Toddlers
Healthy whole grains are a good choice for a snack because they’re high in fiber and will keep your kids fuller longer.
- Whole-grain toast or bread – pair with peanut butter and sliced bananas, or use as a base for a number of healthy sandwiches and lunch ideas!
- Whole-grain pretzels – serve on their own or with fresh fruit and nut butter
- Homemade granola bars – made with nuts and seeds for plenty of protein, fiber, and healthy fats
- Low-sugar cereals – Rice Puffs and Chex both make great whole-grain options
- Muffins – find a low-sugar recipe you love that’s made with whole-grain flour
- Quaker Kids Organic Whole-Grain Bars
- Plum Organics Mighty Snack Bars
- Ella’s Kitchen Organic Nibbly Fingers – made for toddlers with whole-grain oats and sweetened with real fruit
- Jif Power Ups
- Skinny Pop Mini Cakes – try dipping these in guacamole!
Healthy Nuts And Seeds For Kids And Toddlers
Nuts and seeds can make a great road trip snack option since they’re super filling, relatively mess-free, and most kids love them! Depending on the age of your kids, you may need to chop up the nuts to avoid a choking hazard.
- Pecans – packed with protein, fiber, and healthy fats
- Almonds – chop them up and serve plain or roast and toss them with cinnamon
- Walnuts – highest in healthy fats
- Peanuts – high in protein, vitamins, and minerals
- Macadamia nuts – rich in fiber and healthy fats
- Hazelnuts – wonderful energy source with tons of heart-healthy fats
- Cashews – a longtime favorite for many kids!
- Pistachios – loaded with antioxidants, vitamin B6, protein, and fiber
- Pumpkin Seeds – a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants
- Sunflower Seeds – easy to find at any gas station or convenience store, just be sure to check the label for additives
Road Trip Snacks For Kids FAQs
What is a healthy road trip snack?
Every healthy snack should contain three main components: protein, fiber, and healthy fats. When this trifecta is present, the result is a healthy snack that will keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer between meals. It’s also the key to starting off your family vacation as smooth as possible.
How do you eat healthy on a road trip?
Many people worry that long road trips with the entire family mean loading up on processed snacks, fast food french fries, and a serious lack of nutrients. Luckily, that is so not the case! By planning and preparing your snacks ahead of time, it’s actually very easy to eat healthy on a road trip. All it takes is a little extra time spent prepping!
What snacks to bring on a road trip for kids?
There are plenty of healthy snack options that make great road trip snacks. Some of my top picks for easy road trip snacks include fresh fruits, raw veggies, crackers, nut butter, granola, string cheese, nuts, seeds, cubed chicken, and hard-boiled eggs. You can find plenty more road trip snack ideas for kids on the list above!
What are the best healthy gas station snacks for kids?
What happens if you run out of snacks on a family road trip? You make a quick pit stop to keep the kiddos (and the parents) happy! Surprisingly, you can find a decent amount of healthy snacks for kids at the gas station.
You will typically find all of the healthy pre-packaged options in the same area, so opt for nuts, seeds, and dried fruit or veggie chips. Many gas stations also offer refrigerated healthy snacks like raw veggies, fresh fruit, and hard-boiled eggs. Choose your favorites!
Supplies You’ll Need For Packing Road Trip Snacks
- Awesome bento boxes. I love these wheat fiber bento boxes that are leak proof, super sturdy, dishwasher and microwave safe!
- Reusable ziptop snack bags or reusable snack containers. Better for the environment than plastic bags, and holds food better too!
- Leak proof water bottles – better than sippy cups for young kids, and can hold warm or cold beverages!
- Reusable travel cutlery! Easy to clean, easy to store and great for little fingers to use. You’ll also want to pack some paper towels, napkins, or wet-wipes.
- Outdoor picnic blanket. A waterproof blanket can be a great option if you’re taking a long road trip and need to stop for a meal. Easy cleanup and storage too!
- A cooler bag and ice packs if you’re bringing any perishable snacks along. It’s also handy for storing trash once all the food has been eaten!
As you can see, there is really no shortage of good road trip snacks to choose from. You should plan for 2-3 snacks per day, so keep this in mind when planning ahead for a long car ride. I recommend spacing out your snacks 2-3 hours after a meal. As long as you have a mix of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and protein—you’ll be in great shape.
I hope you love these snacks as much as my family does! From personal experience, I can tell you that having a variety of tasty snacks on hand is the best way to keep everyone in the car happy throughout a long drive.
It’s not hard to find healthy snacks that kids will love; it just takes a little bit of planning on our part. If you found this list of road trip snacks for kids and toddlers to be helpful, don’t forget to let me know in the comments!