When you’re on the road with your kiddos and they start getting cranky, it’s all too easy to pull into a gas station convenience store and grab a bunch of junk food. Come lunchtime, every fast food drive-thru along the highway starts calling your name, or at least your kids’ names. But take heart: You can totally resist.
Pack a few easy, healthy snack options like the ones here, and you’ll be in excellent shape when those cravings hit. (Make sure your kids are the right age and ready for any snacks that require chewing, so you can avoid choking hazards(Opens in a new window).) Many of the snacks on our list are no-assembly-required, or will take just a few minutes of prep time—and some even count as lunch. Either way, you’ll have more time to figure out what to pack and where to go when you bring along these travel-friendly snacks for your next family road trip.
Cheese may be one of the best—and easiest—road trip snack options. Square away cheese cubes or mozzarella sticks for your little ones, and a few slices of your more sophisticated favorites to nosh on as you drive along.
Muffins are a great way to pack something healthy that still feels like a treat. The mini size will minimize crumbs—and you can avoid extra trash in your car by using an oil spray instead of cupcake liners when you bake them. Not into muffins? You can fill your non-stick muffin pan with crescent roll dough, small chunks of cheese (cheddar and brie work great) and diced apple, pepperoni or other fillings. Bake until golden, and you have little easy-to-pop snack bites for the road.
No need to limit waffles to breakfast time. Waffles make a fun finger-food snack for the road, and you can make sandwiches out of them in a pinch. They’re less crumbly and messy than traditional bread, and can easily handle spreads like Greek yogurt, cream cheese or PB&J.
A sprinkle of sea salt turns these protein-packed beans into a tasty, fun-to-eat snack kids can’t resist. Get the pre-shelled kind to reduce the mess.
Say no to plain potato, and choose a healthier veggie chip. You’ll find carrots, sweet potatoes, kale and more—and they’re easy to roast up on your own if you have a few minutes before the trip. Try our delicious homemade veggie chip recipes.
These small, super cute sandwiches make an ideal snack or lunchtime treat that even tiny hands can grasp. To make them, use tortillas or thin sandwich wraps as the bread, and spread a thin layer of something soft (cream cheese, hummus or peanut butter works well). You can add other toppings too, like thinly sliced cucumber or pepper strips, jam, sliced fruit or cold cuts. Roll the whole thing up into a tight cylinder, then slice it horizontally into easy-to-manage pinwheels.
Raisins are a road trip standard, whether on their own or as part of a trail mix. But why stop there? Stash fruit leathers, banana chips, coconut chips, dried apple, mango slices or any other favorites.
The tried-and-true classic cookie isn’t exactly a health food, but it contains less sugar than some of the other cookie options.
Sliced fresh fruits and veggies
The trick here is to pick fruits and vegetables that won’t brown or get mushy too quickly. Consider kiwi slices and clementine sections, and make veggie sticks out of carrots, cucumber, celery and bell peppers.
Pouched vegetable purees
An easy way to make sure your little ones are eating a variety of vegetables on those long car rides is to pick up snack pouches that blend pureed veggies and other healthy ingredients. Many of the pouched snacks contain applesauce too to sweeten the deal.
The classic kid breakfast cereal is a treat that even little babies can enjoy. Bring along your favorite on-the-go products, especially a snack container to stash cheerios and minimize the mess in the back seat. For older kids, create a snack mix that features cereal with other favorites, like raisins, peanuts and perhaps a few M&M’S.
Granola or granola bars
The crunchy mix of oats, honey and other goodness makes an irresistible snack for older kids. And it’s easy to make your own granola bars if you want to control the sugar content and blend in your own favorite ingredients.
Are you ready for your family adventure? Make your trip easier with our tips for surviving a road trip with kids, plus our best tips for air travel with little ones.