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24 Kid-Friendly Snacks for Your Next Road Trip

Skip the chips and bypass the drive-thrus on your next road trip. Instead, pack a few of these healthy, delicious snacks for you and your toddlers or big kids.

9 min read

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 good for you, no-assembly-required or simple to make—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. And they won’t make a mess of your car on the way!

1. Cheese

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.

2. Mini muffins

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.

3. Waffles

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.

4. Edamame

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.

5. Veggie chips

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.

muffins in muffin tin
muffins in muffin tin

6. Pinwheel sandwiches

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.

7. Dried fruit

Raisins are a road trip standard, whether on their own or as part of a trail mix. But why stop there? Stash banana chips, coconut chips, dried apple, mango slices or any other favorites.

8. Animal crackers

The tried-and-true classic cookie isn’t exactly a health food, but it contains less sugar than some of the other cookie options.

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. Cheerios

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.

12. 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.

13. Rice cakes

You can go basic and simple, or these days rice cakes come in lots of fun flavors. There are also a variety of sizes—round, square, mini—depending on your little travelers’ preferences and needs.

14. Nuts

If your kiddos are nut-allergy free, expand their nut palate with options like pistachios, almonds, or cashews.

15. Popcorn

Pick your favorite flavor (or three) and pack them in reusable bags so your littles can mix and match as the mood strikes.

sweet potato chips on a baking tray
sweet potato chips on a baking tray

16. Choco-Peanut Bites

These no-cook snacks are easy to make before you go. Set them in the fridge, then pack in a resealable container.

17. Oatmeal Dough Bites

These yummy bites need to be kept cool or they’ll become too soft (and messy), but if you’re traveling with a cooler, add them to your snack supplies and break them out during rest stops.

18. Energy Balls

Oats and nut butter make these treats a sturdy snack. Or serve up a handful and count them as lunch.

19. Fruit leather or roll ups

There are plenty of options at the store (try mango, grape, or strawberry) or, if you’re feeling a little fancy, make a homemade version.

20. Whole grain crackers

Grated cheese takes these homemade crackers in a delicious direction. Pack in an airtight container to keep them crisp.

21. Trail mix

Skip the hot sauce to make this recipe kid friendly. Or create your own trail mix version by combining favorite dried fruits, nuts, seeds and a sweet surprise like chocolate chips or M&Ms.

22. Chocolate or yogurt covered pretzels

These are another great option to add to your silicone bags. Serve up snack-sized portions or pack larger amounts in different flavors to last a couple of days.

23. Seaweed

This dried, lightly crispy snack is tasty, light and easy to pack, and it comes in a variety of flavors like teriyaki, sesame and good old reliable sea salt.

24. Roasted chickpeas

Crunchy, salty, easy to grab…the whole car will love these finger foods. Put a handful in a silicone reusable bag and add ‘em to the snack pack.

Are you ready for your family adventure? Make your trip easier with our tips for surviving a road trip with kids. Or, if you’re taking to the skies, check out our best tips for air travel with little ones.

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