Hitting the road with the family is usually equal parts exciting and daunting. To help, these 50 easy road trip snacks will get you started packing and eating healthy meals and snacks for yourself and the kids.
Road Trip Snacks
We’ve taken a few long trips as a family and boy oh boy, I know how unpredictable they can be when little kids are involved! But one thing that is easy to prepare is the food you bring.
And while there’s of course no rule that you bring all of your food, I’m of the belief that packing food is one of the easiest ways to keep the kids (and yourself) happy when in the car for hours and hours. You can eat whenever anyone gets hungry without the need to find options.
Packing your own food is also an easy way to limit stops and get to your destination a little quicker. And it can be a real money saver, too. You don’t have to spend a ton of time doing this either, so I’m going to share my favorite fast and easy options for packing snacks for road trips.
These can all serve as stand alone snacks or they can be put together to make easy road trip food and meals.
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Road Trip Snacks for Kids
This list includes my go-to snacks for kids and adults. Adjust how you serve some of these for littler kids as needed. And pack in a cooler or cooler bag if traveling in the summer to keep everything cool and in good shape.
Snack bars are an easy (and often less messy) snack to pack. Here are some of my favorites.
- Dino Bars (these are my favorite snack bar for one year olds since they’re so easy to eat)
- Perfect Kid Bars
- Kashi Cereal Bars
- RX Kids Bars
- Made Good Bars
- Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars
- Kind Breakfast Bars
- Homemade Granola Bars
- Peanut Butter Energy Balls
TIP: Find more of my favorite kids snacks to buy here.
Crackers, Puffs, and Cereal
Crackers and puffs are easy to pack in a reusable container. Here are some options to consider for kids.
- Whole grain crackers
- Cheese crackers
- Dry cereal such as Cheerios, Kix, Chex, or store brand equivalents
- Snap Pea Crisps
- Veggie Straws
- Soft Baked Chickpeas
- Coconut chips
Easy Muffins to Pack
I love making and packing muffins for the whole family. Dice them up as needed.
These simple blender muffins pack a serious nutrition punch and are dairy-free, with a nut-free option. I prefer the flavor of these once they are fully cooled and chilled in the fridge.
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These healthy muffins taste like a delicious banana muffin, but with the added nutrition of a big handful of spinach. These store well, so you can make them ahead of time and pull them out of the fridge or freezer to serve.
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Like a cross between a fluffy blueberry muffin and baked oatmeal, these muffins are moist and packed with yummy nutrition.
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Moist tender Mini Chocolate Chip Muffins that taste as good as store bought, but have a little extra nutrition? Sign. Me. Up. These muffins are seriously delicious and are a must-make if you have fans of Little Bites in your house!
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Be sure to use super ripe bananas—the more black and brown spots, the better the flavor and sweetness will be!—for the best results here.
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TIP: Check out my full list of muffins for kids.
Less Messy Fruit and Veggies to Pack
It’s totally okay if the kids eat a little differently when you’re on the go than most other days. If you want to pack some produce, here are some less messy options.
- Blueberries (halve them if needed)
- Applesauce pouches
- Dried apples
- Banana chips
- Dehydrated or freeze-dried fruit
- Apple chips
- Baby food pouches
- Snap peas
- Baby carrots
- Mini bell peppers
- Mini cucumbers
TIP: You can always pack a smoothie in a reusable pouch too. Cut hard raw veggies or fruits into matchsticks for toddlers to ensure they are safe and easy to chew.
Easy Proteins and Lunch Ideas to Pack
If you’re needing more meal ideas, here are some simple ones that can round out road trip food. (I like to pack more snacks than the kids usually eat at home since they tend to eat more while we’re traveling in the car. This is fine and if it worries you at all, remember that this is just one day and you’ll get back to normal eating the next day!)
- Nut butter packets
- Chia pouches
- Shredded or diced chicken
- Pizza Rolls
- Pizza Pockets
- String cheese
- Babybel cheese
- Yogurt pouches
- Yogurt tubes
- Overnight Oats with Yogurt and Berries
- Single serve milk
TIP: Find more ideas for Travel Food here.
Favorite Road Trip Food for Adults
These are some of our go-to road trip snacks for the grown ups to keep us fueled and also satisfied.
- Trail mix, peanut, or almonds
- Pretzels (paired with cheese or peanut butter)
- Potato chips or popcorn
- Grapes or apples
- Dried apricots or cranberries
- Carrot sticks, celery, bell pepper strips
- Hard-boiled eggs, cheese sticks, and beef jerky
- Protein bars or granola bars
- Dark chocolate or favorite gas station candy or chocolate bar
10 Tips for Happy Kids on Road Trips
Now that the food is covered, here are some ideas to keep your tots happy even if they’re strapped into the car. And as with all things toddler related, try to be flexible, silly, and open to new adventures. I mean, who knows what fun will come your way while out on the road!
- Leave early so the kids can (fingers crossed) sleep a little as the sun comes up.
- Plan overnight stops—with a pool if possible. This is a perfect reward and it’s a fun way to let them burn off energy after being in a carseat all day.
- Get creative when you run out of toys. I always pack a roll of painters tape and let the little kids play with water bottles (sealed!) and my sunglasses case.
- Keep an extra activity or toy stashed in case of emergencies. A new Water Wow book Is great for this!
- Let the littles stretch their legs at rest stops and try not to rush through them too much.
- Plan audio books and podcasts for the trip. We love the classic Pooh stories, Wow in the World, Circle Round, and Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls. (Circle Round is very soothing to listen to if you need a bit of a break!)
- Look at a map together and talk about where you are, what you’re passing, and where you’re going.
- Think through the layout of the hotel room before you get there and have a plan for where everyone will sleep. (We’ve put our littlest in a big bathroom to preserve an earlier bedtime!)
- Consider a movie night or family book time to help everyone unwind at night when you get to where you’re going.
- Don’t stress about a little extra snacking. Let food be fun for the day.
Best Tips for Road Trip Food
Pack any perishable foods in an insulated cooler bag or hard cooler with ice packs to keep it cool.
Use a lunch box, bento box, baby lunch box, or snack container to keep the food from being smushed. And for easy portioned snacks for the kids.
Keep things simple and know that it’s okay if we eat differently on travel days.
Try to stop to eat for the safest option from a choking risk perspective for small kids.
Pack a water bottle for everyone to stay hydrated.
I’d love to hear your best tips for road trip snacks and activities, so please comment below with your ideas!
This post was first published April 2019.