Need some healthy road trip snacks? Or just some healthy snacks on the go snacks? Whether it’s vacation, driving to sports practice or a day of running errands, here are some travel snacks you’ll love!
*Originally published 9/21. Updated 5/23*
A couple of years ago I was asked for some ideas about snacks for the car that aren’t super messy so I wrote this post on Low Mess Car Snacks for Kids. I’m finding that a few years later, I still heavily rely on car snacks so I’m always thinking about new ideas. In addition, in the summer of 2021 we drove from Ohio to Minnesota with 3 kids 6 and under. Believe me when I say I packed a lot of snacks.
We also started swim team that summer which meant A LOT of time at the pool. Two years later we’re at the pool even more for swim meets etc and with young kids that means packing a lot of snacks.
I wanted to share some good road trip snacks for kids -both what we packed in our cooler and the non-perishables in case you need more road trip snack ideas! You could also pack a lot of these for plane snacks! Or use these ideas for long days at the pool, hiking adventures and more.
I’ve also already written several snack posts that will have more options for healthy on-the-go snacks.
Healthy Store Bought Snack Ideas
- Healthy Snacks At Costco For The Whole Family
- Best Healthy Walmart Snacks
- Peanut & Tree Nut Free Packaged Snacks
- After School Healthy Snacks
- Healthy Amazon Snacks
- Lower Sugar Cereals For Kids
- Healthy Store Bought Granola Bars for Kids
- 60+ Healthy Packaged Snacks For Kids
Also be sure to check out The Snack Spark for even more snack ideas!
Homemade Healthy Snack Ideas
As far as homemade snack ideas, I have tons. Especially when it comes to healthy muffins and bars that are good for packing as snacks on the go. Check out the snack category of the blog to browse lots of homemade snack options.
Where to buy healthy snacks online
If you’re looking to buy snacks online vs in-store, you can find lots on Amazon. Here are some individually wrapped snacks. Also check out sites like Thrive Market (requires a subscription) and Vitacost (no subscription required). Nuts.com is another good one, especially if you like to make your own trail mix.
What to look for in healthy snacks
When I talk about healthy snacks with my kids I talk about starting with protein and pairing it with healthy carbs, healthy fats and/or fiber. This combination helps fill us up and helps us stay full for longer periods of time. When packing for a road trip, I try to pack a lot of individual protein options that can then be paired with something else. For example, if my kid asks for crackers, I’ll give them some cheese to go with it. If they ask for a piece of fruit, I’ll give them a yogurt as well.
Good Road Trip Snacks
So here are some good options for road trip snacks!
Healthy Road Trip Snacks For The Cooler
- Fruit –
- grapes- I pulled them all off the stems ahead of time
- apples- leave them whole or slice ahead of time and rubberband together to minimize browning
- clementines – you can peel them ahead of time to make it easier
- applesauce cups (or pouches for younger kids to minimize mess)
- baby carrots
- celery sticks – you can even prep ants on a log ahead of time
- bell pepper strips
- snap peas
- String cheese and cheese slices
- Hard-boiled eggs – peel them ahead of time
- Yogurt- yogurt tubes/pouches are less messy for kids. You can also freeze them ahead of time to minimize mess even more
- Deli turkey & pepperoni – can be eaten with crackers and used to make a sandwich
- Homemade muffins/bars – I have a whole list of Kid-friendly Baking Recipes for bars and muffins packed with veggies and legumes!
Car Travel Snacks (Non-perishable):
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches – you can store them in the cooler if you use jelly, or you can skip it, or use honey!
- Bread – for turkey and cheese sandwiches
- Simple Mills & Wheat Thins crackers
- Cheerios cereal – I have a list of Low Sugar Cereals for Kids if Cheerios isn’t your favorite
- Granola bars – Try one of these Healthy Store-Bought Granola Bars for Kids– our favs are KIND, Larabar and Kashi
- Candy – is it the healthiest? No. Will it sometimes save your sanity as a parent? Yes 🙂
Note that we stopped overnight in a hotel with a fridge and I knew the place we were staying had a fridge so I wasn’t worried about packing too much food because I knew we could just eat it throughout the week of vacation.
I’ve also noticed that sometimes my kids don’t eat a ton in the actual car but then they’re starving when we get to the hotel so it’s nice to have things on hand to give them while we get settled, figure out where we’re going to eat dinner etc.
What foods are considered non-perishable?
Foods are considered non-perishable if they are canned, dried, preserved or have the water removed. Basically, things that can safely be stored at room temperature without requiring they be put in the fridge or freezer to avoid spoiling.
Is it safe to snack on the go?
While I recognize that eating in the car is generally not recommended as it can be a choking hazard, I’m also a mom with young kids and know that it sometimes can’t be avoided. I found that plastic cups are a great way to pass snacks back to kids because they’re easy for them to hold and they fit in car seat cup holders. If your kids are still rear-facing, make sure you can see them while eating either by sitting near them or at least in a mirror.
Healthy Snacks on the Go
In addition to what’s listed above, here are more ideas:
Healthy Trail Mix
There are tons of great trail mix options at the store but it’s also so easy to make your own. I love this option because you can completely customize it to your liking and even make different blends for different family members. You can also make it safe for toddlers using mixes like this nut-free trail mix.
There are tons of dried plant-based proteins on the market right now. Things like roasted chickpeas, broad beans and edamame make a great on-the-go snack. Check out some different brands like The Good Bean, Biena, Bada Bean and more. Plus there are tons of nuts and seeds that you can eat on their own or as a topping etc.
Homemade protein or energy balls/bars are another great option. While I typically keep these in the freezer for storage, they won’t spoil if you pack them for a day trip. Make them with protein powder or without. Here’s my go-to energy balls recipe as well as some kid-friendly, protein-rich energy balls without protein powder.
Snacks the are high in protein
Protein is a key component of a good snack. If you’re looking for some ideas specifically for high protein, check out my list of Healthy High Protein Snack Ideas.
Other protein-rich snacks
Things like tuna pouches, deli meat turkey/chicken or meat sticks like Chomps (aff link) are high in protein and pair well with crackers for an easy snack.
Healthy snacks that are easy to freeze
Waffles and pancakes are actually one of my favorite on the go snacks. I love that you can easily make them ahead of time, whenever you’re not busy, and freeze them. Then just transfer to the fridge the day before you leave and pack them in a ziploc bag. They’re not super crumbly, they’re easy for kids to eat, you can make them with added protein – try our favorite Whole Wheat Pancakes.
More healthy options for a grab and go snack
Things like popcorn, sweet potato chips and dried fruit bars are strips can be great options. We love That’s It bars and Just Bare apple chips. When it comes to dried fruit, larger strips of dried fruit like mango and pears are less likely to be dropped than smaller options like raisins.
Remember that popcorn, whole nuts, roasted chickpeas etc are choking hazards for young kids.
What are your favorite healthy road trip snacks?