Perfect toddler & child snacks on the move
I’m not gonna lie, I’m the type who’d happily like to binge on a big family share pack of sweets when we’re on a long road trip.
But as any well-travelled mamma will tell you, there’s definitely a point where you’ll regret giving your kids too much sugar on long journey’s.
As I am looking to vastly improve my own healthy snacking habits this year, I have been researching what is best for the kids too, both for convinence and easy to access (trust me, not all countries are the same when it comes to snack food availability!).
And we know there are fussy eaters too. We have that one who will seriously only eat one brand of rice cake! We hope this guide will help you plan ahead for even your fussiest ones when trying to prepare a road trip snack bag to please the whole family.
This post is part of our family travel advice series – you can check out everything from breastfeeding on the move to dealing with jet-lagged kids
Our Top 30 Road Trip Travel Snacks
Am I the only one whose kids actually prefer their cereal with no milk? I can’t stand the idea but they love it! Cheerios with Honey have proven a favourite (other’s call them O’s) but they’ll even much away on rice crispies, corn flakes.
An oldie but a goldie, sadly only one of mine will eat them so I’ve not taken to baking them myself but these are packed full of good energy food. Bake your own to the perfect mix, or shop bought is also fine, just check how much added sugar is in them.
Squeezable yogurt tube
Have them from the fridge or freeze them overnight ready for an icy treat. These are easy shop bought but be warned depending on the age group can be messy!
Another super easy win for the road, you can buy in small individual packets, but the cost does significantly add up. Its worth a few minutes to divide them into your own containers, and you can mix them to trail mix too (see below).
Ok these are a little too processed for my liking and I feel a lot of plastic waste, but needs must this one is a snack box filler that they can have some fun with. Great for little ones practising their fine motor skills and packed with protein.
Squeezy fruit packets
Don’t think that this is just the domain of baby food, no these handy little packets can also suit your toddlers and little kids for a quick and easy meal on the go. They are TSA approved as well if you’re looking for little treats on a flight.
Individual snack size or a family share bag, these are a great filling snack. Just be aware of packets that are over salted, not ideal for kids. And nuts are a no-no sharing transport with others such as on a plane.
NB – make sure you’ve given your kids nuts before travelling!
Read More: Travelling with allergies? Read this interview with parents Rachel and Ashley who share their anaphylaxis travel story
Not just a fun treat at Japanese restaurants, these are really becoming a mainstream snack now. High in iron, protein and fibre, this superfood snack can keep hands busy – just be prepared for where the scraps go if they’re fresh! (Though you can also buy just the beans in packets now – takes away some of the fun but a lot cleaner!).
Finally, something my Mr Fussy DOES love, probably because they are so naturally full of sugar but he has wised up that they are fruit so allowed in Mum’s health snack regime! All in moderation to avoid upset tums – try apricots, mango, apple, pear, pineapple.
A step on from the dry cereal, trail mix is where you can add some filling extras such as choc chips, coconut, raisins, and a variety of nuts and fruits – cranberries are great! We make a big bag of the basics then each kid can add their favourite extras to their own little snack bag.
When you’re on the road, many highway servicee stops will also sell this (under varying names) as grab an go snack bags, we try to veer the kids to these over sweet packets – with varying success!
Ok yes, once again only one of my 3 has every taken his idea on so don’t worry if your carb-loving kids baulk at this idea. For the more willing tot though you simply can’t go past this as your healthiest road trip snack. Try cucumber, peppers and carrots, make it colourful and fun. If you can add a dip too – try hummus or a capsicum dip (be warned though this can add to the mess factor!)
Fresh cut fruit
If we can’t convince them on the veggies, then fruit is your next best friend – though beaware some fresh fruits brown easy. We love apple slices, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, melon.
Take it as you like it plain, sweat, salty (or both) a super easy snack to whip up in a big share bag or individual-sized serves. It is high and fibre and packed in whole grains so as long as you go easy on the toppings, it’s actually an incredibly healthy snack.
Cute fun shapes in a moderately healthy dry biscuit? Yep even your fussy ones are probably going to crack at the offer of a biscuit. Little ones especially will have fun picking out their favourite animals.
This are the big, circular rice snacks. Gone are the days where these taste like cardbaord, they’re now available with a huge variety of flavours to make them more interesting, packed full of fibre they are a good one to improve energy levels – though can leave quite the crumbily mess.
These are smaller and harder than rice cakes and can come in plain, lightly salted and a variety of more exotic tastes, far more healthy than a crisp packet. As an extra tough, why not prepare them with a little peanut butter?
These are absolute winners with our kids! They can be a little on the salty side, so like all things in moderation but they certainly add some fun to your kid’s snack packs and when we serve them on a mixed tray are always the first to go.
All different shapes and sizes – though they can be salty so water at the ready and be prepared for pee stops!!
Best pre-peeled some kids will eat them on their own, or you can add them easily on top of bread or other crackers, such as those we’ve listed above.
For those that can eat pork these are a simply superb little snack filler. Keep them in their individual wrappers until they’re about to be eaten as they do have a strong smell. (Or Beef sticks are another great alternative)
Ok, these are maybe more my favourite than the kids! But a great alternative to your traditional potato chips in a packet. You can also look out for apple crisps, banana crisps may be more to some kids’ taste.
And don’t forget drinks!
You will want a reusable drinks bottle for every child (and adult!) that can be refilled at pit stops along the way. You can also pack as a special treat a chilled juice pouch, we normally save this up as a special treat as they can still be quite sugary, and time it when we know a pit stop is coming up!
Extra special treats on a long road trip
These are definitely on the sugary end of the scale and should be used in moderation! When you are getting constant “nos” and snack time refusal though, you may want to mix in a couple of these extra treats to help them go that extra mile:
Fruit Roll-ups / Fruit Leather
These pre-packages snacks are great for grab-on-the-go, but we warned “fruit” isn’t always one of the key ingredients.
Mixing in a few extra mini choc-chip cookies can be a fun addition to their snack pack.
These fit in the dry ceral and whole grains category but definitely at the more sugary end of the scale so include sparingly.
These chewy little treats are what we keep up our sleeve for special rewards, and also an awesome one for keeping in your handbag ready for flights so kids can suck on them for take-off and landing to help equally ear pressure – you can see more of our flying with kids tips here.
How to transport your snacks – To share or go it alone?
When we’re travelling I hate having too many individual bags and boxes that need cleaning at every stop. With such individual tastes and degrees of fussiness – and to avoid fights over contamination of the box because there was meat or cheese in it (I suspect I have a future vegan on my hands!) – I think individual serves works best.
And as cute as those mixed tray snack boxes look on Pinterest, it only takes the back seat of your car being decorated with them once by an over enthusiatic toddler to remind you it’s simply NOT the practical way to serve snacks on the go.
If you are still insistent in giving snack boxes to kids in a single-serve box, do monitor how many snacks they are having. You are better off using snacks to stave off the munchies at appropriate times in your trip than all-day grazing.
Perhaps set an hour or mile marks when snacks can be opened or a fresh round handed out. Allow the more sugary snacks when you’re close to stopping points so the energy can be burnt off, and avoid over filing before a lunch or dinner stop so you can be guaranteed they’ll eat some proper meals too.
And it’s always wise just to keep a little something extra hidden in your handbag or out of site in case of emergencies!
Where to head on a road trip?
Check out our bumper collection of worldwide family road trips you need to try with your kids.
Have you got any other snacking favourites that work with your kids? We’d love you to share them in the comments below
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