The very best road trip snacks for kids

The holidays are a fabulous time for reconnecting with the kids. However, family road trips can be a time when the demands, especially for food, get ramped up a notch or two. In this post, we will discuss the best road trip for kids, so your kids can be in control of their snacks!

road trip snacks for kids

How often should children snack?

Sometimes it seems like it’s always snack time. My kids seem to eat all day long. They often ask for something to eat just as I’m clearing away from a meal.

Snacks help kids stay focused, give them energy, nutrients and keep hunger at bay. However, random snacking can lead to health problems.

It is challenging to keep kids snacking under control, especially as they become teens, but constant snacking interferes with their appetite and may disrupt their instinct to experience hunger and fullness.

Most children and teens need to eat every three to four hours during an average day. It might seem like a lot to us, but it would usually look like this:

  • Younger kids need two snacks per day as well as their usual three meals .
  • Tweens and teens should eat one snack a day and their usual three meals.

If children are particularly sporty and active, they may need an extra snack on those days.

You should offer snacks about one to two hours after each meal. to find out more about how often kids should eat, click here.

box of sushi

Best road trip snacks for kids

What makes a good road trip snack? A good road trip snack needs to be a healthy balance of fruit, veg, and treats, with the majority being healthy.

It should be grab and go, easy to prepare, and mess-free. Nobody wants to be clearing up a pot of humous from the car’s back seat.

Being on a road trip with your kids can be stressful, between the never-ending winging and wining to the dreaded “I need a poo” just as you get on the motorway. Throw in the never-ending demand for snacks, and you’ve got the perfect storm that every parent dreads.

My kids typically start the “can I have ” barrage three minutes after getting in the car. My kids will happily eat all day if I let them.

After finishing a meal, they would always ask what was for lunch, pudding, supper, breakfast, etc.

As a parent, I wanted to be able to give them treats but still wanted to provide them with a healthy balance of fruit and veg. I also longed to curb the constant request for road trip snacks.

I tried various methods to stop the constant mithering for snacks, but nothing seemed to work, so I looked a little deeper and figured out why they were so obsessed with food and snacks. I wondered if they worried that there would be no snacks, and that’s why they had to keep asking for more to reassure themselves that they would be getting a snack.

So I decided to experiment with a road trip snack box. Every time we went on a family road trip, I’d pack each child their own box of snacks containing some of the following:

Healthy road trip snacks

  • Raisins
  • Peaches 
  • Plumbs
  • Dried apricots
  • Dried figs
  • Satsumas
  • Dates
  • Berries
  • Prunes
  • Cucumber
  • Carrot
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Grapes
  • Apple
  • Crackers
  • Breadsticks
  • Dried apple
  • Dried mango
  • Yogurt
  • Nuts
  • Fruit bar
  • Melon
  • Pineapple
  • Fruit salad
  • Humous
  • Cherries
  • Yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Edamame beans
  • Boiled eggs 
  • Oranges
  • Tangerines 
  • Pears
  • Fruit salad
  • Dried fruit
  • Dry cereal
  • Popcorn
  • Cold meat cuts
  • Quorn meat substitute
  • Olives
  • Sushi

Depending on how long the family road trip lasted, I would also pack one or two of the less healthy snacks.

healthy kids snacks

Easy road trip snacks kids love

Depending on how long the family road trip lasted, I would also pack one or two of the less healthy snacks.

  • Peanut butter jelly sandwiches on whole grain bread
  • Cream cheese bagal
  • Trail mix
  • Tortilla chips
  • Crisps
  • Chocolate
  • Sweets
  • Banana chips
  • Biscuits or cookies 
  • Crisps
  • Sweets or candy
  • Doritos
  • Savoury cheese snacks
  • Cheese
  • Pepperoni
  • Flapjack 

Each child’s box would contain the same snacks, so there was no squabbling because no one needs more squabbling on family road trips!

iced donuts

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How to prepare travel snacks for kids

I pack the kid’s snacks in a large box with compartments like this one. These kid’s bento snack boxes are the perfect way to prepare road trip food for kids.

We pick two or a variety of snacks from the healthy snacks list and count one snack from the treat list depending on how long the road trip is.

The bento snack boxes are the perfect way to pack toddler snacks for road trips. You can fill them with fruit, veggies, and dips like non-messy cream cheese or peanut butter. There are also small compartments to add a few treats or crackers too! These boxes are sealable, so they are fantastic to grab and go for a healthy treat anywhere! My son loves to have his box filled with cheeseboard items like crackers, olives, meat slices, cheese, and grapes.

You could even let your kids choose their own snacks from the list but remember to check that portion sizes are healthy for your child. Take care to avoid too many treats. If you’re unsure, click this link for a simple guide on kid’s portion sizes.

Car snack rules

The kids are given their snack box at the beginning of the journey, and they are responsible for how they eat the contents. They’re aware that there is no more food when the snacks have gone. So if they choose to eat them all in the first hour, they will need to wait until mealtime to eat. If we are on a day-long road trip, I divide the snacks between a morning and afternoon box so they don’t eat all the snacks in the morning.

The benefits of having a snackbox for roadtrips

  • Kids are in control of what they eat and when they eat it , they don’t have to ask for snacks and can see what is readily available at all times. 
  • It takes the guesswork out of snack time for the kids. There is no anxiety about what they will eat and when, or if thier sibling will get more than them.
  • They don’t ask for snacks , because they can see what snacks are available for the full day.
  • The kids can differentiate between healthy food and the treats and can choose healthy snacks for the road trip.
  • The snack box is an excellent way to monitor the number of treats your kids are having in a day as you are completely in charge of what you put in your kids box.
  • The kids get excited to see their snack boxes on the morning of the journey!
  • Kids are eating responsibly and know about how to use self-control when eating snacks.
  • I still have my sanity on a long journey! The great thing is the flexibility and portability these kid’s snack boxes give me and the lack of nagging!

FAQ

What are some easy homemade road trip snacks I can make for my kids

All snacks on the snack list are no-cook snacks and are quick and easy to prepare. Many shop-bought cereal bars and kids’ snacks contain vast amounts of sugar and fat. Packing your kid’s snack box ensures that you know exactly what you are feeding your children. if you’d like to make a treat for your kid’s box, you could make:
✔️ Granola
✔️ Muffins
✔️ Cookies
✔️ Sandwiches
✔️ Fruit salad
✔️ Cupcakes
✔️ Cheeseboard box

road trip snacks for kids

What are good road trip snacks for picky kids? 

Picky kids often don’t want to make healthy choices with snacks, and it can often become a battle of wills to get your kids to eat healthily. Ensure that there is a balance of healthy snacks and treats from the list and make it clear that there are no more treats once they are gone. You will probably find that they may graze on the healthier snacks if there is no more choice for the day.
to read more about feeding picky eaters, read this post

What are the healthiest snacks you can pass off as junk food to your kids?  

If you’ve tried to get your kids to eat healthily and are struggling, there are ways you can choose healthier options without them realizing it. Introduce raw energy bars, protein balls, air-blown popcorn, cheese and crackers, wraps, Quorn nuggets instead of their usual snacks. Slowly introducing one new healthy snack at a time will be easier to incorporate than to change everything at once. It’s also good to encourage plenty of exercise for your kids to promote a healthy lifestyle. I would not advise getting your kid to change their eating habits while on a long journey. Wait until you get home to start introducing new foods.

Can I use a snack box when not on a road trip?

Yes! That is the beauty of this system. It is portable, and you can use it if you’re out for the day. Or you can grab a bag of chopped veg if you’re popping into the shops!
A Bento box like this one is quick and easy to grab on the go! It helps keep the continuity of healthy eating choices even when you are not at home.

I hope you’ve found this helpful. Click here if you’d like t read How I Got My Kids To Love Eating Vegetables.

In this post, I discuss how to prepare your snacks and food in advance

If your kids make a mess of the car on your road trip, read how to get stains out of car seats in this post

What are your favorite tips for getting your family to stop asking for snacks on a road trip? Leave us a comment below!