Eating well while traveling isn't always easy when little ones are involved–but sweet family memories always make it worth the extra effort in the end! With a little prep-ahead action, you can pack healthy road trip snacks to satisfy everyone in the car in one fell swoop.
Any time of year is a perfect time to get out and explore together as a family, and I always find that packing healthy snacks to keep everyone nourished decreases the likelihood of anyone getting "hangry" in between your main meals.
There are a few things to keep in mind when packing road trip snacks. First, you'll want to pack foods that keep mess to a minimum in order to avoid crumbs all over the car...and all over the kids. This isn't a time to experiment with new foods, so go with an assortment of things you know your family likes. And try to pack 1-2 extra items just in case travel takes longer than you think it might...because you just never know when you'll get stuck in traffic!
Now that we have the basics down, here are my top seven road trip snacks:
1. Hard-boiled eggs
I like to cook a batch of Nellie's Free Range hard-boiled eggs in my Instant Pot once or twice a week to have on hand for healthy snacking and for taking on the go. Peel them before packing and slice or dice them as needed to make eating easy.
2. Fresh fruit
Less messy fresh fruit is a great option to pack and go. Think blueberries, clementines, bananas, small apples, strawberries, and grapes. Many fruits don't have to be kept in a cooler and can be eaten without utensils or plates. Look for fruits without pits or peels to keep waste to a minimum, especially when snacking in the car.
3. Shelf-stable fruit
Fruit that's been processed can come in handy when you're on the go. We usually include at least one shelf-stable fruit whenever we pack travel food, such as freeze-dried fruit, fruit leather, applesauce pouches, or dried fruit. Many of these options are available at your local grocery store without added sugar or preservatives.
4. Dry cereal
Low sugar cereals (look for less than 5 grams of sugar for kids and less than 2 grams of sugar for toddlers) are a great snack. They can even double as an activity for younger kids: this is a great way to practice the fine motor control skills required to pick up the small pieces of cereal.
5. Whole grain snack bars
Whether you go homemade or store-bought, this is a great opportunity to pack a whole grain snack bar. My girls like the ones with fruit filling, so we packget those for a fun treat. Try these strawberry oatmeal cookie bars that stay fresh for up to three days!
Sweet or savory mini muffins easy to pack and easy to eat, making them the perfect on-the-go snack. You can also make them ahead of time and stash them in the freezer until it's time to pack. I particularly love using Nellie's Free Range Eggs in muffins since they add healthy fats and protein to the whole grain batter. And since they're Certified Humane, they're a feel-good purchase that I can be proud to take along on family road trips.
7. Cheese sticks
Full of protein and practically no-mess, cheese sticks are a healthy snack option for kids. We love pairing them with crackers or on their own, and you can either serve them whole or dice them up for younger eaters.
Whenever possible, enjoy those snacks at a rest stop picnic table to give the kids a chance to stretch their legs and run off some of the energy that they've surely built up while logging all those miles on the road! And don't forget to pack extra wipes just in case those little hands manage to get sticky.