Healthy Family Road Trip Snacks: The Ultimate GuidePlanning an epic family road trip with the kids? Whether you’re embarking on a weekend getaway or a cross-country adventure, there’s one key component that every road trip needs in order to be a success: Road trip snacks.
Selecting the right snacks for the whole family can be a bit daunting, especially if you’re traveling with toddlers and/or picky eaters. It’s essential to pack a healthy variety of flavors and textures to keep everyone happy throughout the long drive.
In this comprehensive list of healthy family road trip snacks, we’re covering everything from cooler snacks, non-perishable bites, and healthy on the go snacks for toddlers. Stay tuned as we break down our top picks for low-mess car snacks, as well as some helpful travel pointers to ensure that your next family road trip with kids is a hit.
Best Road Trip Snacks for Toddlers
If you’re traveling with little ones, you’ll want to bring a variety of sweet and savory bites that satisfy their picky palates. Here are some of our favorite road trip snacks for toddlers:
- Snack bars. Granola bars, dried fruit bars, and cereal bars are all great options for toddlers and parents alike. Of course, the specific kind you choose will depend on your preference and the kind of eater you’re working with.
- Crackers, puffs, or cereal. Crackers and cereal are easy to pack in a resealable container or bag to bring on the road. In our experience, whole grain crackers, fruity puffs, and dry cereal are all winners.
- Muffins taste like an indulgence when eating on the road, but they’re easy to whip up at home ahead of time. Prepare a batch of blueberry, banana, or lemon poppyseed muffins and dice them up for the little ones.
- Fruits and veggies. Easy to pack and super low-mess, fruits and veggies are a fantastic healthy road trip snack for toddlers. Our favorite choices include applesauce pouches, berries, clementines, bananas, carrots, and cucumbers.
Homemade Road Trip Snacks
Looking to save some cash? Making your road trip snacks from scratch before you hit the road is an easy way to do it. Here are some healthy family road trip snacks that you can prepare at home:
- Sandwiches and wraps. Pack a few different types of sandwiches or wraps to keep in an airtight container in the cooler. Veggies and hummus, turkey and cheese, and the classic PB&J are all great picks.
- Trail mix. Whipping up a batch of homemade trail mix is a breeze. Just add your favorite nuts, seeds, raisins, and chocolate chips.
- Protein balls. Typically made with a combination of rolled oats, peanut butter, honey, and protein powder, bite-sized protein balls are the ultimate road trip snack for the whole family to enjoy. They’re portable, tasty, and great for keeping you full in between meals.
Best Road Trip Drinks
Do you know what’s worse than making a bathroom stop every hour? Listening to your traveling companions complain of thirst every 30 seconds. If you’re filling your trunk with healthy family road trip snacks, it’s inevitable that people will need something to wash them down.
Whenever we embark on a family road trip, we make sure to pack at least one reusable water bottle per person. Sharing a single water bottle gets old pretty fast and you easily can refill them for free at most rest stops. You might also consider packing sports drinks with electrolytes and your child’s favorite juice boxes (preferably in no-spill cups).
Healthy Gas Station Road Trip Snacks
Stopping at gas stations is an essential part of any road trip. Therefore, you should take the opportunity to refuel both of your tanks. If you’re running low on food, here are some healthy gas station road trip snacks to grab in a pinch:
- Fresh fruit. Nowadays, most gas stations have refrigerated sections with different types of fresh fruit like grapes, apples, and bananas.
- If you’re in need of some protein, grab some jerky before you hit the road. Gas stations have plenty of options (although none can top the premium cuts, mouthwatering marinades, and crave-worthy spice mixes of our turkey and beef jerky).
- Almonds, cashews, peanuts – you name them, your local grocery store or gas station probably has them. Aside from being virtually mess-free, a handful of nuts is satisfying and packed with protein, healthy fats, and nutrients.
- Greek yogurt. If you’re bringing a cooler with you, Greek yogurt is a great high-protein snack to enjoy on the road. You can enjoy it on its own or add fruit.
- Dark chocolate squares. While you can certainly try your best, avoiding sweets on the road might be a tough ask. If you need something sugary, dark chocolate has tons of antioxidants and will satisfy your sweet tooth.
- String cheese. Most convenience stores sell bags of string cheese, so you can stock up for the whole family. Opt for reduced-fat options to keep it on the lighter side.
Healthy Cooler Snacks for Road Trips
If you’re traveling for more than a few hours, we recommend packing a cooler. In addition to keeping your drinks cold, a cooler allows for refrigerated snack options:
- Veggies and hummus. You can buy individual serving-sized hummus packets and use them for dipping celery sticks, carrots, or slices of pepper. Not a hummus fan? Don’t worry. Guacamole or ranch dressing will also do the trick.
- Hard-boiled eggs. Hard-boiled eggs are great on-the-go snacks when you’re craving some protein. Seal them up in a plastic bag and stow them in the cooler to keep them fresh for the journey.
- Cottage cheese. Individually-packaged cottage cheese is an easy road trip snack that offers tons of protein and minimal clean-up.
Best Non-Refrigerated Road Trip Snacks for Kids
On the other hand, if you are only traveling for a couple of hours, you might not want to go through the ordeal of packing a cooler. Here are some delicious non-refrigerated road trip snacks you can bring along:
- If you’re looking for a protein-packed healthy road trip snack, nothing tops our premium smoked jerky options. With tons of different meats and flavors to choose from, you’re bound to find the perfect choice for everyone to enjoy.
- Individually-bagged popcorn is a healthy, portable, and relatively mess-free snack that every kiddo will love.
- Pretzels are another kid-friendly snack option that can be tossed in your backpack and forgotten about until snack time.
- Dried fruit. Unlike most fresh fruit, dried fruit doesn’t require refrigeration. Therefore, it’s a fantastic addition to your road trip snack collection.
- Sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds are great non-refrigerated road trip snacks. You can purchase them on the road or roast them at home.
How to Pack Road Trip Snacks
Now that we’ve covered what snacks you should get, how should you pack them up? While packing for a road trip might feel overwhelming, reusable containers will make your life a whole lot easier.
The best way to pack road trip snacks is to portion them out ahead of time. Not only does this ensure your snacks will last, but it makes distributing them mid-drive quick and painless. Don’t forget to pack extra storage bags, as snacks coming in original containers are bound to get opened and left unfinished.
Finally, pack a variety of different flavors. Variety is the spice of life and it’s no fun to get stuck in the car without options. Therefore, make sure you’ve got a good mix of sweet and savory snacks to keep the whole family satisfied throughout the long trip.
Top Tips for Road Trip Snacking
Want to ensure your road trip snack sesh is an absolute success? Here are our top tips and tricks:
- Bring trash bags. To make clean-up as easy as possible, pack some trash bags. Depending on how large your crew is (and how extensive your snack collection is), the right number of bags may vary.
- No crumbs. Messy eating is almost inevitable when you’re cruising down a highway. However, you can minimize the mess by packing strategically. Don’t bring excessively crumby snacks if you know you have a bunch of messy eaters on your hands. Instead, opt for treats like apple slices or popcorn.
- Let your kids help. Everyone wants to have a say in what they eat, so let your kids choose some snacks of their own. Give them some guidelines (no crumbs, no chocolate, etc.), then let them pick their snacks of choice.
If you have a family vacation coming up, you now have a multitude of healthy family road trip snacks in your arsenal. While it can be fun to grab some bites while you’re on the road, successful road trips are born through successful planning. Therefore, we recommend taking care of the snack situation before you hit the road.
For flavorful, protein-packed, and no-mess road trip snacks, Mahogany Smoked Meats has the ideal solution. Our smoked jerky selection is perfect for bringing on road trips, hikes, or keeping in the car while you run errands. Stock up on your favorites for your next adventure and keep checking our blog for more food inspiration.