Since our family began making a bi-annual 12+ hour road trip to visit the grandparents five years ago, my methods of packing, entertaining the children and eating while traveling have evolved quite a bit.


I was the mom who vowed to never let her children eat snacks in the car. Now I laugh hilariously when I think about how naive I was ;) Since eating in the car is pretty much inevitable when you’re on a long trip, here are five healthy snack ideas you can give the kids {and yourself} while traveling. 

5 Healthy Snacks for Traveling with Kids - Less mess, better for you ideas the whole family can enjoy for snacking on a road trip!

You know I had to start with fruit first, in an effort to convince you that I possibly know what healthy means :) Grapes and clementine slices are fairly clean for kids who can eat them whole. Apple slices keep for a short time but brown quickly when exposed to air. {Anyone know how to fix that problem without lemon juice? Let me know in the comments!} Our family likes eating blueberries and the 14 month old can handle those when they’re small enough not to choke on {provided he doesn’t take them out of his mouth to examine them and then smear them all over his shirt}. Dried fruit is a hit in our family too. We get ours at Aldi but these Eden Organic Dried Cranberries look delicious as well.


Squeezable Fruit
We’ve only ever tried the Gerber Graduates Grabbers but my 14 month old cannot get enough and even the older two like them! I thought it was a rather weird concept and I wouldn’t buy them without a coupon or an Amazon Mom membership, but after sampling them this past week we’ll be taking them on the road. I’ve also seen squeezable applesauce, has anyone tried it?

String Cheese 
String cheese was a popular snack on my family trips as a child. Unless your kiddo is prone to car sickness, cheese helps fill them up until the next meal. They keep relatively well at room temperature for several hours. We like them cold but if you don’t have room for a cooler, just slip a sandwich bag of ice cubes into a Tupperware container and store them inside.

Trail Mix
Who likes trail mix? {Go ahead, raise your hand!} It’s a good bet your kids like it too. I love that you can make trail mix any old way you like it. Ours is a combination of raisins, pretzels, mini marshmallows, Kix and peanuts. You could substitute mixed nuts, other dried fruit or really whatever you like that isn’t too messy! 

Granola or Cereal Bars
Homemade chewy granola bars are delicious but sometimes I’m not in the mood to bake before I leave, so I do pick some up at the store {with a coupon of course} on occasion. Of all the granola/cereal bars we’ve tried, I’ve found that Kashi bars are the least crumbly. This year, we’re trying the Clif Kid Zbar, so I’m interested to see how my kiddos like them.

{Bonus} Veggies and Dip
For a long time I was hesitant to bring veggies along on our trip. I’m not really sure why, maybe I thought the kids wouldn’t eat them, even though they do at home! But honestly, nothing tastes better than a baby carrot when you’re getting sick of packaged {even healthy-ish packaged} food. So now carrots and celery are a welcome addition to our “car menu”. Sometimes if I’m really ambitious I’ll even include chilled little containers of dip. I’m thinking I might have to steam some carrots for the youngest for this summer’s trek.

I love that along with giving us healthier eating options, bringing lots of good snacks keeps the food budget down as well! 

What do you snack on when you’re traveling? Let me know in the comments! 

{Oh, and don’t forget to bring the baby wipes. Even if you don’t have a baby. Whoever invented those things was a genius.}


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21 Comments on Five Healthy Snack Ideas for Traveling with Kids

  1. Awesome! Its actually remarkable post, I have got much clear idea
    about from this article.

  2. Thanks for these tips! I am traveling with two little ones soon on a 10 hour flight-layover-3hour flight and then a 2 hour bus ride. I’ll need all the snacks I can fit into my bag! LOL :)

  3. So many of these are what we like too … the fresh veggies are a great idea, since mommy likes them too! Another Pinterest trick was to put PB in the bottom of a plastic jar and then puts sticks of cut up celery so each piece of celery comes out with a nice bit of PB on it! (I love PB & celery!) We also find that Goldfish (whole wheat) are a staple along with real fruit Fruit Snacks.

  4. We’ve made over a dozen 10 hour trips to visit family over the last four years (and spent a mini-fortune on gas!) We also love veggies. They are such a welcome treat from the junk food (even though we try!)

    Another favorite is popcorn (home popped in minimal butter/coconut oil) in individual paper lunch bags.

  5. great list! My son is obsessed with blueberries! He eats them frozen, so when he wants them he goes and hangs on the freezer handle. We have lots of blueberry stained clothes. (I’m not the best laundry lady!)

    Thanks for the ideas!

    Mary Beth

  6. Smashed Peas and Carrots blog shows you how to cut an apple and put it back together to keep it from browning.

    And yes it does work. :) After I cut the apple the way she does, I also cut those pieces into slices and then put the apple back together. I wrap the apple in a paper towel and then use a rubber band or put it in a baggie if it’s going to school for snack time. (My daughter’s classroom staff would throw away the rubber bands, so I quit sending them to school.) The paper towel comes in handy to hold the apple slices on a lap in the car, or as a clean “plate” on the lunchroom table.

    We are trying to step away from store bought processed foods and soy, so we like to take along things I’ve made, like wheat thins and muffins. We also like fruit (dried, fresh, packaged), trail mix, almonds, popcorn, and sunflower seeds (in the shell, gives them something to do I guess. LOL. – of course little ones can’t have those.)

    I love the idea for carrots and celery with dip. I saw on Pinterest how someone put the dip in the bottom of a cup and then put the sticks of celery and carrots in the cup-in the dip. We still have plastic cups with lids from toddler days, those would be excellent for this tip.

  7. Love all those! We just went on a long trip and although we didn’t take a ton of snacks I found it funny that when we stopped and got happy meals for the kids they both went for the apple slices first. an idea I saw on pinterest for the apple slices was to cut it and then put a rubberband around the sliced apple so it looks like the apple is still intact..then just take the band off when your ready to eat and the pieces shouldnt have browned. I haven’t actually tried it yet but it seems like it would work. We do the squeeze applesauce and fruit smoothies with my 20mth old son. I found the earths best brand peach banana smoothie at a deep discount store for .35/piece. I’m planning on going back to look for more today actually b/c they have been so convenient. Have fun on your trip..our trip was 12hrs as well so I feel your pain! I did make my own clipboard game/coloring pages for my daughter and she loved it.

    • I will definitely have to try the apple slice/rubber band thing! Thanks! And that’s a great deal on the EB smoothies too.

  8. I am glad that I am not the only one. My “baby” is 7 years old and I still carry a travel size bag of wipes!

  9. I use orange juice on my apples and that helps with browning as well…anything in the citrus family. You don’t need much :) The squeezable apple sauce is awesome. My son love it with the cinnamon as well. Thanks for the veggies tip!

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