This post may contain affiliate links. See the disclosure tab for more details.
Are you getting ready for a road trip with the kids? Be sure to pack some snacks!
Road trips can be a lot of fun, but they can also be hard on little ones who get hungry.
It's important to have healthy, mess-free road trip foods available if you want to keep them happy.
Today I’m sharing some of the best kids road trip snacks that are nutritious, *mostly* mess-free and will keep everyone satisfied during your travels!
Why Bring Your Own Road Trip Foods?
It may take some extra work, but here are the reasons to bring your own kids road trip snacks!
Buying food ahead of time can save you money by eliminating stops at gas stations or convenience stores for snacks.
The prices are usually marked up and will cost you much more.
Healthy Road Trip Snacks
If you are trying to eat a balanced diet, it can be difficult to do without planning ahead.
One way to stay on track with eating healthy is by purchasing snacks and meals in advance.
This way, you'll have plenty of healthy options to choose from when you're feeling hungry.
Plan for the Worst
Caught in traffic? Road trip taking much longer than expected?
Being prepared with a few road trip meals can keep everyone's hanger levels low.
Packing food for picky eaters can be challenging.
While you may want them to try new foods, it's often easier to stick with foods they already enjoy.
With a little creativity, you can still offer them a variety of healthy options that they'll look forward to eating.
Preparing Food for a Road Trip
Shopping for Road Trip Snacks
Prepare for your road trip by choosing a shopping day close to your trip.
Shopping about two days in advance ensures food stays fresh but it's not last minute.
Create a list of everything you need to pick up so you know you have enough to feed everyone on your trip.
How to Store Food for a Road Trip
Bag of Snacks
My preferred method of packing snacks is putting them in a small, organized tote bag.
It keeps all snacks together so the passenger is in charge of handing them out.
The bag is then stored behind the driver's seat and we can access it easily.
A Bento box is a great way to present several snacks to kids.
The separate compartments are perfect for adding multiple types of food so picky eaters have several choices in front of them.
It also seals shut so you are able to tip it without it spilling – perfect to hand to the bigger kids in the backseat on a road trip!
For an inexpensive road trip snack box, try a tackle box and fill it with 20+ different snacks!
This method risks spills, so make sure your kids are old enough to handle the responsibility.
Baggies can be used in a few different ways.
You can bring a box of sandwich bags and fill bulk snacks as needed or you can portion out bags and have them ready to hand out when kids get hungry.
Either way, packing ziplock bags is a must!
In addition to sandwich size bags, gallon size bags are equally useful on road trips.
I give each kid a gallon size ziplock with all their snacks in it for the trip.
They can then choose to eat them whenever they want and pace themselves along the way.
Road Trip Snacks for Kids
Kids are pretty easy to shop for but are great at snacking.
I'm always sure to pack more snacks than I think I'll need because kids will eat out of boredom on long road trips.
Here are a few of our favorite snacks for the bigger kids.
Road Trip Snacks Non-Refrigerated
- Granola Bars
- Beef jerky
- Oranges or Mandarins
- Bananas: store these in a safe place where they won't get bruised
- Avocado: Bring a spoon to eat this one
- Dried fruit or Freeze-dried fruit: Look for no sugar added
- Peanuts or other mixed nuts
- Sunflower seeds
- Fruit Snacks
- Rice Cakes (bite-sized)
- Mini beef sticks
Road Trip Snacks for Toddlers
Planning a road trip with your toddler? Here are some great snack ideas to keep them happy and fueled during the journey:
- Veggie straws
- Applesauce pouches
- DIY trail mix (based on their age and favorite finger foods)
- Dry cereal
- Fruit strips
- Cheese crackers
- Graham crackers
Snack Cups for Toddlers
Toddler-friendly snack cups are a must for toddlers in the car.
With long car rides, snacks cups are the perfect way to make sure they can always have a snack when they need it.
Make sure you choose one that you are able to refill and attach to their car seat so it won't get lost!
Sometimes it's worth it to bring a cooler or even plug in a tiny fridge to store some cold foods. This really opens up the variety of road trip foods you can bring.
- Carrots and dip
- Celery and peanut butter
- Snap peas
- Sliced peppers
- String cheese
- Babybel cheese wheels
- Yogurt tubes or drinkable yogurt
- Hard boiled eggs
- Lunch Meat
Best Cooler Bag
The RTIC Soft Cooler 30 is my personal favorite for road trips.
With a capacity of 30 cans plus ice, this thing will keep your food and drink cool from start to finish!
It's lightweight durable, leak-free and sweat-free which is ideal for keeping in your car.
If you have a multi-day trip and can't maintain ice packs with a cooler, try a mini refrigerator.
These can plug right into the outlet in your car and keep all your kids road trip snacks cold without the mess of ice.
Road Trip Lunch Ideas
Choosing a stopping point for lunch is always a good idea.
You could go into a restaurant and stretch your legs.
The kids could definitely use a break if this is a long trip.
If you want to pack your lunch, here are some of the easiest options:
- Uncrustables (Frozen peanut butter & jelly sandwiches)
- Bean or beef burritos: Freeze these ahead of time and let them thaw
- Lunchables – or homemade lunchables
- Protein meal bars
- Wrap with tuna packet
- Bagel with almond butter
- Chicken salad on a wrap
- Deli meat sandwiches or wraps
- Premade, frozen smoothies
Tips for Packing and Prepping Road Trip Meals
- Decide how you will be handing out road trip foods: As kids get hungry or all at once before the trip
- How will you serve the snacks: Bento box, tackle box, or individual packaging
- Choose where to store the snacks on the road trip – a bag or tote? Convenient to the passenger or back seat?
- Stock up! Plan your shopping trip and buy all the road trip meals you need!
Road Trip Ready with Kids Road Trip Snacks
Road tripping with kids can be fun if you're prepared.
Packing the right snacks is key to a successful trip.
If you’re not prepared, you may find yourself making expensive and unhealthy stops.
By packing your own snacks, you can control what you eat and save money.
What are some of your favorite road trip snacks for kids? Share them in the comments below!