We go to the beach about once a month with our four kids. It’s nearly a three hour drive both ways and road trip snacks are a major part of the adventure. Along with packing up the chairs, towels and swimsuits, we always stock up with a combination of store-bought snacks and a couple of homemade road trip snacks from the kitchen. The goal is to not create a ton of extra work, yet keep us nourished and happy with fresh flavors and healthy snacks. Here are 20+ ideas for road trip snacks that even picky kids will enjoy. (NOTE: Please exercise caution when allowing food to be eaten while driving in a car, including considering the ages of children.)
Store-bought snacks for kids
- unsweetened apple sauce pouches (we love these from Brainiac Foods)
- beef jerky
- lightly salted nuts
- cheese sticks
- whole apples (never bananas... too squishy!)
- baby carrots in individual baggies
- yogurt in squeezable tubes
- hard-boiled eggs
- boxes of raisins
- rainbow goldfish
- pretzel sticks
- organic granola bars (Motherly's vp of content strategy always has these CLIF KID ZBARS stocked in the car)
Homemade snacks for kids
Usually two of these homemade beauties make their way into our cooler. If I’m really lucky, at least one of them is leftovers from earlier in the week or gets plucked from the freezer where I brilliantly stored it weeks ago.
If you’ve got 10 minutes, you can whip up a tasty little snack that your kids will ask for again and again. With tons of protein, these balls work great in lunch boxes, too.
There are times when I know our trip is going to include some less-than-healthy food. To balance our day, I love stashing something like these delicious muffins that are filled with fruit and veggies. Bonus: They freeze beautifully and experience shows that frozen muffins hold up better in a cooler than fresh.
These sweet little treats can stand in for breakfast if you’re leaving early. Filled with whole oats and sweetened with maple syrup plus a banana, you’ll feel good about feeding these to your littles any time of the day.
Not only do kids love eating these snacks on the road, but you’d be amazed at how handy it is to keep tiny hands occupied while you’re organizing the rest of the trip. You supply the cereal, string and baggies. They’ll do the rest!
If your kids love granola bars, but you’re over the extra sugar, these homemade nut-free snack bars are soft, not too sweet and satisfying.
These are an all-around family favorite. Just give yourself extra oven time because it takes a while to gently bake all the juices out of apples and give them that crispy, sweet flavor. (But, trust me, it’s worth it.)
Sometimes a road trip just calls for cake. I love anything that can be handed to the back seat without falling apart, or smearing frosting all over booster seats—while still tasting decadent.
When nothing but chocolate will do? It’s time to pull out the big guns, and the healthiest version possible. Store these in the cooler—and have wipes on hand.
This is another long bake with incredible results to show for it! The bonus of making fruit leather yourself? You’re always certain the main ingredient is real, honest fruit.
Stick with me here, because these crackers are for people who love a crunchy snack without a bag full of fillers and preservatives. Just fresh flavors that feel like a party in the car. (Plus, you’ll have enough to keep the rest in an air-tight container at home for when you return.)
Not only are these pizza rolls easy, but they’re also filling and full of flavors kids love. For a hearty snack, these are hard to beat.
A version of this story was published December 2021. It has been updated.