A road trip wouldn’t be complete without snacks. As a child, I remember going on road trips with a brown paper bag filled with all of the essentials like licorice, Pringles, trail mix, chocolate covered raisins, crackers, and cookies.
Ten-year-old me thought it was glorious.
Fast forward to growing up and becoming a health-conscious parent.
The thought of that brown paper bag makes me cringe. Yikes!
I’m trying to instill healthy habits in my children by fueling their bodies with proper nutrition and staying away from processed foods and sugars. Having a child with food allergies and other dietary intolerances can make finding on the go healthy options even more challenging.
Over the years, I’ve realized that we don’t have the luxury of running into the gas station to grab what we need. In fact, running into the store isn’t usually an option either. Specialty foods are often sparse or overly priced. Add on precious time to check over food labels and you have hangry kids and a husband who is ready to leave you in the dust.
This is why packing all of our food ahead of time is an absolute must for our family.
It helps ensure that we always have SAFE and HEALTHY foods on hand for when little mouths are hungry. It also saves us money as we aren’t stopping to buy over-priced food along the way.
Most of the items on this list of healthy travel snacks for kids can be purchased online. Others can be prepared fairly quickly. They all store nicely and make a minimal mess.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to products I love and recommend. It costs you nothing extra if you purchase through my link, but I may get a small commission.
Healthy Travel Snack Ideas for Kids
Fresh Fruit & Veggies
Fresh produce is our absolute favorite snack. Cucumbers, carrots, celery, pea pods, berries, clementines, and apples are some of our favorite road trip snacks. Fresh, whole foods are the best fuel source for keeping our bodies healthy and thriving. Make sure that you cut your produce accordingly so that it doesn’t pose a choking hazard for your child.
Nut and Seed Butters
We love the extra protein that nut butter adds to our snacks. You can spread it on crackers, fruit, and veggies. Many brands and flavors come in single-serve packets which are great for traveling. They can be really messy though so be prepared.
These blender muffins have been a household staple since we came across the recipe years ago. The best part about them is that you can switch up the recipe to fit your family’s dietary needs without affecting the overall taste and texture. They freeze really well so take them out of the freezer before heading out the door and they will be thawed and ready to eat in no time.
Sprouted Nuts and Seeds
When it comes to nuts and seeds, we try to make sure that they are sprouted before consuming them. Sprouted foods not only taste better, but they are healthier for you too. Sprouted foods are easier to digest and help break down phytate, which is a form of phytic acid. Phytic acid is an anti-nutrient, which decreases the absorption of vitamins and minerals in the body. For these reasons, I recommend consuming sprouted nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains whenever possible.
Although it is generally high in natural sugars, freeze-dried fruit is a great option when traveling. I love that it’s shelf-stable so it’s perfect to keep in a diaper bag or carry on.
Almond Flour Crackers
We love everything we’ve ever had from Simple Mills. What I love most about their products is that they use real-food ingredients and all of them are gluten-free.
There’s nothing quite like a bowl of freshly popped popcorn. Our preschooler recently started enjoying popcorn so we had to add it to our list. It’s easy to clean up and is a great snack for on the go.
Beef Sticks & Venison Sausage
My husband is an avid hunter so we almost always have venison sausage on hand. It’s the perfect on the go snack that truly is filling. When we need something more shelf-stable, these beef sticks are a great option.
My husband is the only one who regularly consumes dairy in our home but we usually pack a snack or two for the driver. If you consume dairy, cheese is a great option as it’s full of protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals. The convenience of string cheese and cheese cubes are also great for traveling.
The best part about trail mix is that your little ones will love helping you add all of the ingredients together. The possibilities are endless. We like to add several items from this list including nuts, seeds, popcorn, granola, and oat o’s. You can also toss in some goji berries, dates, dairy-free or sugar-free chocolate, coconut flakes, and raisins. Trail mix is one of our favorite healthy travel snacks for kids because everyone can make it exactly how they want, according to taste preference.
These chewy bars are so good, you won’t want to stop after just one. They are soft enough for toddlers to eat and made with clean ingredients that you can trust. The Simple Mills brand does contain some tree nuts and eggs. The Enjoy Life brand is free of 14 common food allergens.
Granola is a special treat that we like to put on yogurt and cereal. It is also a pretty tasty snack all by itself. A lot of granola is hard and crunchy, which isn’t the best for little ones. We discovered the Within/ Without brand recently and have been happy with the taste and texture. The pieces are also bigger so you won’t be left with tiny pieces of granola all over the car. This brand is grain, dairy, soy, and gluten-free. It doesn’t have any refined sugars and contains simple ingredients. It does contain some tree nuts so be sure to check the label accordingly if you or your child has a tree nut allergy.
Fruit & Veggie Pouches
These pouches are one of the most convenient healthy travel snacks for kids. and have been a staple in our home for a few years now. We keep them stocked in diaper bags, purses, and vehicles. I love that they are convenient and almost mess-free. When I am not pressed for time, I blend up my own fruits and veggies and add them to reusable pouches. Not only does this save money, but it also saves on waste which is a win for the environment. It’s also the best way to ensure that you know exactly what is in your child’s food.
*Mom Tip- Keep a bib near your pouches, especially for little ones. That way you can quickly throw it on and avoid colorful messes of pureed food all over your little one’s clothing and car seat.
Sprouted Oat O’s
These are not the same Cheerios that you had growing up. These Sprouted Oat O’s from One Degree Organic Foods are the cereal that we snack on. We prefer them in a bowl with milk and berries but they are just as tasty on their own or in trail mix. Their products are organic, vegan, non-GMO, and they list exactly where each ingredient comes from on their website, now that’s transparency. I’ve found the best deals for this brand at Vitacost. Be sure to use Rakuten so you can earn cashback on your purchase.
Both of our girls LOVE these melts. There are made with fruits and veggies and have only 4 ingredients. They are easy to chew, melt in your mouth, there’s no added sugar, and they are gluten and dairy-free. My fellow food allergy parents will also love that they are made in a peanut-free facility.
Whenever we take a trip where we will be gone for several hours at a time, we pack a few sandwiches. Sun butter and jelly are a favorite for our preschooler. Our toddler is completely grain-free but she loves these wraps that we prepare similar to how we would a sandwich.
As you can see, a lot of thought goes into getting ready for traveling with kids. Whether it’s an outing to the zoo or a weeklong trip that’s hours away, preparing foods that are safe and healthy options for our family is important. Little bellies are fed and mama’s worrisome heart is put at ease knowing her little ones are being fed safe and nutritious snacks.
I hope you enjoyed this list of healthy travel snacks for kids. Be sure to check out this list of our favorite storage containers and other must-haves while traveling with young children.
Love & Blessings,