Road Trip Snacks for Kids: Easy and Healthy (mostly!) Snacks You Don’t Want to Miss

Toddler eating snack in carseat

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The Best “To-Go” Snacks for Family Travel

Road trip snacks for kids are one of the many things to think about when you’re packing for your family adventure, and it’s an important one! 

If you are traveling any significant distance with toddlers or kids, they will need to eat a snack.  You may choose to have a snack in the car or at a “pit stop.” 

The following are my tips and tricks to avoiding “hangry” kids on a fun family trip.  Included in this article is a list of foods that work great for snacks.  And, read on for how to pack the foods and make clean up easy.

Taking a few minutes to plan and prep your kids’ snacks will make your trip tons more fun, believe me!

group of healthy snacks

“Dry” Snack Ideas

Granola Bars

Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars

Earth’s Best Snack Bars

Teddy Graham Crackers

Trail Mix (careful of choking in young kids, give only if age-appropriate for your child)

Annie’s Snack Variety Packs- these include organic “Cheddar Bunnies”, “Bunny Grahams”, organic “Cheddar Squares” crackers


Veggie Straws

Dried Fruit- “Bare Baked Apple Chips”, dried apricots, dried cranberries, raisins, etc.

Peanut Butter Pretzels (I like the Kirkland ones)

Beef Jerky


Gummies (use sparingly)


For Toddlers: Puffs and Teething Crackers

Cold Snacks you Keep in Your Cooler

String Cheese

Cheese Sticks


Snap Peas

Sliced Sweet Peppers

Sliced Cucumbers


Pealed Boiled Egg

Sliced Apples

Berries- Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries

Pouches for Toddlers and Young kids

Fruit and veggie pouches are amazing, you should definitely use these with young kids.  On road trips, we used these for our kids long after we stopped using them at home.  They help keep your car cleaner and they are so easy to just hand to your kids!

toddler pouches for road trip snack


Water is the best choice for road trip drinks.  I recommend a water bottle with a lid. 

Klean Kanteen water bottles for kids are great.  These are durable, stainless steel, and they don’t leak.

How Many Snacks to Bring

Make sure to pack more snacks than you think you will need!  When we have been on the road, our kids don’t always eat much of their main meals.  Having extra snacks prevents them from getting hungry. 

We all know that hungry kids can equal grumpy kids.  And it’s no fun to be stuck in a car with anyone who’s grumpy!

So, I suggest packing at least 2 extra snacks per child compared to how much you would normally have in that time frame if you were home.  If your drive is 3 hours and normally you have one afternoon snack, I would pack 3 snacks per child.

With more snacks, you can offer variety and you will be prepared in case someone skips lunch! 

bowls of healthy dried fruits

You might have leftover food, but that’s better than not having enough! 

Oh, and I don’t think we should encourage our kids to overeat just because we are sitting in the car!  The kids don’t have to eat all the snacks that get packed, but the extra variety and meal supplements are a good plan.

Make sure to have entertainment (not necessarily screens) to help prevent boredom.  We don’t want our kids to just eat snacks because they are bored.  I have tons of road trip entertainment ideas here.

How to Pack Road Trip Snacks for Kids

It’s worth taking a couple of extra minutes to organize and pack your snacks ahead of time.  Remember you or your front passenger may be handing snacks back to your kids! 

You don’t want to mess with excessive packaging, peeling, or set up.

I like to pack the dry snacks into servings and either set them in a reusable grocery bag or you can pack a lunch box filled with snacks.

The lunch box filled with snacks works really well.  Hand the box back and your child can choose a snack from it at snack time!

kids snacks with surrounding text

I like to use silicon pouches for individual food storage.  Also, bento boxes can store food easily.

With your younger kids and toddlers, I love the Munchkin Snack Catcher Cups to help prevent food from spilling.  You can fill these up ahead of time too. 

For the items that you need to keep cold, use an insulated lunch box with a small ice pack or a soft-sided cooler depending on how many items you have.

Road Trip Snack Clean Up

After having a snack, there is likely to be a small mess.  Don’t panic over a few crumbs, just plan on vacuuming or getting your car cleaned after your trip.

However, there are things to do to prevent too much debris and mess if you snack in the car. 

Use a Kids Lap Tray

First, use a lap tray for your kids.  These are great for snacks; it works as a table and can catch messes.  These trays are good for road trips anyway as they are very versatile.  They work for snacks, drawing, playing with magnetic blocks, etc.


Wipes are another necessary clean up item!  Even at 2-3 years old, kids can wipe their hands and face with the wipes.  That will help reduce the mess in the car.  Also, when you stop, you can quickly wipe up wherever.

Trash Bag

Bring a trash bag.  This is useful for the wrappers and used wipes.  Any sort of car trash can or trash bag works. 

Collect the trash, then when you stop (i.e. for gas) just empty the trash.  If you’re driving a long distance, bring a few trash bags with you.

What Snacks to Avoid

There are many great snack options to pack, in fact probably too many to list.  However, there are a few I think you should specifically avoid!

Avoid Anything That Melts

Plan to avoid food that melts and/or becomes a sticky mess.

Kid with chocolate on hands and face, snack melted

So, no chocolate-covered granola bars, yogurt covered pretzels or chocolate raisins.  If your snack has a coating that melts, that gets on fingers and then smeared on the car!

Bring Foods Ready to Eat

Don’t plan to bring foods that require preparation right before you eat them.  For example, foods that need to be heated are too tricky to have on the road. 

pre packed pretzels

Make sure to do any cutting, slicing, or other prep before the trip.

Choose Fruits Wisely

I love to pack fresh fruit for my kids to eat!  BUT, don’t pack the juicier fruits.  So, I avoid oranges, peaches, plums, nectarines, etc. 

If fruits are not able to be pre-cut or aren’t bite-sized, you should skip it.

Not Too Much Sugar

And finally, don’t give sugary snacks after sugary snacks.  Too much sugar can upset the tummy. 

pile of gummy bears

Don’t give a huge packet of gummies to a toddler.  Trust me, you may just end up with GI distress.  Yikes!

Have Fun on Your Trip

This is a great list of yummy and generally healthy snacks for your road trip!

I know this list and these planning ideas will help get your family on the road just a little bit easier.

Don’t forget to read my article How to Road Trip with Young Kids and Love the Journey for an in-depth list of tips and tricks for enjoying your travel with your kids!

What road trips have you taken with your little ones?  I’d love to hear about them.

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5 thoughts on “Road Trip Snacks for Kids: Easy and Healthy (mostly!) Snacks You Don’t Want to Miss”

  1. I love the detail of this post because not only do you tell me the perfect snacks to take, you also let me know how to store them, and the things I need for clean up. Sometimes it’s difficult to know what to bring especially when I’m in a hurry. I usually forget something too so I can use this post as a checklist of sorts. Thank you!

  2. Love these suggestions. I am a huge car riding snacker so I load up on the snacks. Thanks for the awesome list!

  3. So, we don’t go on long road trips currently. Though we may go on more soon once we find a place that has good trails for kids that are young, but this is an awesome list of options for being at home too. My kids always want to snack and this provides a lot of healthy options. The peanut butter pretzels sound awesome – those would be for me though 🙂

  4. Haha the three main road trip (or any trip) snacks we would carry around were the apple sauce pouches, teddy grahams and strawberries. Strawberries are my son’s favorite snack any day so it would never fail… and if I combined that with apple sauce… he was one happy kid! lol

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