How to Survive a Road Trip with Kids: Snacks

How to Survive a Road Trip with Kids: Snacks

Part 2: Road Trip Snacks for Kids

This article is Part 2 in a three-part series on surviving road trips with kids.  As you may recall, in Part 1 I shared our three keys to a successful road trip with young children: keep them busy, keep them eating, and stay organized.

Part 1 covered road trip activities.  From toys to activity books to car games, it detailed everything you need to keep young children busy on a road trip.

Today, we’re going to dive into road trip snacks for kids.  You may be wondering how I can devote an entire post to road trip snacks.  The answer is simple – in my experience, snacks are an absolutely crucial component of any successful road trip with children.  As a result, I’ve spent WAY too much time brainstorming the best road trip snacks and the best way to serve them.

Pre-kids-me swore I wouldn’t let my children eat in the car.  6-years-into-parenting-me knows that snacking kids are happy kids, and I will do almost anything to keep them happy and quiet on a road trip!

When I’m considering what snacks to pack on a road trip, my criteria is simple: I want it to take as long as possible to eat, and have the least potential for mess.  

Family road trip, boy sightseeing

That means things like the Pinterest-worthy plastic organizers filled with an assortment of snacks are out.  One unexpected turn or bump, or a jostled elbow from a sibling, and those perfectly portioned snacks would be all over my car.

Instead, you will find practical tips on what to serve and how best to serve it.  These are the snacks that keep my kids occupied – and happy – when we’re on the road.

Below is a list of our favourite road trip snacks for kids (my kids are 5, 3, and 1).  The items at the top of the list are appropriate for younger children, while the items at the bottom will be more appropriate for older children.  You’ll find a few treats thrown in as well.

You will likely have some favourite snacks that I haven’t included, but hopefully this will help you brainstorm some ideas that your little one will enjoy.

If your child is less than one year old, be very aware of what you give them.  I’m paranoid about choking – especially in the car – so I tend to err on the conservative side in terms of snacks for the littlest ones.

Related article: Ultimate Baby & Toddler Packing Checklist

road trip snack - apples

Road trip snack ideas

  1. Baby Mum-Mums (One of my favourite first snacks, they easily dissolve, and keep young ones occupied for a long time!)
  2. Puffs (Another great first baby snack that dissolves quickly.  Once kids figure out the snack trap, these are an excellent option in the car.)
  3. For the Canadians: Baby Gourmet Mushies (Another great snack trap-filler, my kids are obsessed with these.)
  4. Yogurt Melts
  5. Cheerios (In a snack trap, or string them onto a string and make them into a necklace – just make sure they don’t try to choke themselves!)
  6. Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies
  7. Fruit and veggie, applesauce or yogurt pouch (Make sure your little one can handle this on their own before you hand it back.  I’ve ended up with puree all over baby and the car seat more times than I can count!)
  8. Crackers (Graham crackers are a big treat in our house, and it takes my 1-year-old daughter about 5 minutes to eat one – a great road trip treat!)
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Peppers (Be careful if they’re wearing light clothing, red peppers stain!)
  11. Carrots (Steamed for the littlest ones)
  12. Snap peas
  13. Grapes (Halved or quartered as appropriate)
  14. Apples
  15. Clementines
  16. Seaweed
  17. Mini muffins
  18. Raisins
  19. Craisins
  20. Nuts
  21. Trail mix
  22. Pretzels
  23. Popcorn
  24. Veggie Straws
  25. Cheese cubes or string cheese
  26. Yogurt tubes (Save this for the older kids, one squeeze too hard and you can end up with a big mess!)
  27. Animal crackers
  28. Goldfish
  29. Fruit snacks
  30. Fruit & veggie bars
  31. Granola bars
  32. Cereal bars
  33. Mini marshmallows
  34. Chocolate chips (I like to make a kid-friendly trail mix and throw a few chocolate chips and marshmallows in for a treat.  Just be forewarned that melted chocolate chips are not fun to clean up!)  
  35. Froot Loops (Add these to a necklace with Cheerios, or throw them in the trail mix.)
  36. Twizzlers
  37. Ring Pops (They take a long time to eat!)

Pack plenty of water, for the kids and for you.  This is our favourite first sippy cup – it’s easy for young ones to manipulate on their own.  Once they’re a bit older, we like the Thermos Funtainer to keep drinks cold.

Boy sits in car seat, while Dad buckles up his brother for a road trip

Contain the mess

I like to portion out each kids’ snacks before we leave.  Not only does this help keep things organized, it avoids any potential for, “He ate my granola bar!” disputes, as well as any need to keep track of who has eaten what.  My older two each get a bag filled with their snacks, and for the most part they get complete control over what they eat when.

Snack traps are a must-have item to contain the mess in the car.  They’re not foolproof, but they drastically decrease the number of spills that we have to deal with.  As an added bonus, they slow my youngest down, making snacks last even longer than they would otherwise.  Our kids use snack traps right through their toddler years – we’ll use them as long as we can get away with it!

If you missed it, you can find Part 1 in the Surviving Road Trips with Kids series here.  Stay tuned for Part 3, filled with road trip organization tips!

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More than 37 easy road trip snack ideas for kids - babies, toddlers, and school-aged kids. These are our top road trip snack picks to keep them busy and minimize the mess! #familyroadtrip #familytravel #travelwithkids #kidsfood

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