9 Healthy, Portable Snacks for Family Road Trips
By Elsie Callender, Contributing Writer
What’s a road trip without snacks? For me, food is an essential part of any journey. Having something to snack on helps to pass the time in the car–and saves you from pulling into McDonald’s when hunger strikes!
Healthy, portable snacks will keep your family full longer, and your kids won’t get hyper from all the sugar and artificial food dyes in processed snacks. Because you don’t want hyper kids locked in a car for hours on end, right?
It’s a good idea to have a small cooler designated just for snacks, so you don’t have to dig through the big ice chest every time you want a carrot stick. Store all your snacks in that cooler, along with an ice pack or two, to keep homemade snacks from spoiling or getting melty.
In addition to your road trip snacks, be sure to bring:
- Hand sanitizer
- Hand wipes
- A trash bag
- Reusable water bottles (a unique bottle for each family member, so you can tell them apart!)
Ready to plan your snack menu? Here are 9 picks for healthy, portable snacks for your summer travels!
1. Hard-boiled eggs
We love boiled eggs for road trips because they’re non messy, and with 6 grams of protein they make a more substantial snack than other options. When we camp, we boil eggs for the next day while we’re prepping supper at our campsite.
2. Homemade fruit roll-ups
Store bought fruit roll-ups contain a cocktail of corn syrup and artificial food dyes. Not a healthy snack! Thankfully, you can make your own easily enough, using any combination of berries or chopped fresh fruit that your family enjoys!
3. Homemade granola bars
Granola bars are filling and provide lots of nutrition in a small package. Try this recipe for Chewy Chocolate Chunk Granola Bars, or this one for Perfect Peanut Butter Granola Bars.
4. Non-messy fruit
Apples, pears, and grapes are good picks because you can eat them with their peels (unlike oranges) and they won’t drip juice all over your hands (unlike plums).
5. Sliced veggies
Carrot sticks, celery sticks, and bell peppers are refreshing–and not too messy!
6. Homemade cheese crackers
If your kids love Cheez-It crackers, try a healthier, homemade version instead!
7. Trail mix
Use any combination of almonds, walnuts, peanuts, raisins, chocolate chips, sunflower seeds, pecans, dried apricots, popcorn, pumpkin seeds, etc. For a fun pre-vacation activity, you can have your kids assemble their own personal trail mixes ahead of time. Set out all the options in bowls, and let your kids fill their own labeled bag or container.
8. Beef jerky
This is another highly-processed snack–if you buy it in the grocery store! But you can make your own at home using ground beef. (If you don’t own a dehydrator, use your oven’s lowest setting.)
9. Snack boxes
If you’re just traveling for a day or two, you can portion out individual snack boxes for everyone ahead of time. Fill sectioned snack boxes with crackers, sliced cheese, homemade hummus, sliced fruit, etc. and store in the cooler.
For more real food snack ideas, check out the eCookbook Healthy Snacks to Go by Katie Kimball. It includes 45 recipes perfect for camping trips, picnics, family vacation, and more! Pick up your copy HERE.
Are you taking a road trip this summer? What are your favorite healthy, portable snacks?
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Great post, Elsie! Thanks for linking to the cheese crackers!
Great ideas for travel snacks. Even though we don’t have little ones, we still take along snacks as we travel. I keep wipes and such in my vehicle at all times. One thing that my mother kept in her vehicle was old towels to put over your lap while eating anything in her car. I love this idea. As for water bottles, we have several. We write the names of the owner on them with markers. We also have coffee mugs for the start of the trip. Love this site and all the great info it contains! Keep up the great work.
Good ideas! You could just shake the crumbs out of the towel at the next pit stop, and wash everything at the end of the trip! Love it!
We find sliced turkey and sliced cheese are also great snacks on road trips. We just slice it before we leave, so it’s easy to eat. It provides a simple, easy main dish for a meal on the road (we tend to eat while driving, so we can spend our stops Moving). Here’s a list of what we brought on our last big road trip: http://everydaymindfulliving.com/preparing-for-a-family-road-trip/
We eat while driving, too, oftentimes! And I’m with you on leaving early in the morning so you can get to your destination and enjoy it!
Yes to healthy snacks on road trips! I actually wrote a similar post about how important healthy eating was on our two week road trip with three kids 4 and under this spring. We made exceptions here and there, but making good food choices made a huge difference in how we all felt and how my kids acted. We were in the Florida heat, too, so good snacks like juicy fruit and drinking water were important.
I love the idea for hard boiled eggs. We take those on road trips/picnics sometimes too. Some of our other favorite snacks on road trips have been dark chocolate pumpkin seeds, fruit and vegetable pouches, and cheese slices. I also like to bring along organic lollipops as a good alternative to artificial candies and sweets. Here is what we packed on our last road trip (http://www.thispilgrimlife.com/how-to-eat-healthy-on-a-road-trip/). 🙂
Thanks for sharing that list! I love that you bring pudding cups, and I want to do that next time!
i have a perpetually snacking four-year-old and a 10 day road trip at the end of the month so i am right in the middle of thinking this through. we always have fresh apples, bananas, peppers, carrots, & cucumbers along, but i’m also going to make some zucchini chips & dehydrated banana & watermelon “candy”. cheese strings, maybe with a slice of meat wrapped around it, costco sized container of mixed nuts, homemade mini muffins and/or energy bites and i should make my own jerky if i have enough time because otherwise i can’t resist buying it on the road… we’ll also pack tuna/salmon & crackers for an easy lunch (though best served outside of the vehicle). and definitely some suckers and gum as good behaviour motivators!