Whenever we are heading off a long road-trip with our kids, snacks are an essential item! Unfortunately, convenient snacks for toddlers are oftentimes pretty unhealthy, not to mention expensive too. Keeping our small kids occupied in the back seat when we travel by car can be challenging at the best of times, without constant cries of “I’m hungry!” resonating around the car (which can drive anyone crazy!).
We found that there are loads of healthy snack ideas out there, but so many of them have the capacity to create a huge mess in the backseat of our car. If you’re looking at ways to save money on snacks, keep the car relatively clean and keep your kids healthy and happy, take a look at our yummy ideas. Don’t forget to check out our favorite toddler road trip music ideas in preparation for your next trip too.
Healthy Snacks for Car Travel with Toddlers:
Popcorn is a great healthy snack and it comes in all sorts of flavours. Buy a big bag and split it up into snack-size portions in boxes or sandwich bags. We find it can get a little messy, but at least it’s dry and easy to vacuum up! You can also have a go at making it yourself, which is a great option if you’re on a budget. Here are lots of yummy popcorn recipes for some inspiration – you might even find you want to make some for yourself!
*Popcorn can be a potential choking hazard for young toddlers. Discuss your child’s readiness for certain foods with their pediatrician.*
Sometimes, persuading our kids to eat fruit can be difficult and even a battle in some cases! Often, it’s the texture of certain fruits which puts kids off, or even the look of it and that it’s obviously fruit.
Dried fruit can be a great snack for kids; it looks different and tastes different to its fresh counterpart. It’s also much less messy than fresh fruit, as there’s no juice to be squirted over the back seat and no messy hands wiped on clothes. Banana chips, dried apple rings and dried apricots are some of the favourites. Do check that the dried fruit you purchase does not contain added sugars and crazy preservatives. You can easily grab some yummy dried fruits in health food shops and lots of supermarkets.
If you find popcorn a bit messy, try handing out rice or corn cakes. These are both really nutritious and filling. You can sandwich lots of healthy things in between them, like some homemade almond butter and banana or hummus.
Making your own granola bars is a great option for a practically no-mess and healthier snack. Shop bought cereal and granola bars are often packed with sugar, glucose syrup and additives which aren’t good for anyone!
Making your own can be a fun exercise to do with the kids as well (and maybe tire them out before you get on the road). You can pack them with your kids’ favourite things and they don’t have to be too difficult either. We have a few favorites, like blueberry vanilla & greek yogurt as well as double chocolate peanut butter. These recipes are healthy not to mentions delicious (we usually save a few for ourselves).
If you looking for an option with less sugar than dried fruit, try fresh mandarins, apples & bananas. All of these options don’t need to be pre-prepared, just grab a handful & a reusable bag for collecting the peels and you’re good to go. Let the kids know that these options are nature’s candy but also packed full of other nutrients.
Cold Smoked Vegetables
You don’t want to be feeding the kids snacks all day, as they need a proper meal. Sneak vegetables into your kids diet–something that can be tough for many parents–with cold-smoked vegetables. We’ve had some great success by changing up the flavors.
Try throwing some mushrooms, bells peppers and potatoes in a natural gas smoker. These veggies only need 30 minutes; once done, mix up the veggies in a plastic container and seal for the car. The kids can enjoy these cold, and with the yummy flavor, we found no food gets wasted or found squashed under the seat!
It can seem like a daunting task when it comes to staying healthy on the road with small kids, but with these ideas, it should be a little easier! Good luck on your next road trip and hopefully these snack ideas will keep the kids happy!
About the Author: Brittnay is an Australian who has lived in London for the past two years. She managed to squeeze in 21 trips to Europe & Africa in that time! She is passionate about her health and her family; you will find her healthy and delicious recipes on The Nut Butter Hub.