Healthy Road Trip Snacks for Kids

By: Carolina Cuevas, Penfield Children’s Center

Taking a road trip this summer, but don’t have a lot of time to pack snacks or prepare meals?

Don’t worry! Eating healthy on the road can be easy-breezy. The following list of food items will assure every member of your family is satisfied.

Packaged snacks:

Seaweed snacks:  Seaweed snack packs are tasty and crunchy and children love them. Seaweed is a sea plant that contains iodine, which helps regulate our hormones and our thyroid gland.

Trail mix: Nuts and seeds are a good source of DHA (omega 3-fatty acids), which supports a child’s brain growth and development. Dried fruit gives a hint of sweetness to the mix, which can encourage children to eat the nuts/seeds.

Veggie or whole grain crackers: Try to purchase wholesome and minimally processed veggie or whole grain chips and crackers.

Yogurt cups: When purchasing individual yogurt cups, aim for vanilla flavors or natural sweeteners, like honey. Yogurt is a good source of probiotics, which improves our metabolism, especially during long car rides. Yogurt is also a great source of calcium and protein.

String cheese: This is an easy snack to have on hand that children love. Cheese is a good source of calcium and protein.

Granola bars: Purchase brands that have ingredients you can read, such as oats, nuts and seeds, without unnecessary added sugar.

Produce snacks:

Baby carrots: Pair them with your favorite dipping sauce: ranch, peanut butter or even a yogurt-based dressing. Carrots are a great source of vitamins and antioxidants.

Sliced apples: I encourage you to pair them with peanut butter (it adds a source of fat, keeping your little ones fuller for longer). Apples are high in fiber and vitamin C.

Frozen grapes: Kids love candy, but it provides no nutritional value. Frozen grapes taste like mini balls of candy! Grapes are a great source of vitamin C, K and are full of antioxidants. Because they are higher in sugar content, your children will love them.

Have some time to prepare small meals? Here are some sweet and savory ideas:

Cheese sandwich:

You will need:

  • Whole wheat or whole grain bread: Read the ingredient list to make sure the first ingredient is in fact whole wheat flour and not blanched flour.
  • Cheese: Among the most nutritious options to purchase are mozzarella, cottage cheese, feta and provolone.

Good old peanut butter and jelly sandwich:

You will need:

  • Whole grain bread
  • Peanut butter: Aim to select a brand that has peanuts as the first ingredient.
  • Strawberry jam: You can make your own by heating some strawberries on the stove and letting them cool. The ending consistency should be like a jam. Spread onto bread as you would with regular jam.

Egg sandwich

You will need:

  • Whole wheat bread
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Finely chopped lettuce
  • Sliced grape tomatoes
  • 1-1 ½ tablespoons of mayo

Kiwi (or favorite fruit) wrap

You will need:

  • Whole wheat/grain wrap: Read the ingredient list to make sure the first ingredient is whole wheat flour.
  • Sliced kiwi
  • 1 tablespoon of cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter

Additional tips:

To make sure your kids eat their veggies and fruit, cut them into heart, star, rectangle or triangle pieces! This will be both eye catching and it will actually encourage your little one to eat the healthy snack.

If you have no time to pack snacks or meal prep, most gas stations and convenience stores sell packaged versions of the above suggested foods.

Eat as a family and be a role model. If your children see you eating fast food or processed foods, they will mirror your behavior. Be a nutritional role model so your children feel inspired by you.

What are your favorite healthy snacks for the road?


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