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Ask any parent and they’ll tell you: In order to survive a road trip with children (of all ages), you’re going to need to pack a variety of snacks.
There’s arguably nothing worse than your backseat squad getting hangry and complaining about it, so rather than relying on pit stops to stock up as you go, invest in a cooler and load it up with kid-friendly sustenance to keep everyone onboard happy and satiated. Granted, with so many pre-packaged food items lining grocery store shelves, deciding which treats are the best road trip snacks for kids can be tricky, but it all comes down to what sort of foods your child likes to eat versus what they wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole, and the types of foods you, as their parent, feel most comfortable giving them.
When it comes time to add to your cart, our advice is to make sure your travel spread has a little bit of everything — salty, crunchy, sweet, chewy, healthy picks, and, yes, even some not-so-healthy treats — to ensure any and every craving can be curbed.
To help, we’ve rounded up a variety of the best road trip snacks for kids below, and we guarantee there’s something to appease every snacker on the go.
1. Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Colors Cheddar Crackers
No road trip snack round-up would be complete without the mention of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers, so we’re putting them first to emphasize their importance. Goldfish are a snack beloved by both kids and adults and come in a variety of mouth-watering flavors, like original cheddar, parmesan, pizza, and their most recent launch, Franks Red Hot. If you’re entertaining little ones, we highly recommend the colorful crackers photographed below; they add a little extra something to the already smiling fish.
2. DINO BARS
After their first child, Liam was born, Jessica and Ian Saultz realized their sweet tot couldn’t stomach heavily refined sugars. This wasn’t much of an issue when the couple lived in Germany, but they quickly realized when they moved stateside that the market for sugar-free, store-bought snacks for kids in the U.S. wasn’t as booming. So, as most companies are, DINO BARS was born out of necessity.
Produced in South Carolina and shipped throughout the US and Canada, DINO BARS (not to be confused with the Reptar Bars ‘90s kids know and love) are fruit bars made with organic fruit powders and juice concentrates, oats, coconut oil, and hemp hearts. They’re free of artificial flavors, refined sugars, preservatives, and gluten, and — get this — their wrappers are edible, made from potato starch, water, and olive oil. The paper is tasteless, but it keeps your backseat litter-free.
3. Jax’s Original Monster Mix
Jax’s take on trail mix is a peanut-free, all-natural, and gluten-free alternative to other storebought mixes crowding grocery store shelves. Each package contains a miss-mosh of sesame sticks, vibrantly colored chocolate-covered sunflower seeds, dried fruit, and coconut chips, adding up to a solid 140 calorie snack that delivers a satiating balance of sweet, salty, and a whole lot of crunch.
4. YumEarth Organic Fruit Snacks
Like Goldfish, fruit snacks are another popular travel snack for kids, but YumEarth has a one-up on its competitors. These fruit snacks are organic, vegan-friendly, non-GMO, gluten-free, and free of the top eight allergens. They’re a healthier alternative to other fruit snacks on the market, but parents can rest assured: Kids won’t know the difference because they taste that good.
5. Mott’s Mighty Soarin’ Apple Juice
Road trip snacks should include beverages, too, and if your little ones love juice, you’ll definitely want a pack of Mott’s Mighty Original Apple Juice chilling in your cooler to quench their thirst. Brand new from the popular applesauce brand, Mott’s apple juices come in three flavors: Soarin’ Apple, Flying Fruit Punch, and Incredible Tropical. Each bottle is filled with 100% fruit juice with purified water and contains 50% less sugar than competing 100% juice drinks.
6. Crazy Richard’s Pb & Strawberry Wholly Rollies
All things Crazy Richard’s get this writer’s stamp of approval, but she especially loves the brand’s frozen peanut butter protein balls. Wholly Rollies are gluten-free, non-GMO, plant-based, free of added and refined sugars, and come in three flavors: PB & Strawberry, PB & Cacao, and Cinnamon Oatmeal. They make for a great travel snack or on-the-go breakfast for kids and are also great sources of fuel for anyone behind the wheel.
7. SOLELY Organic Fruit Jerky
Snacks that are quick and convenient don’t have to be unhealthy. Each strip of SOLELY’s Organic Fruit Jerky serves up organic, whole fruit and virtually nothing else — no sugars, no additives, no fillers. Just fruit (and the occasional pecan). With flavors like Banana Cacao, Spicy Mango, and Pineapple Coconut, meeting the children’s recommended daily serving of fruit has never been easier (and, arguably, never so delicious).
8. Perfect Snacks Perfect Kids Chocolate Chip Bar
You heard it here first: Some Insta-famous snacks really aren’t worth the hype, but Perfect Snacks Perfect Bars are. Perfect Bars are whole food protein bars made with better-for-you ingredients like organic nut butters, honey, oats, seeds, fruits, veggies, etc. They’re organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, come in a ton of decadent flavors like Coconut Peanut Butter and Blueberry Cashew. They also come in kid-size bars to meet your little one’s nutrition needs, too. Your little one can choose between Chocolate Chip or Peanut Butter (or both!), but make sure you have some kind of beverage on hand. These babies are decadent, delish, but desperately require a sip of something to wash them down.
9. GoGo squeeZ Fruit on the Go Variety Pack
If your child is accustomed to homemade smoothies, GoGo squeeZ Fruit pouches are the next best thing on the go. The brand’s fruity pouches are made with 100% real fruit and come in delicious flavor combos of apples, mangos, strawberries, peaches, and bananas. And if you’re looking for even more variety, GoGo squeeZ also makes fruit and veggie pouches, as well as yogurt pouches, plus snacks with prebiotic fiber.
10. Health Warrior Grains & Seeds Oatmeal Cups
Health Warrior’s new Grains & Seeds Oatmeal Cups are another great option for on-the-go breakfasts or lunches. Available in two flavors — Apple Walnut and Strawberry Almond — these breakfast cups are loaded with seeds and hearty grains, adding up to a whopping 10 grams of plant protein and six grams of fiber per serving. Plus, they’re super easy to prepare: Just add water and pop ‘em in the microwave before heading out on the road, or politely ask your barista at the pit-stop coffee shop for some hot water and let it soak. And if your child would like a little more flavor, no shame adding a drizzle of nut butter spread to the mix (we can’t recommend the 88 Acres Dark Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter enough).
11. Educational Snacks Dick&Jane Sweet Vanilla Presidents Crackers
These sweet vanilla crackers from Educational Snacks are essentially a play on animal crackers, but with a twist. Each circular bite-sized cracker don’s a president’s face, name, and number (one through 45), so your child can become educated on their four fathers while they eat. You can also choose packs with different themes, like Food & Nutrition, Fun Fitness, Farmers Market, and more, that will have other fun facts displayed on the crackers.
12. Elmhurst Milked Chocolate Oats Single Serve
Curb a chocolate craving fast with Elmhurst’s Milked Chocolate Oats single-serving bottles. The chocolate oat milk drink only contains six ingredients: filtered water, whole grain oats, cane sugar, dutch processed cocoa, natural flavors, and salt. It yields five grams of plant-based protein, five grams of fiber, and only three grams of fat. It’s a chocolate drink parents can feel good about giving their children, and because it’s made with whole grains, which take longer to digest, the decadent beverage will keep them satisfied and satiated longer (meaning your stash of snacks stays plentiful).
13. HIPPEAS Organic Chickpea Puffs
If you’re willing to risk a bit of mess (napkins all around!), we guarantee HIPPEAS Organic Chickpea Puffs are a snack the whole family will enjoy. Cheesy without the cheese, this vegan snack bag of airy puffs is made from chickpeas and made to taste like they’re coated with a dairy dusting by way of cleverly combined spices. And in addition to packing major flavor, each serving packs a punch of plant-based protein (four grams) and fiber (three grams).