A guide to choosing snacks for your kids before you hit the open road that they will eat and won't turn your car into a mess.
Ideas for fresh fruit, easier to eat sandwiches, nut butters and featuring a snack beloved by our entire family.
Taking road trips with kids is not easy.
We are always waiting for the kids to start saying "are we there yet?" - Bart Simpson style.
Or we are resisting ourselves from pulling the car over like we always threaten to do.
Don't forget the cries of "I am hungry".
So, why do we take kids on long trips?
The family memories that they make.
To help make more memories and less headaches for you in the front seat, we have come up with a guide to what snacks to pack for kids. It's part of our summer Hit the Road Snackin' series.
🧒 Good Snacks for Kids
Here is our list of road trip snacks for the kids.
- Individual nut butter packs (such as peanut butter or almond butter)
- Pretzel rods
- Mini Seedless Cucumbers
- Tortilla roll-ups
- Meat sticks or beef jerky
- Sliced cheese
- Yogurt tubes
- Dried Fruit
- Sunflower seeds (shelled are easier)
- Trail Mix (make your own custom blend)
💡 Top Tips
Here are some great ways for shopping and passing out those snacks.
We suggest having fruit for the kids that are more "snackable", like grapes over a whole apple. Plus grapes are easier to take with you and less likely to be bruised.
In season cherries are fun to give the older kids. Cleaning up pits in the car afterward is not. So give them a cup to put in their cup holder to collect their pits and be clear to put them all in the cup.
For pretzels we prefer giving the kids pretzel rods as they are easier to hand out. We don't like giving the kids a whole bag of snacks because often they will get spilled or stepped on when they leave the car.
Instead of packing sandwiches that produce copious amounts of crumbs, try giving the kids tortilla roll-ups instead of sandwich bread. Put PB&J or meat inside of a flour tortilla roll it up, and place it in a sandwich bag. This reduces crumbs as well as they are easier to pack and they don't get smashed like sandwich bread often does.
While string cheese or cheese sticks might be convenient the price is not. Did you know that you are actually paying more per pound to get less cheese than you would if you bought a block?. We slice up our own cheese before the trip. Put the cheese into a bag for each kid if you can ahead of time.
Dried fruit is a great option. You don't have to just pick raisins. try other dried fruits like apricots, mango, peaches, cranberries, blueberries, etc. We especially like mango has it comes into bigger pieces so less likely to spill or make a mess. You could also look for things like banana chips.
Yogurt tubes can be a great choice too. You can freeze them before hand so they keep longer in the cooler or insulated bag. Some advice, watch the sugar content of those tubes, many are notoriously high.
Granola is a great snack to pack, especially when you got chocolate involved. It's a better way to satisfy the sweet tooth over nutrition deficient candy bars. Let us share with you a family favorite granola.
🏆 Best Granola
Our favorite snack to pack for kids for the road is Granola Cookie Crunch 🙂
Granola is an easy snack that has been in our car every road trip we take. The downside is that it can be messy with loose granola winding up stuck in the car seats.
We recently discovered at my local Meijer store, the granola cookie crunch from Crazy Monkey Baking, a brand of Primary Colors Corp. Primary Colors is known for their sweets and treats featuring the kid favorite characters from Peppa Pig to Paw Patrol. And what kid doesn't love a crazy monkey!
How Did Crazy Monkey Baking Start?
Crazy Monkey Baking is the brainchild of Teresa Humrichouser. She began selling her granola cookie crunch at the farmer's market in Ashland, Ohio. The farmer's market is a place where you can't get away with subpar food. Those customers know what's good. They will become fanatic with what they like.
Teresa kept selling out each week. People started asking why she wasn't in the grocery store. The first store she got into was Buehler's Fresh Foods, a small chain of stores in Ohio. From there business has taken off, and she teamed up with Primary Colors to increase where you can find her amazing granola cookie crunch.
What's So Amazing About It?
When you bite into it, it's like eating a small crunchy cookie. A very flavorful one at that. The Mint Chocolate Chip smells and taste like the Thin Mints the girl scouts peddle. Sorry Girl Scouts, your cookies aren't 100% whole grain!
You can tell the ingredients are good by looking at the label and tasting the granola cookie crunch. The chocolate for one isn't the cheap stuff that you find in most packaged granola.
What Makes It Great for Travel?
You know how a lot of granola you buy is basically a bunch of crumbs? Not very good for travel. Crazy Monkey Granola Cookie Crunch stays together, so you don't make a mess trying to eat it.
All of the flavors come packed into resealable bags making them great for traveling too.
Here are the flavors you can get from Crazy Monkey Baking:
- Dark Chocolate Chip
- Mint Chocolate Chip
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip
- Cranberry Almond
- White Chocolate Cranberry
- Cinnamon Pecan
The Dark Chocolate Chip is the most widely sold flavor. The Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip is giving it a run for it's money. That variety is actually called a Cookie Crumble because it is smaller pieces. Teresa actually took it off the market for a while since it wasn't the same texture as the other flavors, but popular demand brought it back with the revised name.
Crazy Monkey also has these fun seasonal flavors.
- Pumpkin Seed & Spice
- Summer Lemon Coconut
- Gingerbread White Chocolate
🐵 Where to Buy Crazy Monkey Granola
Here is a list of some of the stores you can find Crazy Monkey Baking Granola Cookie Crunch and Cookie Crumbles at. You can see even more stores at Crazy Monkey Baking.
- Buehler's Fresh Foods
- Giant Eagle
- Earth Fare
- Fresh Thyme
- Jungle Jim's
- Plum Market
You can also find it in select TA/Petro travel centers. I am exited to see a good snack at a gas station as part of the reason we started this was to get you to avoid gas station snacks.
No store in your area? No worries, you can head right over to their website and order from there. They are offering a great deal too. When you order 5 bags, you get 1 bag for free. Shipping is free as well.
Primary Colors is working on distributing Crazy Monkey Granola Cookie Crunch to more stores in the future. So keep your eyes peeled (does that count as a pun because monkeys like bananas?)
🚙 Tips for Packing
We bring with us empty quart and gallon sized ziplock bags or plastic containers. These can be made to make quick snack bags that we can hand out to everyone in the back seat or to store snacks that we either had their original packaging ripped or came in unfriendly travel packaging.
We don't like just handing the kids a handful of a snack. That's usually when a lot of it ends up on the floor.
Probably the most important thing for success (your sanity) is to pack food they like. This isn't the time to try to get your picky eaters to eat more veggies if they aren't already. You want to do that at home in a stress free environment where you can take your time.
It's also important that you pack a good mix of snacks. You can include some fun things like sweets but try to find each kids' favorite savory snack from the list above.
Find anything you think is missing from our list? Leave a comment below? Share what you pack your kids on a long road trip.