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Best Snacks For A Family Road Trip

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Aside from gas, the biggest road trip budget buster is food. A quick stop at McDonald’s can easily run my family $30.

Even if you don’t mind spending the money, many of us dread filling our families’ bodies with calorie and fat-laden fast food on a day when the most activity anyone will get is walking between the car and the restroom during pit stops. All that salt and grease can make you feel sluggish and bloated–not how you want to feel on vacation!

Luckily, with just a little advanced planning and prep work, you can keep your family well-fed AND healthy. I just stocked up for our upcoming cross-country road trip. Here’s what I got:

Road Trip Snacks

In our picnic basket, I packed essentials like wet wipes for cleaning up sticky fingers and faces, disinfecting wipes for cleaning up sticky messes on seats and doors, paper towels to wipe up messes and double as napkins, plastic grocery bags to contain trash, trail mix, sunflower seeds, protein bars, beef jerky, Veggie Straws, peanut butter, whole grain Goldfish, Triscuits, and dill pickles.

Anything that wasn’t already portioned out, I removed from its packaging and put in a reusable (but also disposable) plastic container to help prevent snacks from being crushed or spilled. Items that were pre-portioned (e.g. trail mix packs and protein bars), I put in resealable sandwich bags so that I would have somewhere to put the wrappers once the snacks were eaten.

road trip snacks on a brown table

I tried to stick with foods that wouldn’t be messy on the road. This is why, despite our love of bananas, oranges, and strawberries, none of them are included. Instead, I chose blueberries, raspberries, grapes, celery sticks, baby carrots, sugar snap peas, shelled edamame, cheese sticks, sliced cheese and deli meat, and yogurt tubes. I also brought along some hummus for the veggies.

I know a lot of you are looking at these food items thinking that you could never get your kids to get on board with these options. Perhaps even you aren’t thrilled with them, preferring a greasy burger or bag of chips. If you ONLY have healthy options available though, that is what you and your family will eat! There is something in this assortment to satisfy every craving whether it be sweet, salty, crunchy, or creamy.


  • Nuts
  • Seeds (e.g. sunflower or pumpkin)
  • Popcorn


  • Berries
  • Grapes
  • Raisins or Dried Fruit


  • Whole Wheat Crackers or Goldfish
  • Carrots Sticks or Baby Carrots
  • Celery Sticks


  • Peanut Butter
  • Hummus
  • Yogurt Tubes


  • Protein Bars or Granola Bars
  • String Cheese or Cheese Cubes
  • Jerky
  • Peanut Butter Sandwiches With Jelly, Honey, or Nutella
  • Deli Meat and Cheese Slices With Pickle Spears


  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Edamame
  • Snap Peas


  • Water in reusable BPA-free bottles
  • Flavor Packets (e.g. Mio or Crystal Light)
  • 100% Fruit Juice Cartons
  • Vegetable/Fruit Blend Juice Cartons
  • Chocolate Milk Cartons

As you can see, you have plenty of healthy food and beverage choices that won’t make a mess in the car. Don’t forget to check out my other articles to help you prepare for family travel:


24 thoughts on “Best Snacks For A Family Road Trip”

  1. Pingback: 25 Ways to Make Traveling with the Family Easier
  2. What a fabulous list! I love that these are healthy snacks, and it’s such a reminder that a trip does not have to be an excuse to overindulge! I’m featuring this in my travel round up post. Thank you!

  3. Fruits, veggies and nuts are always a great snack for road trips. We always do cheese also and we take Zesta saltine crackers too.

  4. You hit the nail on the head! One trip we went on, many years ago, we had eaten so much nasty foods that my ankles were swollen by time we got home and I couldn’t walk properly for almost two days. (18 hours straight through) so I learned my lesson the hard way!

  5. Those are all great snack ideas! We like to stock up on granola bars, rice krispie treats, and a lot of fruit. Anything that won’t make a mess if it is spilled.

  6. I agree with you about stopping at Mcdonald’s it is expensive and unhealthy. I also like to pack snacks for traveling. I am all about cheese sticks, grapes, dried fruit and goldfish crackers. I also always travel with plenty of water or juices.

  7. Great list. we are road tripping it in a few weeks and need to add these to my grocery list. thanks

  8. My Mom always use to pack tons of food when we went to visit my grandparents. I remember loving the fact that if we were hungry she would just reach back with food. We didn’t have to stop. Our pit stops were quick, and we could head back out.

  9. You’ve definitely covered all the flavors I love! Great list AGAIN! Lately we’ve been doing a lot of fruit to cover the sweets part though. I think it’s definitely better for everyone.

  10. We always travel with snacks. Live food bars, water, granola, nuts, pretzels, sliced veggies, apples.

  11. I love them all! When we go on a trip, I am always packed with treats and dishes – I bring my own huge food bag 🙂

  12. Love your snack suggestions and yes having only healthy food options make you choose the healthy food when you are hungry. I also recycle containers, easy clean up on the road! Great list!

  13. This is a great list of snacks to take on the road. I hate eating at fast food places while on the road! Thanks for sharing this list!

  14. I take a lot of fruit and vegetables when I go on a trip. Plus, for the rest of them,… I take cheese, crackers etc….

  15. My boys are about to be going on vacation with my mom so I will be sure to pack some of these. Thanks for the great post.

  16. Love these ideas and they are great for traveling with a family-especially distances in a car!! Those fast food joints are really not all that good for anyone!!


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