Best portable snack ideas for traveling as a family

Jun 14, 2013 at 3:00 a.m. ET

Every mom knows that the best defense is a good offense. Keep road trip whining at bay by preparing delicious and nutritious portable snacks in advance of your family's summer travels.

Kids snacking on grass

Ah, summer: that glorious season of backyard barbecues, citronella, fireworks and road trips. If a road trip is in your near future, and if you're brave enough to bring your children with you, make sure you have portable snacks on hand to keep them well-nourished and reasonably satisfied.

Stretch Island fruit sticks

Many fruit-based snacks are full of added sugars and artificial flavoring — which means that they're basically just candy in disguise. Stretch Island fruit sticks are different, though, because they're made of 100 percent fruit with no artificial ingredients, and they come in a wrapper so they won't go bad while you're on the road.

Squeez'Ems purees

You can always purchase premade squeezable snacks at the grocery store for babies, toddlers and even big kids, but these snacks tend to be pretty pricey. Moms can fill convenient, portable Squeez'Ems with their own homemade puree for major cost savings.


Bananas almost made the list instead of grapes because their peel makes them highly portable, but they also bruise easily when bags are jostling about. Grapes are great for road travel because they resist bruising and are bite-sized for mess-free snacking. Just throw a handful in a resealable bag for Junior to enjoy.

Horizon milk

Packing a cooler for chilled beverages is just not an option sometimes. But if you want your child to drink milk while traveling, you're not out of options. Horizon's single-serve organic milk is shelf-stable, meaning that it can keep for long periods of time at room temperature.

Whole-wheat mini bagels

For a crashing kid in need of carbs, keep a few whole-wheat mini bagels on hand. They're not crumbly like chips and goldfish, and the whole-wheat version will fill an angry child's belly with long-lasting energy. They're also good for throwing at children if they're really acting crazy in the backseat.


Try to stay away from popcorn with a lot of fat, sugar and salt. You'll feel surprised at how easy it is to prepare delicious, mess-free popcorn in just a few minutes from healthy recipes available online. Ingredients like chili powder, garlic or Parmesan cheese pack a punch without all the calories.

Sammy roll-ups

Take a piece of deli meat, top with a slice of cheese, add a couple of baby spinach leaves, slather on mustard or mayo as "glue," roll it all up, and enjoy for a pseudo meal.


Turkey and beef jerky are low-calorie, low-fat, high-protein snacks that are made for the road. They'll keep for a long time, and they'll keep your children quiet for a long time, too.

Celery sticks

Many veggies dry and shrivel quickly when they're not refrigerated, which can make it hard to plan on fibrous goodness for the family while on the road. Celery sticks are a great exception to the rule, though. They do well without refrigeration and are great for dipping in single-serve peanut butter packs.

Wasabi peas

Do you like a little spice and crunch while traveling, but don't want to deal with greasy hands from barbecue flavored potato chips? Wasabi peas are a delicious, zesty, bite-sized alternative that won't leave your mouth covered in a slick of oil.

More travel tips for moms

Tips and tools for making traveling easier
Help your child create a travel journal
Fun car games for your family road trip