Best Travel Snacks for Toddlers by a Registered Dietitian
This past year has been hard for so many reasons, but we were blessed this year with our son Lincoln! He came during a crazy time in history but we wouldn’t have it any other way. In fact, he just turned one year old!
That said, we’re going on our FIRST family vacation and it’s a road trip. In the car. With a toddler. Time to prep those snacks!
First of all, you should know it’s not safe to feed a kid in their car seat. While I’m planning to provide snacks when we stop, which I know will be frequent, I also will be in the back seat and likely offer some easy to swallow/melt snacks when needed. But when you make those stops we want to make the most of them and provide a nutrient dense and easy to eat snack/meal to help fill those quickly emptying bellies.
Things to consider
Try pairing food groups together. One food group is going to digest and leave a toddler (or adult too for that matter) hungry much sooner. Two or more food groups will help keep their belly satisfied and full. Try pairing a protein and a fruit, a fat and a veggie, grain and fat…you get it!
Also, try to stick close to your schedule you have at home. We did breakfast and his milk before we left. We whipped up some of his favorite banana pancakes (1 banana, 2 tbsp whole wheat flour, and 1 egg) because I knew he’d eat all of them and have at least one good meal in him. Typically he eats a snack before lunch, lunch plus water, a bottle/milk and snack after nap, dinner and…you guessed it another snack! Will we follow this perfectly on the road? Nope, we will do our best and get him back on schedule when we get to our destinations.
Have a variety of food packed! I’ve got my list below for you to see what I chose but variety is key. Also, food packages double as toys for at least a few minutes and every minute counts when you’re entertaining a toddler on a road trip.
Pack known favorites! I understand how stressful it can feel to feed a toddler so if you have some guaranteed foods they almost always like, grab those! I packed blueberries and a knife to cut them in half because he always gobbles those up. Crackers, cheerios, packaged tuna or chicken…grab those favorites!
Give me that list!
Alright, alright I know you’re here for the list so here we go. Let me show you what I’m packing.
Plain Cheerios, yogurt melts, whole wheat crackers, pouches, packaged pureed prunes, cups of veggies and fruits, Happy Tots granola bar and one pre-made meal, Annie’s Mac and cheese cups, tuna, chicken (pouch), sliced olives, Go squeeze veggie/fruit purées, and Horizon shelf stable whole milk.
What about milk?
We had bought some of the Horizon brand shelf stable milk which will help when we’re hiking or out and about. We also pre-filled his bottles and a stainless steel water bottle with milk we bought this week that we didn’t want to go to waste. A lunch box and two freezer packs will keep it safely cooled.
We plan to get groceries when we’re there but because I had blueberries, kiwis, and apples to eat at home they came with us. Grabbing a pairing knife that comes with a cover is handy for when you prep that fruit. We also have paper towel, plates, his normal food bib, wipes, and a portable pop-up high chair. It may seem like we packed everything but the kitchen sink…because that’s pretty much how it went!
Groceries for the little when you arrive
As I said, we’re cooking a lot at our destination so I plan to buy groceries for the dinners us and our friends chose but here’s what I’ll do for breakfast and lunch:
- Eggs, toast and peanut butter or guac for breakfast.
- As a back up I brought plain quick oats to mix with puréed fruit if needed
- Crackers, yogurt, chicken (pouch), veggie cups for Lunch
- And or just a mix of the snacks from the bin above
- Back up meals include oatmeal, pancakes, peanut butter toast, and Annie’s Mac and cheese
What about toys and activities?
I hope all of these ideas help! As a bonus, how can I not share all the toys and activities I prepped for the road trip too.
- Books – a couple of his favorites and some new ones
- Toilet paper and paper towel rolls. Yeah he loves crunching and twisting them
- A reusable sticker book by Melissa & Doug
- Sticky notes for him to pull apart
- A steel small pizza pan and animal magnets
- Finger puppets
- An empty and clear two liter bottle of Coke with colorful cotton balls in it
- An old bottle sealed with bells in it
- An oatmeal canister with a slit cut in the top and a deck of cards in it. Linc loves putting cards in one-by-one
- A water wow book
- A cheap box of tissues for him to empty lol
- His lovey
- A refurbished Amazon fire for those cranky moments or when I need a break from playing
Again, I hope this helps! Come hangout on Instagram where I’ll save all of these snacks, activities, etc and share how it all goes day-by-day there! ♥️