Hitting the road? Nutritionists guide to healthy road trip snacks for kids


Travel is back, which means a return to finding ways to keep the kids entertained whilst being strapped in to a seat on a long drive or flight. Finding tasty travel snacks for children that won’t have them bouncing off the walls can be difficult and keeping food fresh is another story. Cancer Council NSW’s Nutritionist, Clare Hughes has put together five tips and tricks to keep the little ones happy when on tour.

Have you got some travel plans over the summer holidays?! After four months of lockdown, there’s nothing better than being able to load the kids in the car and head off on adventures together. That is, until the inevitable “I’m hungry” whines come from the backseat. If you’re looking to prepare yourself for that next road trip, Cancer Council NSW’s Nutritionist, Clare Hughes has put together five tips and tricks to keep the little ones happy.

“We know that only 6% of Aussie kids eat enough fruit and vegetables,” Says Ms Hughes. “It’s important to develop healthy eating habits from an early age, so packing fruit, vegies and wholegrains in a lunch box for a long journey is an easy way to get them eating more.”

Top 5 tips for healthy road trip snacks

healthy road trip snacks

1. Pack plenty of fruit

Go bananas – Bring a banana along for breakfast, it’s easy to carry and ticks off one serving of fruit. If you’re feeling creative, why not try these apple and date muffins? Easy-to-grab fruits such as sliced fresh apples are also perfect for nibbling on throughout the journey.  If you’re looking to avoid the mess, it helps to make a container of fruit for each child. This means no reaching across the seats and dropping crumbs down into that endless abyss, aka the gap between the seats. This will also prevent any of those inevitable fights that you simply don’t need on the road.

2. Sneak in the vegies

A veggie pita with three serves of vegies? Sounds like a winner and easy to pack! Chopping your kids favourite veggies like carrots and capsicum to have with hummus or other dips are always an easy option for car rest stops! (And did we mention delicious?) If you slice them into finger pieces they are nice and easy to eat them in the car, and generally mess-free. It means you can treat the kids at your next rest-stop, knowing they have had a good serving of veggies to start them off. Plus, they take a while to munch through. Picture the peace and quiet while you drive…

3. Include some freezer favourites

With last-minute packing and organising, preparing snacks for the journey is likely last on the priority list. Try cooking and freezing foods like muffins ahead of time, or freezing other leftover baked goodies, that way you won’t get caught out with the kids nagging for service station chips and chocolates. It means you can prepare well in advance, and the snacks can even defrost as you drive. Simply pull them out of the freezer on the way out the door. How easy is that!

4. Get the kids involved

Getting the little ones involved in planning and packing what they are going to take on the journey is a great way to give them the foods they like, minimise waste and maximise fun! Try using the Healthy Lunch Box builder with your kids to pack fun and healthy snacks they’ll love to make and eat. Bento boxes are just perfect for this. You can encourage your child to choose an assortment of different snacks, all from different food groups. Put it together with them, and teach them why each snack is good for them to help them grow. It will make them much more likely to taste it in the car.

5. Don’t forget food safety

It is important that food stays cold until it is eaten, especially when travelling. If you don’t have ice bricks, try using a frozen water bottle to keep food chilled and safe. Freeze items such as sandwich bread, milk poppers, and homemade muffins. They will be thawed and ready to eat by the time you’re on the road and they’ll also help keep other snacks cold. There are more tips on keeping food safe on Cancer Council’s food safe blog.

Find out more about healthy easy to make meals for kids on Cancer Council’s website.

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