Toddler Road Trip Snacks: Nutrient Dense and No Prep
I love the little bait and bento boxes of toddler snacks all cut up and ready to go that you see on Tiktok and Pinterest, but I have a 16-month-old that will dump that IMMEDIATELY. With teething and a fickle palette, I wanted to minimize prep and food waste while offering nutrient-dense snacks on the go. I searched on Pinterest and Tiktok for options beyond the rainbow of sliced fruit and crackers and couldn't find much. Instead, I turned to an online group of mamas who had some tried and true ideas and walked around reading labels in some new aisles! I selected some old favorites but also wanted a few fresh snacks that felt more exciting. The key was keeping the snacks accessible from the passenger seat to easily hand them back to our toddler in the back seat. For our car, that meant putting the cooler behind the center console and my favorite Ikea storage box behind my seat. Scroll through to the end to see what worked and what I'd do differently.
Our YETI Hopper Flip 8 Portable Soft Cooler fits right behind the center console. I packed it with our perishable snacks center console in our car for easy access. I packed::
drinkable skyr or yogurt
tart cherry sleep gummies
blueberry gelatin gummies
Amara Smoothie Melts come in pretty small packs, so I dumped a whole bunch into a cereal container I had for easy snack container refills on the go.
Serenity Kids Bone Broth Pouches are high in protein, and minerals from the bone broth, and the slow-cooked root veggies are easier to digest than most pouches that try to include every possible fruit and veggie on the ingredient list.
Bobo's Oatmeal Bites are our new obsession. These are so dang good, and while they're high in calories and have some natural sugar, I consider that a win for a toddler and her nursing mama.
LesserEvil Lil' Puffs and all their other snacks are so dang good. They're all cassava flour-based and use coconut oil which checks off many of my snack boxes.
Pure Organic Fruit Bars give tropical candy vibes but are some of the only soft texture and organic fruit leathers I've found.
Returning from our 3-week road trip, here's what I'd repeat and what I'd do differently. The snacks themselves were a win! I felt like we had a good variety and quantity of options and I felt really good about the ingredients when our other food options were less than ideal. As for what I'd do differently, there are 4 main take-aways:
One snack (or toy) at a time. I wish I had offered one snack at a time rather than presenting options each time the toddler became antsy. We cycled through the options pretty quickly and needed to take breaks from snacks entirely to renew interest.
Berry and yogurt storage. We made a few grocery stops along the way, but I wish we'd had a better system for washing and storing berries and brought along our refillable silicone pouches for yogurt.
Nothing too perishable or stinky. The summer sausage sunk up the car, so we ate as much as we could and tossed the rest a few days in. I wish I'd gotten more meat sticks instead. We tossed the gelatine gummies partway through the trip because we kept forgetting to get ice, and while they didn't melt in the insulated cooler, they smelled a little off after a few days without fresh ice.
More adult-friendly snacks. My husband and I snacked on the oatmeal bites and apple sauce along the way too, so I wish we'd brought more of the snacks we all enjoy.
Such a long road trip with a toddler had its ups and downs, and there were lots of moments we had to adjust our plan or expectations and just allow more screen time or be ok with french fries as the primary meal of the day, but I am thankful we could feel good about the snacks we had in the car.