Back when Mr. AJ and I got married, we loved to go on road trips any time that we got the chance. It was a fantastic way for us to get some uninterrupted time together as we explored new and exciting places. It was easy to hop in the car and stop for food or snacks along the way with minimal planning. Once we became vegetarians, raw vegans at the time, the ease of stopping somewhere for food was gone. We had to plan our stops or hope that there was a doable vegetarian option wherever we were going. It only took one not-so-well planned trip for us to realize the importance of preparing a variety of healthy food and snack options before every trip. Now that we have two little kids, the importance of having healthy snacks and small meals on the road has become even more pressing. Although our six-year old loves to eat out at restaurants, our two-year old never eats well on the road. Since our two-year old is a big eater, it’s even more important for us to have meals and snacks that he will happily eat wherever we are. Some of our snacks take a little bit of prep time during the week prior to our trip, but we think that they are well worth it.
These are our favorite kid (and parent) approved healthy snacks for our road trips:
This is by far my favorite road trip snack. I’m a huge fan of tortilla chips, and I’m guilty of eating one too many when they’re available. Kale chips, on the other hand, are guilt free and delicious. I also prefer them to any other kind of chip. The kids and Mr. AJ love them too, making this a great road trip snack for our family.
The week before our trip we make sure to dehydrate at least two bunches of kale in our awesome Excalibur dehydrator. Dehydrating kale is pretty simple. Simply wash your kale leaves, cut or tear them into pieces, and spread the pieces out on your dehydrator tray. Set the temperature to 105 degrees F, and let them dehydrate for 4 to 6 hours. They’re done when they are crunchy like a potato chip. Prior to dehydrating, you can also toss your kale pieces in a bowl and mix in a little bit of olive oil and salt, or you can season them to your liking. We like olive oil, sea salt, and fresh ground pepper. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can accomplish this same process by using your oven. It’s not as hands off as a dehydrator, but it’s totally doable, and way better than packaged chips.
Dehydrated Fruits (pineapple, apple, mango, etc…)
Likewise, we love dehydrating fresh fruit for quick snacks during the drive. Fresh fruits are juicy and fantastic, but with two little kids we need a less messy option during the drive. Dehydrated fruit is a yummy, healthy alternative. You can buy dehydrated fruit, but we like dehydrating our own. Not only does it taste better to dehydrate our own fruit, but we also don’t have to worry about the preservatives that prepackaged dried fruits contain. Apples and pineapples are our favorite fruits to dehydrate. For our last trip, we bought a big bag of apples, and we dehydrated about half of them. We had enough to last our entire trip, and they were a special treat for the kids. To dehydrate fruit, just cut them into small slices, and dehydrate them overnight at 105F.
We’re big fans of fruit, and we incorporate a variety into our meal stops during the trips. Eating our fresh fruits during our stops helps to prevent the car from becoming a sticky mess. We wash and cut up certain fruits before the trip, and separate them into their own containers. This means that they are quick grab for the kids, and we’re not spending any time to cut fruit during our stops. Some of our favorite road trip fruits include blueberries, strawberries, oranges, bananas, and apples.
Our two year old also loves cherry tomatoes, so we always make sure to have some washed and prepared for our stops along the way. I don’t trust either of our teeny tiny’s to eat these without making a huge mess in the backseat, but they’ll happily eat these during our meal breaks on the road.
Quick Prep Sandwiches
We’re fans of quick and healthy sandwiches that we can prepare during our meal breaks on the road. Prior to road trips, we like to buy sourdough or telera rolls to prepare our sandwiches during our stops. We take some of our favorite sandwich ingredients like avocados, tomatoes, and greens. We can then make a fresh and healthy sandwich during our stop. It takes just a few extra minutes to cut up all of the ingredients, but it tastes a lot better than making it before we leave. The kids love the fresh sandwiches, and we get a much needed mini break in the middle of our trip.
Food Pouches and Bars
We’re big fans of the Shine organics pouches and Larabars for a ready made snacks during road trips. They’re really tasty snacks for adults and kids, and they’re a versatile item to have during vacation. We like throwing some of these in our bag while we’re touring our vacation destination for quick and healthy snacks along the way. Our kids absolutely love these, and we love having them on hand between meals. These are specially helpful at theme parks, where healthy snack and meal options are scarce.
Hummus is a fantastic meal option and snack while on the road. We like to make our own hummus, but you can buy ready made options at any grocery store. Hummus can be used as a healthy dip for broccoli, tomatoes, bell peppers, or pretzels (and pretzel chips!). We also like making open-face sandwiches with our own home made hummus as part of a healthy meal when on the road. Our two-year old is a big fan, so it makes meal stops a little bit easier.
We don’t drink soda, at our house, and we opt for water whenever possible. During road trips, we make sure to pack water bottles and to have plenty of water available for our drive. For a special treat, we may take a pack of coconut water along. We love coconut water, and it offers more than simple hydration. We also take organic juice packs for the kids as an additional treat during stops, as well as at the hotel during our vacation.
With a little bit of planning, we manage to have healthy and yummy snacks to keep both parents and kiddos happy on the road. I hope some of these tips help you with your next road trip.
What are your favorite healthy road trip snacks? Let us know in the comments below!