Have Snacks, Will Travel

The ideas and suggestions written below are provided for general educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice or care. The contents of this article are not intended to make health or nutrition claims about our products. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider before beginning any physical fitness or health and nutrition related activity.

Road trip season isn't over just because the kids are back in school! With fall comes the beginning of a lot of sports team practices, games, and tournaments, sometimes a long car ride away.

It’s super easy to resort to fast food when you’re piled into the car with the kids and heading somewhere far, but don’t fall for that temptation! It’s a lot healthier to bring your own snacks, and especially when your kids are going to be expending a lot of energy playing sports, you’ll want to nourish them properly for the big game.

To avoid hangry (you know, so hungry they’re angry) passengers, you’ll want to offer your kids (and yourself!) a snack every 3-4 hours or so. Always have water bottles at the ready, too—proper hydration is key for optimal sports performance.

A great snack will have a combination of carbohydrate, protein, and fat to keep kids full and satisfied until their next meal. Carb-heavy snacks are best for before sports; protein-heavy snacks are better for after the game.

Of course, if you’re taking snacks with you in the car, they should be easy to eat (not messy), portable, and ideally shelf-stable, but you can always bring a small cooler along to keep food cold as necessary.

Here are a few tried-and-true kid-friendly road trip snacks from mom and nutrition expert Abby Langer:

  • CLIF Kid ZBars: Completely portable, a source of fiber, and a blend of carbohydrates for kids in motion, ZBars are the perfect pre-sports snack.
  • Frozen Grapes: Fresh fruit is always a great portable snack. But to mix it up a bit (and make it extra-refreshing), pop some grapes into the freezer. Just wash and freeze right on their stems, then eat—you’ll love the ice cream-like texture! Keep frozen grapes in a small cooler in the car to ensure they stay frozen as long as possible.
  • DIY Trail Mix: There’s nothing like getting the kids involved in making their own food, and DIY trail mix is super-easy! Just load up on a variety of nuts, seeds, unsweetened dried fruit, and mini chocolate chips at the bulk store. Then let each kid make their own trail mix in little snack containers.
  • Hummus Pepper Bombs: To add some protein to your road trip snacks, hummus is a good vegetarian alternative. Take some little sweet peppers, hollowed out and filled with hummus. Hummus and peppers are perfect for post-game refueling, especially if the next meal is over an hour away.
  • Frozen Yogurt Tubes: Another great higher-protein snack for after the game, freeze yogurt (ideally Greek yogurt) tubes and pack them into a small cooler (alongside those frozen grapes)!
  • Freeze Dried Fruit: This crispy pure fruit makes a fun snack. Toss some in trail mix, or eat it straight from the bag. We especially recommend the freeze dried pineapple!