If you’ve traveled more than five minutes in the car with kids, you’ll know snacks are one way of buying backseat harmony. You’ll also know those same snacks can result in a tsunami of crumbs and chip packets at the end of the journey. With summer road trips on the horizon, it’s worth having easy car snacks at the ready that are big on nutrition but won’t spoil your interior. We’ve curated a road trip menu with tips on how to keep the mess to a minimum. Keep reading to find out more.
Crispy waffles are a good alternative to crackers and are going to hold up better to the rigors of the back seat. That means more food in stomachs and less crumbled between the seats. This recipe from Super Healthy Kids makes enough for you to freeze batches in quarters, all ready to put in the car at a moment's notice.
A car trip with kids isn't complete without Cheerios featured somewhere, and while a tipped snack box will create that dreaded tide mark of detritus, those little 'o's threaded on a string could solve the problem. You can even get the kids to help with the prep work. You don't need a how-to, but these tips from Stephanie at Lexie Loo, Lily, Liam & Dylan Too will help. If you want more cereal DIY fun check out this post from our archives.
Chopped veg is an easy snack for the car and while a dip is tricky, one solution is to put the veg directly into a peanut butter jar. Head to The Daily Hostess for tips on this perfectly portable snack. Again, it might be worth having wipes at the ready!
Making homemade fruit leathers might seem time-consuming, but the prep takes just 15 minutes, and the drying out process can be done unattended. This recipe from our archives uses just two ingredients and needs no special equipment. With a sweet treat packed for the road trip, you're ready to roll!
Whole fresh fruit is an obvious choice for the car—especially apples and clementines, which stay fresh at any temperature. Clementines are easy to peel, and apples can be eaten without getting sticky fingers. Win, win.
Another option is to build colorful totems of fresh fruit to keep the kids happy when you are on the go. You might want to avoid berries (for the stain factor) but the clementines, pineapple, kiwi and grapes in this version from Dinner at The Zoo would work well on the road. If you're worried about skewers in the car, you can shrink these down and put them on toothpicks. Just make sure an adult retrieves the picks once the fruit's been eaten to avoid someone getting poked.
Edamame works double time as both snack and fine motor skills challenge. Little ones will have fun popping beans out of pods—just supply the kids with something to put the waste in, and you'll have well-fed kids and a clean car at the end of your journey.
Bite-Sized Dough Balls
Crumbly cookies or less-mess dough balls? If you've never made dough balls, they're easy on-the-go snacks. High in energy, these bite-sized balls are easy to customize with oats, seeds or shredded coconut for sweetness. Take your pick from this list from our archives. Kids won't want waste a single scrap, although you might want to have wipes handy.
Honey roasted chickpeas aren't entirely mess-free it's true, but they don't crumble and this sweet and nutritious snack is so addictive, you're unlikely to find any left over at the end of the journey. Head to Weelicious for the recipe or find this savory version in our archives.
High in protein but low on mess, beef jerky is easy to customize to the tiny tastebuds in your family. For tips on how to pull off this super simple snack head to Teaspoon Of Spice.
— Emily Myers