Family-Pleasing Road Trip Grub That Really Travels
Don't hit the road hungry this summer!
Erica Silverstein · 3 months ago
What’s the number one road trip activity? Eating! Somehow sitting for hours in a car, doing nothing, works up quite the appetite — especially for the people in the backseat. If your family is planning a road trip, you’ll need a variety of portable meals and car snacks you can eat with your hands without making too much of a mess. If you’re tired of peanut butter sandwiches and bags of potato chips, earn your car a Michelin star with these 10 road trip food ideas for your next family outing.
Muffins top our list because they’re the ideal road trip snack. They’re simple to make, keep for days in an airtight container, can hide healthy veggies in a sweet package, work as breakfast or a treat, and don’t require plates or utensils to eat. (We do recommend paper towels to catch the inevitable crumbs.) Try these fruit-and-veg muffins for extra vitamins, get a breakfast twofer with almond joy muffins made with steel cut oats, or go for a protein boost that’s allergy friendly with chocolate banana protein muffins.
Kids know the staple PB&J is more fun when it’s circular, de-crusted, and sealed. Parents know that “Uncrustables” can be made ahead of time and frozen, so they’re easy to toss in the cooler for a road trip lunch. Don’t waste your money buying packages at the store; pick up a sandwich cutter and sealer, and make your own. Glamper Life shows you how to DIY the crustless lunchbox faves with your favorite spreads.
Australians are great travelers, so they know a thing or two about road trip food. Banana pikelets are a go-to car snack in the Land Down Under. The Aussie Home Cook shows you how to whip up a batch of these mini, handheld banana pancakes. The four-ingredient treats are quick to make and freeze well. Everyone from toddlers to grownups will enjoy these for breakfast, lunch, or snacktime in the car.
For the grazers in the group, bring the buffet into the car with a protein pack lunch box. Fill a lidded container, leftover takeout container, or bento box with each family member’s favorite proteins (think deli meat, hard-boiled eggs, cheese cubes) and veggies (like cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, baby carrots) for a healthy meal that never gets boring. The Forked Spoon offers been-there-done-that advice on how to win mealtime-on-the-go with a portable smorgasbord.
Muddy buddies (sometimes also called puppy chow) is a customizable snack mix that satisfies your salty-sweet snack needs by combining crunchy cereal (usually Chex) with a sugary coating (such as melted chocolate and peanut butter). Traditionalists stick to the classic recipe, but more daring families go wild with fruity strawberry puppy chow or this extreme muddy buddies mix packed with extra candy and crunch. You can even find recipes for allergy-friendly mixes, so everyone can munch safely.
It’s been hours since your lunch stop, and the answer to “Are we there yet?” is unfortunately “Not for several hours.” When everyone’s on-the-go mojo starts flagging, you need a portable pick-me-up. That’s when you pull out the energy bites, like Two Healthy Kitchens’ granola energy balls. These spherical snacks combine the protein power of peanut butter with the satisfying sweetness of dried fruit or chocolate chips. After a couple, the back seat is likely to quit whining and start a pick-up game of 20 questions.
Raise your hand if certain members of your family can never finish a sandwich — and always seem to think someone else should hold the half-eaten remainder they’re saving for later. Skip the sandwich wars on your next outing by packing sandwich wraps. Roll your favorite spreads and fixins in a tortilla, then cut into smaller pinwheels, so everyone takes only what they can eat. Get inspired by granola crunch apple peanut butter wraps, chicken taco pinwheels, and salad-style veggie wraps — or rock and roll with your favorite flavors.
Ugly Duckling Bakery
Road trip conundrum: The kids want fruit slices, but the apples turn brown and the bananas get mushy. And heaven forbid anyone actually eat a whole piece of fruit!
Road trip solution: Dry your favorite fruits into chips for more convenient packing and eating. Plus, families can sub these crispy snacks for unhealthy bag snacks, like Doritos and Cheetos. Ugly Duckling Bakery shows you how to make apple rings in the oven, while Pastry & Beyond offers a tutorial on turning bananas into chips.
Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips
Road trips are full of surprises — your car snacks can be, too. Take the road less traveled when you make your own cinnamon-sugar pita chips and surprise your family with a sweet-and-crunchy treat. They’re also a great way to use up leftover pita bread before you hit the road.
Healthy road trip breakfasts can be a challenge, especially if you want a dish you can make ahead of an early morning departure and eat an hour into the drive. Don’t give in to the drive-through — prep a batch of egg cups in advance and serve them on the go. These easy-bake breakfast treats are customizable with whatever veggies or diced meat you want to use up before your trip, plus they freeze well and can be eaten hot or at room temp. And unlike actual omelets, these handhelds require neither plates nor folks. Winning!
DIY Fruit Roll-Ups
The kids are begging for fruit roll-ups on your pre-trip supermarket run, but who wants all those artificial ingredients and added sugar? If you’ve got a food processor and an oven, you can make your own fruit snacks with only two ingredients. The Soccer Mom Blog shares the secret to healthier, DIY fruit leather your whole family will love. You never thought you’d win “best parent ever” for your travel snacks, but here you are.
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