ATK Kids

Travel-Ready Snacks for Kids On the Go

Kids can help prepare these healthy snacks to eat on a long road trip or a quick drive to school or practice.

Published May 21, 2019.

There are a few phrases we expect  to hear from kids during a car ride: “Are we there yet?” “I have to go to the bathroom,” and, “I’m hungry.”  While we at America’s Test Kitchen Kids can’t help with finding the nearest rest stop, we can help out in the snack department. 

Check out these five different snacks that kids will love to eat on long car trips or short rides to soccer practice, piano lessons, or troop meetings. The best part? Kids can help make all of these snacks themselves. 

All of these recipes make enough to satisfy a few hungry kids, and many yield enough for multiple days of snacking. Maybe one will become a new favorite among your young chefs!

1. Easy Tortilla Chips

Tortilla chips are a great car snack—they’re portable, shareable among siblings or carpool friends, and great for scooping. Kids use a chef’s knife to cut flour tortillas into wedges before tossing them in a large bowl with olive oil and their seasoning of choice: salt, cinnamon-sugar, ranch, or even pizza flavor! Just 10 to 15 minutes in the oven yields crisp, golden chips. Pair the tortilla chips with our easy hummus made in the food processor. If you’ll be in the car for a few hours, make sure to keep the hummus stashed in a cooler.

2. Healthy(ish) Snack Cake

Applesauce Snack Cake is a special treat that pulls double-duty as a portable snack. It’s sweet, but not too sweet, thanks to the addition of unsweetened applesauce. It bakes in a square metal baking pan and can be made with homemade applesauce or any store-bought unsweetened applesauce you already have on hand. The cake serves 12, so it will last through a few busy afternoons. Store it in our winning plastic storage container to prevent any unfortunate backpack squishing.

3. Grab-and-Go Granola Bars

Granola bars are a classic portable snack. Our version lets kids make them their way with their favorite mix-ins, such as mini chocolate chips, dried cranberries, almonds, or pecans. After combining all the ingredients, kids use a spatula to press the granola mixture into a 13-by-9-inch metal baking pan. After the bars are baked, cooled, and cut, they can be wrapped individually in plastic wrap or stored in an airtight container, ready to grab and go.

4. Crispy, Crunchy Kale Chips

Leafy greens aren’t just for salad. These kale chips are crisp, crunchy, healthy, and perfect for munching on the go. Kids can help snip the kale leaves from their stems using kitchen shears and then use their hands to tear the leaves into pieces (fun!). Let kids decide what seasonings to add: a sprinkle of salt, some ranch seasoning, or a drizzle of sesame oil and ground ginger. Store chips in a reusable snack bag for easy snack access.

5. Chill Out with Smoothies

If dinner’s still hours away but your kid needs a filling snack on the ride home from school or rehearsal, try a smoothie. Fruity smoothies are refreshing (strawberry-peach, anyone?), but a smoothie with nut butter—like this cherry-almond combo—will keep kids full a little longer. After blending all the ingredients, transfer the smoothie to an insulated travel mug to keep it cool (and prevent spills).

Introducing the Young Chefs' Club

Every month, young chefs ages 5 and up receive a themed box filled with kid-tested recipes, hands-on activities and experiments, and other creative items, such as art projects, achievement buttons, a kitchen tool or special ingredient, and more.
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What are your go-to road trip snacks for kids? Are there snack recipes you’d like to see us develop for kids in the future? Let us know in the comments.

Looking for more information on cooking with kids? Check out these articles:

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