5+1 compact and healthy snack suggestions for kids and grownups that can be kept outside the fridge, ideal for long-haul trips. They have been tested and proved to work!
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What snacks should I pack?
Next week will be our first long-haul travel (by train) after a very long time so I had to answer this critical question sooner rather than later. Albeit a domestic trip, it is still going to be a long haul with the train sliding for 11 hours before pulling into Inverness of the Scottish Highlands. Using a bit of my own experience plus stealing some wisdom from other (more experienced) parents, here's a list of the top 5+1 compact and healthy snack ideas that don't need refrigeration and hence are ideal for travel.
Also check out THIS POST for the ultimate travel packing list for infants!
1. Fruits and Nuts
We started feeding him unsalted nut butters from a very young age (after the recommended 6 months of age) and ever since he just loves everything nutty. When he got all his teeth out, he grew an affection for cashew nuts, which is now one of his favorite snacks (and ours too). Not only nuts are a rich source of heart-healthy unsaturated fats but they are also very soft for little teeth that don’t like to get stressed, low in sugars, and a great source of fiber and protein (almost the same amount of protein as an equivalent quantity of cooked meat). Combine this with raisins, top up with some fresh fruits that need no refrigeration (like blueberries or grapes).
Store them in a Sistema Capsule Pot and you've got a healthy sweet, and powerful snack for the whole family. Another great product which made a hype with my son was the Besthouse Snack Storage Tower. 4 stackable jars of different sizes with twist lock system to fit all his snacks. My son loved the transparent jars with the colourful contents plus it keeps him busy on the aeroplane changing the stacking combinations or using them as aids for his play time.
After we visited Thailand a few years ago, we've grown an affection for dried mango. When it comes to mangoes, my preference is Asian mangoes which are sweeter and mellow. If you find dried mangoes in your local supermarket, fine. If not, worry not, I've got you covered: This Phillipinno brand I've discovered at my local Asian store (and luckily is sold on Amazon) is one of the best representatives of Asian dried mango. It's nothing to do with these wrinkly mainstream supermarket brands and has exactly the same taste and texture as the ones we were munching in Thailand. However, being cautious of the extra sugar coating, I'd suggest you keep it as a last resort and pull it like a rabbit out of your hat in case of a major meltdown emergency :-)
2. Fruit & Veg Pouches
Pouches are not the best thing to give to your child. From what I know, most of them contain refined sugars, syrups, and other artificial additives. But every now and then, especially when travelling, pouches come in handy and some taste really good. From all the mainstream products we've tried, I found Piccolo to be one of the less harmful options. They claim to be organic, use no refined sugars and no palm oil, and most importantly, they are 100ml so you can carry them on board. His all-time favourites are the pear-banana-coconut milk (which I love too), and the mango-apple-kale, but there are so many flavours to explore and choose from. For those who haven't tried, I'd suggest going for a multi-pack variety and discovering your favourites.
3. Crackers and Biscuits
I genuinely like to bake something before every travel (like snacks or cookies) as they keep well outside the fridge. But as I said earlier, it’s not always the easiest thing to do. It’s handy to have some backup solution and the Organix Mini Gingerbread men is one of the least harmful, if you want. Not to mention how amusing is that satisfaction on their faces when they get to open the little bag and see the content inside! We also love the Mini cheese crackers (with no added salt) and the alphabet cookies, which not only have very low sugar but also turn out to be a great game for learning the alphabet.
What to avoid: I would generally avoid melty puffs and sticks as they are highly processed, as well as rice cakes that don’t boast an impressive nutrient profile. Go for the classic baked goods like biscuits and crackers. Organix has a great variety of food products to choose from. They are widely available in supermarkets but I suggest buy big packages: you'll be surprised how fast they disappear or drop on the floor.
5. Energy balls and Bars
We are addicted to energy balls. And although it's generally cheaper and relatively fast to make at home (see my incredibly easy and superfood energy balls recipe here) if you still want to opt for ready-made, one of the healthiest options out there (without added sugars) is Ella's energy balls. There are lots of types (balls, bars, flapjacks), flavors, and combinations available to choose from. Again, not as good as mine :-) flavours like Ella's almond butter ones!
6. Other Snacks
I usually also prepare a couple of cheese toasties on the day (I cut them in tangram shapes or use cookie cutters for fun) but also pack a few quick porridge oat sachets (without added sugar) for when we get there and he is hungry. All you need is maybe some raisins (optional), milk, and bananas from your local convenience store at your destination, and you have a quick and reliable porridge meal for breakfast or for any other time, they are not in the mood to try the local cuisine.
See how to prepare a super fast delicious porridge with these magic sachets here.