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Best Road Trip Food Ideas (With Easy Home-Made Recipes)

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This article aims to help you plan, prepare, and enjoy delicious road trip food. You’ll find a collection of simple-to-follow road trip food ideas and recipes that cover breakfast, lunch, and dinner options.

But that’s not all…

We’ve included links to useful posts outlining the best road trip snacks and recipes for delicious road trip sandwiches.

Take advantage of our free road trip food planner and create your own road trip food list (or use ours). There’s also advice on the best gear to take with you so that you can make enjoying road trip meals part of your itinerary (think picnics with a view!).

We know that thinking of car food ideas can be a time-consuming part of planning a road trip. So we’ve tried to make planning the best food for road trips as easy as possible. Don’t forget to check out all our road trip recipes or head over to our road trip junk food list if you’re just looking for the tastiest treats. We’ve tried to make this a comprehensive road trip food list so that it’s the only resource you need.

Affiliate Disclosure: Thank you for supporting The Road Trip Expert. When you purchase through links on this site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Please see our advertising disclosure for more details.

Free Road Trip Food Planner PDF

Road Trip Food Planner
Grab it free below!
  • Use the road trip food list to get ideas
  • Use the road trip recipe planner to add recipes you choose from this article and our road trip sandwiches and road trip snacks
  • Fill out the shopping list
  • Fill out the road trip meal planner

Road Trip Breakfast Ideas

All of these road trip breakfast ideas can be stored in your cooler and enjoyed first thing in the morning!

Berry Yogurt Parfait
A berry yogurt parfait makes the ideal road trip snack, marrying a perfect balance of sweet and tangy flavors, delightful textures, and nutritious ingredients. This easy-to-prepare and customizable recipe allows you to create a range of delicious parfaits that you can conveniently pack for your journey. Enjoy the creamy goodness of Greek yogurt, the fruity burst of mixed berries, and the satisfying crunch of granola, all in one bite!
Check Out This Recipe
Chocolate Peanut Butter Overnight Oats
Indulge in a delightful blend of chocolate and peanut butter with these overnight oats. This scrumptious recipe is a game-changer for road trips, serving as a nutritious, quick, and incredibly satisfying breakfast. Keep your energy levels high throughout your journey with these wonderful chocolate peanut butter overnight oats!
Check Out This Recipe
chocolate peanut butter overnight oats
Summer Fruit Salad
A road trip summer fruit salad is the perfect companion for your adventure. Packed with a colorful assortment of fresh and juicy fruits, this delightful salad provides flavor and a refreshing respite during your journey. Whether embarking on a long drive or enjoying a picnic by the roadside, this recipe is a must-try. So, prepare your fruit salad, pack it with care, and savor the taste of summer as you create unforgettable memories on the open road.
Check Out This Recipe
Homemade Granola Bars
Dive into these wholesome granola bars, crafted from old-fashioned oats, shredded coconut, chia seeds, and crunchy almonds. Sweetened with honey and enriched with almond butter, these bars offer a satisfying snack. For a touch of indulgence, they're drizzled with a rich chocolate layer.
Check Out This Recipe
Make-Ahead Breakfast Burrito
These make-ahead breakfast burritos are a flavorful fusion of crispy hash browns, sausage strips, and a hearty mix of scrambled eggs with onions and bell peppers. Rolled snugly in a soft wrap and seasoned to perfection, these burritos offer a convenient and delicious start to your day.
Check Out This Recipe
Breakfast Burrito

Here are some additional options for you to consider:

  1. Breakfast Bagels: Choose one of these delicious breakfast bagel ideas including keto, low-carb, and vegan options!
  2. Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos: These delicious burritos are packed with sausage, eggs, cheese, and veggies!
  3. Ham and Cheese Croissants: This is one of my favorite things to have for breakfast!
  4. Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches: A sweet and delicious breakfast idea.
  5. Homemade Granola Bars: Keep it simple with these granola bars that contain just 10 ingredients!
  6. Fresh croissants with jam, peanut butter, and banana
  7. Healthy yogurt with fresh fruit, nuts, and a drizzle of honey
  8. Delicious toast with banana, apple, and syrup

Road Trip Lunch Ideas

Prepare a few of these road trip lunch ideas and store them in airtight containers within your cooler. Don’t forget to find a beautiful picnic spot to enjoy your food.

Greek Pasta Salad
This creamy Greek pasta salad is a delicious and refreshing dish perfect for road trips and outdoor gatherings. Its combination of Mediterranean flavors and creamy dressing makes it a crowd-pleaser that will keep you energized during your journey. Whether you stick to the classic recipe or customize it to your liking, this versatile salad will become a favorite among your travel companions. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and enjoy the scrumptiousness of this creamy Greek pasta salad on your next adventure!
Check Out This Recipe
Greek Pasta Salad
Mexican Taco Salad
This protein-packed Mexican taco salad in a jar is your perfect road trip companion or a handy lunch option. Its easy portability and delicious flavor make it a practical and delightful choice for all occasions. This Mexican mason jar salad is delicious!
Check Out This Recipe
Mediterranean Tuna Salad
Refresh your palate with this Mediterranean-inspired tuna salad. It bursts with flavors from fresh vegetables, artichoke hearts, and Kalamata olives, all tossed together with flaky tuna. Drizzled with a zesty dressing and accented with aromatic herbs, it's a light yet satisfying dish.
Check Out This Recipe
Mediterranean Tuna Salad
Quinoa Chickpea Salad
Enjoy a nutrient-packed meal with this Quinoa Chickpea Salad. Filled with fresh vegetables, tender quinoa grains, and protein-rich chickpeas, this salad is a balanced dish. Tossed in a tangy dressing and highlighted with parsley and mint, it's both refreshing and filling.
Check Out This Recipe
  1. Mediterranean Tuna Salad: This easy recipe includes tuna and Lebanese cucumbers. Store it in the cooler and enjoy it at your chosen picnic spot!
  2. Quinoa Chickpea Salad: Eat the rainbow with this healthy salad full of fresh ingredients and vibrant flavors.
  3. Healthy Chicken Salad: Hearty, flavorful, and packs a nice fresh crunch!
  4. Mediterranean Couscous Salad: With colorful vegetables and a fresh lemon herb dressing, this recipe is a delight to the tastebuds!
  5. Homemade Quiche with salad: Adapt the recipe to your liking and store in the cooler in an airtight container.
  6. Cold pizza with premade salad
  7. One of our Road Trip Sandwiches

Road Trip Sandwiches

Egg salad sandwich inside a storage container ready for a road trip

When prepping sandwiches for your road trip, it’s all about smart choices and savvy storage. You want your sandwich to last, stay fresh, and taste great, even when it’s chilled. Go for hardy ingredients that can withstand the journey, like cured meats, hard cheeses, and spreads like peanut butter or hummus. These choices keep your sandwiches tasty and fresh, long after they leave the kitchen.

Opt for airtight sturdy storage so that they don’t get squished before you eat them! Here is a list of road trip sandwich recipes and suggestions for you to consider (For multiple dietary requirements):

Spicy Chickpea Sandwich
Enjoy a kick of flavor with this Spicy Chickpea Sandwich recipe. Combining the convenience of canned chickpeas with a vibrant mix of fresh veggies, this sandwich is the perfect go-to for meal prepping. Whether you're planning a road trip or simply need a tasty lunch, this sandwich is sure to make your day deliciously easy!
Check Out This Recipe
Spicy Chickpea Sandwich on a plate
Egg Salad Sandwich Recipe
This egg salad sandwich is a classic road trip snack that never disappoints. With its creamy texture, tangy flavor, and endless variations, it's the perfect companion for your adventures on the road.
By following the simple steps outlined in this recipe, you'll be able to create a scrumptious egg salad sandwich that will satisfy your hunger and keep you energized throughout your journey. Bon appétit and safe travels!
Check Out This Recipe
Egg salad sandwich cut into two halves and presented on a chopping board
Rotisserie Chicken Caprese Sandwich
Make a caprese chicken sandwich with leftover chicken breasts, pest sauce, tomato slices and your favorite cheese. This quick and easy Italian-inspired sandwich makes for a great portable meal on the road!
Check Out This Recipe
Chicken Caprese Sandwich on a plate
Classic Tuna Sandwich
This tuna salad sandwich recipe is a classic and the best I've ever tried. Perfect for road trips with a touch of mayo, pickles, and red onion! 
Check Out This Recipe
Two halves of a tuna salad sandwich stacked on top of each other and presented
Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich
Inspired by Jewish delis, this Montreal smoked meat sandwich recipe combines challah bread with mayo, smoked meat, and gherkin slices. Add mustard for a spicy take on this peppery, smoky delight.
Armed with this recipe, you're ready to hit the road and savor the blissful combination of tender smoked meat, tangy gherkins, and creamy mayo in each bite. Bon appétit and safe travels!
Check Out This Recipe
Montreal smoked meat sandwich cut into two halves and presented on a chopping board
Club Sandwich
Experience the classic delight of a club sandwich. Layers of crispy bacon, fresh lettuce, ripe tomatoes, and savory turkey and ham are stacked between perfectly toasted slices of bread. Paired with mayo and assembled with precision, it's a timeless lunch favorite.
Check Out This Recipe
  • Club Sandwich: An iconic sandwich that’s been around for generations! Enjoy the blend of turkey, bacon, ham, cheese, and salad.
  • Delicious Wraps: This article contains a list of sandwich wrap recipes for you to consider.

Top Tip:

Avoid watery ingredients such as tomatoes! Of course, everyone knows how to make a sandwich – duh – but for road trips, it’s important to make sandwiches that are designed to last the whole day and travel well. No one likes soggy sandwiches!

Road Trip Dinner Ideas

Road Trip Meals

Generally, by the time it’s dinner, I like to eat some hot food. Let’s explore some easy road trip meals that are perfect for dinner. You will need cooking equipment or access to a kitchen to take advantage of most of these ideas!

  1. Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Foil Packets: Pre-cook chicken and vegetables, place them in foil packets, and reheat over a campfire or portable stove.
  2. Pre-Made Quesadillas: You can fill these with cheese, black beans, chicken, or beef. Reheat on a pan over a campfire or portable stove, or eat them cold.
  3. Chili: Make a pot of your favorite chili and bring it along in a thermos. Serve with cornbread or crackers.
  4. Cold Pasta Salads: You can make these with a variety of ingredients like cheese, cured meats, beans, and vegetables. Opt for a vinaigrette dressing, which holds up better than mayo-based dressings.
  5. Salad Wraps: Large lettuce leaves or tortillas filled with your choice of proteins (tuna, chicken, tofu), veggies, and a dressing of your choice. Keep the dressing separate and add it just before you eat to prevent the wraps from getting soggy.
  6. Stuffed Pita Pockets: Fill with salad, chicken, or any other ingredients you like.
  7. Sausages and Hot Dogs: If you have access to a fire or a portable stove, these are easy to heat and serve with buns and a variety of condiments.
  8. Pre-Made Pizza: Make it at home with your preferred toppings and enjoy it cold, or heat it up on a pan over a campfire or portable stove.
  9. Bento Box: It could contain rice, grilled chicken or fish, pickled veggies, and some fruits.
  10. Soba Noodle Salad: You can make it with vegetables and a protein of your choice like tofu or shrimp. The dressing could be a mix of soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar.

Road Trip Snacks

No Bake Protein Balls in a storage container ready for a road trip
Get the recipe for these below!

Check out our road trip snacks article for the full list of recommended treats to add to your road trip food list. Below you can find some of our awesome recipes if you fancy making something homemade! If you love to show off your awesome culinary skills then you could consider using one of our food captions for Instagram when posting on social media!

Homemade Road Trip Snacks

Travel Snackle Box for Kids
A personalized travel snackle box can ensure your kids a joyful and tasty road trip experience. Incorporating a variety of wholesome snacks will keep them fueled and satisfied throughout the journey. Involve your kids in the decoration process, making their snack box a fun and interactive part of the adventure. Happy snacking!
Check Out This Recipe
No-Bake Protein Balls with Peanut Butter and Chocolate
Peanut butter, rolled oats, and chocolate chips come together as no-bake protein balls, giving you an energy bite and a healthy snack all in one! Make these energy balls with protein or nut butter for a gluten-free, vegan high-protein snack. 
Check Out This Recipe
no-bake protein balls with peanut butter and chocolate
Japanese Deviled Eggs
This Japanese deviled eggs recipe combines sweet kewpie mayo with rice vinegar and a sprinkle of black and white sesame seeds for a kid-friendly road trip snack that is sweet, salty, creamy, and packed with umami. 
Check Out This Recipe
Javanese deviled eggs presented in a storage container
Hummus Pita Pockets With Crunchy Veggies
Mini pita pockets with hummus are a delightful and satisfying snack that combines the goodness of pita bread with the creaminess of hummus. With just a few simple ingredients and easy steps, you can create these bite-sized treats for any occasion.
Check Out This Recipe
Two hummus pita pockets presented on a plate
Homemade Hummus Recipe With Veggie Sticks
The perfect road-trip hummus recipe will keep everyone happy and satisfied during your journey. Pack your veggie sticks, grab a container of homemade hummus, and hit the road with a healthy snack!
Check Out This Recipe
Homemade hummus presented inside a storage container with vegetable sticks arranged around the outside of the container

Snacks For The Cooler

Here is a list of food you could bring in a cooler on your road trip.

  1. Boiled eggs
  2. Chopped veggies with hummus – carrot, celery, cucumber sticks, cherry tomatoes
  3. Dips – Hummus, Guacamole, Ranch
  4. Pickles
  5. Fruit – apples, oranges, berries, and grapes are great for snacking on!
  6. Assorted cheeses
  7. Chicken wings and drumsticks
  8. Sausage rolls, pastries, pies
  9. Pastries, sausage rolls, or other baked treats
  10. Cheese, deli meats, and olives if you’re feeling fancy

This list of road trip food ideas requires you to take some form of refrigeration. This could be in the form of a cooler box filled with ice packs, or a mini-fridge that runs from the car battery.

Either way, this will make your meal stops way more epic.

Non-Perishable Snacks

  1. Chips
  2. Protein bars
  3. Nuts and seeds mix
  4. Dark chocolate
  5. Pretzels
  6. Bread Buns
  7. Crackers
  8. Rye Bread/Crisp Breads
  9. Nuts
  10. Dried fruits – apricots, apples, raisins, banana chips
  11. Tinned fish – mackerel, sardines
  12. Granola bars
  13. Candy bars
  14. Cupcakes/muffins
  15. Chocolate, sweets, chips, and jerky

Top Tip: If buying in bulk, break down snacks into single servings! That way they are way more accessible and you won’t plow through your entire stash on the first day.

Road Trip Sweet Treats

Here are five of our recipes that you could consider as part of your road trip food plan!

Flapjack Recipe
Experience the wholesome goodness of these traditional British Flapjacks. Packed with whole oats for sustained energy, they are perfect for a quick breakfast or to conquer that afternoon slump.
Versatile and adaptable, these flapjacks are sure to become a favorite on-the-go snack! Enjoy this easy-to-follow flapjack recipe!
Check Out This Recipe
Flapjacks presented on a chopping board and sliced into portions
Vegan Cinnamon Breakfast Muffins
The ideal on-the-go breakfast, these vegan cinnamon breakfast muffins are healthy, filling, and easy to prepare. They’re one of the best road trip snack ideas for adults and kids, alike.
Full of plant-based goodness, they are also suitable for those following a vegan diet or anyone looking for a great, dairy-free baking alternative.
Check Out This Recipe
Vegan breakfast muffin
Triple Chocolate Brownies
Indulge your chocolate cravings with these irresistible Triple Chocolate Brownies. Smooth and decadent, they are the perfect companion for your mid-morning coffee or as a delightful treat to share.
Whether you're seeking a quiet moment of indulgence or a crowd-pleaser for a party, these brownies always deliver deliciousness!
Check Out This Recipe
Salted Caramel Millionaire Shortbread
This Salted Caramel Shortbread is a decadent treat that's perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth.
Known also as Millionaire Shortbread, this dish layers rich, buttery shortbread with smooth caramel and a chocolate topping for a truly indulgent experience.
Check Out This Recipe
Chocolate Tiffin
Prepare for a delightful treat on the go with this no-bake terrifically tasty Chocolate Tiffin. Also known as a fridge cake, this British favorite is perfect for a sweet road trip snack. It's chocolaty, crunchy, and truly satisfying!
Check Out This Recipe
Chocolate Tiffin

Road Trip Food Gear Checklist

The night before setting off for a road trip is when the final preparations are made. Make sure that you have everything from our Road Trip Essentials List ready to go, and that your alarm clocks are set.

If you are planning a long road trip, these handy products will help you store, prepare, and serve all your amazing road trip meals!

We also have an article on the Best Car Accessories if you like useful gadgets!

Road Trip Picnic Gear

Whilst on the road, one of my favorite things to do is stop off and become part of the scenery whilst I enjoy lunch. It’s handy to have camping chairs, a camping table, and a camping stove so that you are not limited to cold dishes.

  • Picnic Bag: Perfect for enjoying your lunch at a rest stop.
Forbidden Road Cooler Backpack Cooler Picnic Backpack, Cooler Compartment, Bottle Holder Waterproof Picnic Bag for Outdoor Hiking Backpacking Traveling Short Trip Workout Work (Gray)
  • Huge and Durable Backpack Cooler for 4 Person: The picnic bag consists of three space. The first one…
  • Portable Wine Holder: The bottle holder on the side of the bag is also warped by thermal insulation…
  • Muti- ways to use: camping, hiking, backpacking, traveling, beach or outdoor games. Not only can you…
  • Coffee flask: Keep your coffee hot and fresh with this perfect coffee flask for the car!
Milton Thermosteel Flip Lid 500, Double Walled Vacuum Insulated Thermos 500 ml | 16 oz | 24 Hours Hot and Cold Water Bottle with Cover, Stainless Steel, BPA Free, Leak Proof | Silver
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Milton Thermosteel Flip Lid 500, Double Walled Vacuum Insulated Thermos 500 ml | 16 oz | 24 Hours Hot and Cold Water Bottle with Cover, Stainless Steel, BPA Free, Leak Proof | Silver
  • ✅ Please ensure you choose the perfect size for your needs by consulting our detailed sizing…
  • ✅ Despite its sizable presence, rest assured that the interior capacity perfectly aligns with the…
  • ✅ To optimizse Hot & Cold performance precondition the thermos with hot or cold water and fill to…

Road Trip Food Storage

It’s important that everything is kept fresh and ready to go, here are the best items for road trip food storage

  • Car Trunk Organizer With Cooler Bag: You can store all of your snacks, meals, and eating items with this premium trunk organizer. It’s perfect to pack away everything you need regarding road trip food storage!
K KNODEL Sturdy Car Trunk Organizer with Premium Insulation Cooler Bag, Heavy Duty Collapsible for Car, SUV, Truck, or Van (3 Compartments, Black)
  • PREMIUM CAR TRUNK ORGANIZER WITH COOLER BAG – The K KNODEL Trunk Organizer is best for all kinds of…
  • SUPERIOR DURABILITY AND WATERPROOF – The K KNODEL Trunk Organizer is made of high-quality 1680D…
  • SMART DESIGN – Our product features sturdy walls, 3 base plates and 1 removable divider. With 3…
  • Tupperware Containers: These containers are perfect to store your food in whilst out on the road.
Utopia Kitchen Plastic Food Storage Container Set with Airtight Lids – Pack of 24 (12 Containers & 12 Snap Lids)- Reusable & Leftover Lunch Boxes – Leak Proof & Microwave Safe
  • SET OF 24 PIECES – Includes 12 containers and 12 lids of varied sizes. To match different storage…
  • MICROWAVE & FREEZER SAFE – All the containers are microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe….
  • AIRTIGHT & LEAK PROOF – A snap-on lock system and silicone rubbers in the lids make the…
  • Cooler Bag: This insulated cooler bag is perfect to keep everything fresh whilst you are on the road. Then easily prepare everything when you stop off for a break. I usually pack mine in the morning before I set off. This means the food stays as fresh as possible. Don’t forget to pack a table and chairs so you can enjoy your meal at any location!
TOURIT Cooler Bag 48-Can Insulated Soft Cooler Large Collapsible Cooler Bag 32L Lunch Coolers for Picnic, Beach, Work, Trip, Grey
  • Large Capacity: Cooler bag can hold a volume of 32L (8.4 Gallons). Make you can bring 48…
  • Long-term Cooling Time: The main compartment uses high-density insulating materials and waterproof…
  • 100 % Leak-proof: The inner lining is made of waterproof high-frequency material PEVA, which is…

Extra Items To Remember

  1. Paper towels or napkins
  2. Plastic plates (re-usable)
  3. Cutlery (again, preferably re-usable)
  4. Sharp knife for chopping
  5. Chopping board
  6. Wet wipes
  7. Garbage bag
  8. Foil
  9. Washing up items – bucket, liquid, sponge
  10. Corkscrew/bottle opener (how else are you going to crack open the good stuff once the day’s driving is done?)

It’s easy to get carried away with planning and preparing to eat all this exciting food, but don’t forget all the non-food essentials that you’ll need!

There are loads of disposable options out there however I always prefer to take reusable options wherever possible.


Not only is this eco-friendly travel, but it will also help you save money on a road trip!

Have I missed anything from this extensive road trip food list? Let me know in the comments.

How To Pack The Cooler For A Road Trip

Road Trip Cooler Box
  1. You will need ice, frozen gel packs, or frozen water bottles to pack inside the cooler and keep everything very cold. You can also use frozen juice boxes or block ice ( which stays frozen longer than cubes)
  2. If you plan to have the air-conditioning on, then keep the cooler inside the car where the temperature is lower than the trunk
  3. Avoid opening the lid of the cooler more than is necessary, as this will let the heat in.
  4. Try to select the right size cooler for the amount of food you have. Then fill the cooler with ice and insulate it by wrapping it in a bath towel (on the outside).
  5. Try to make packing the cooler the final step of your preparation, so that food stays in the refrigerator as long as possible.
  6. Make sure to keep meat and poultry separate and sealed. Put the frozen or very cold food first and put it at the bottom, then fill up the cooler.
  7. Spread out the ice/gel packs evenly to ensure all of the food stays very cold.
TOURIT Cooler Bag 48-Can Insulated Soft Cooler Large Collapsible Cooler Bag 32L Lunch Coolers for Picnic, Beach, Work, Trip, Grey
  • Large Capacity: Cooler bag can hold a volume of 32L (8.4 Gallons). Make you can bring 48…
  • Long-term Cooling Time: The main compartment uses high-density insulating materials and waterproof…
  • 100 % Leak-proof: The inner lining is made of waterproof high-frequency material PEVA, which is…

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How To Eat Cheaply On A Road Trip

Here are my top tips to keep the costs down and eat cheaply on a road trip. If you’re on a budget we’ve got more tips to share with you in our article on how to save money on a road trip.

  1. Pack a variety of healthy snacks to avoid spending money at service stations
  2. Eat a wholesome breakfast to keep you going longer during your journey
  3. Make a large flask of coffee before you set off in the morning to save on hot beverage costs
  4. Keep the journey exciting and fun with some road trip questions to take your mind off snacking
  5. Look online for restaurant discount codes and deals in your area

Road Trip Food FAQs

In this section, we will cover a variety of questions that may help you when preparing road trip food.

What should you avoid eating on a road trip?

If you have a lot of miles ahead of you, it’s great not to feel sluggish, tired, or lethargic. Avoid eating too many sugary foods to prevent the inevitable spike and then slump! Try to stick to healthy alternatives like wholegrain sandwiches and healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, and seeds. Fast food will be tempting, but try to prepare food in advance to take with you.

What should I eat when driving long distances?

Good sources of protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats will keep you feeling energized and alert whilst driving long distances. Examples can include whole grains, nuts, and bananas. Try not to consume too much caffeine and instead focus on increasing high water intake.

How can I eat cheaply on a road trip?

To eat cheap on a road trip you should prepare as much food as possible prior to departure. Use a cooler to store the meals and stop off at a scenic location for a picnic. Avoid buying snacks and beverages from gas stations and rest stops. Use the internet to find cheap restaurants if you want to try the local cuisine.

What should I bring for breakfast on a road trip?

Consider bringing anything that will help you feel energized during the long journey ahead. Focus on foods that release energy slowly instead of sugary alternatives!

Road Trip Food Ideas For Kids

kids snacks for a road trip

Taking a road trip with the kids is so much fun, but, as I’m sure you’re already aware, it requires some serious thought! When it comes to food, being prepared with snacks for the kids is absolutely essential.  

You don’t want the back half of the car getting grumpy and irritable! Of course, on long road trips, a range of healthy (but equally tasty) and ‘treat’ snacks is also important. 

Here is my go-to list of road trip snacks to pack for the kids:

Healthy Snacks

  1. Chopped or ‘bitesize’ Fruits – apples, oranges, strawberries, pineapple
  2. Chopped or ‘bitesize’ veggies – Carrot Sticks, Celery Sticks, Cherry Tomatoes
  3. String Cheese
  4. Popcorn (Sweet and Salty)
  5. Cereal (Dry cereal in a small tub makes a great snack in the car)
  6. Granola bars
  7. Trail mix
  8. Dried Fruit
  9. Drinkable Yoghurts
  10. Jerky

Treat Snacks

  1. Fruit gummies
  2. Crackers
  3. Pretzels
  4. Cookies
  5. Mini waffles
  6. Mini Pancakes
  7. Pepperoni sticks
  8. Muffins
  9. Cup-cakes

Top Tip: Each morning (or the night before) pack the snacks into separate containers. That way the kids know how many snacks they have for the day.

Tubs or lunch boxes with separate compartments are great for this, as you can store a range of snacks in one easy place – and it’s fun for the kids to have a variety in front of them!

While you’re at it, why not keep the kids entertained in the car with these amazingly fun road trip games for kids?

Eating Healthy on the Road

Healthy Road Trip Food

Everyone knows that a healthy diet is important these days, and a small amount of preparation really helps you to ensure the whole gang will eat healthily while traveling.

Believe me, I learned the hard way. I’ve taken plenty of road trips without really giving much thought to what foods I would take.

As someone who eats relatively healthily at home, I assumed this would be an easy thing to continue whilst on the road.


It’s far too easy to find yourself in the middle of nowhere on a road trip, with a single overpriced fast food restaurant as your only option.

Preparation is Key

But how do you eat healthily on the road I hear you ask?

Well, it’s actually much simpler than you would think.

Plan ahead.

  • Head to the grocery store before your trip with a grocery list
  • Pack enough food for your trip
  • Plan out your breakfast, lunch, and dinner whilst on the road

This will help you to maintain a healthy diet and to eat well-balanced meals whilst you are away.

Why Eating Healthy on Your Trip Is Important

Not only is eating healthy on the road a great way to keep energy levels high (very important for long drives) but it prevents you from having to eat foods and snacks you wouldn’t generally eat at home.

This is especially relevant if your road trip is a long one. You don’t want to find yourself in a position where you have to constantly eat greasy, unhealthy (and overpriced) food

Below is a list of my go-to healthy foods to pack on a road trip:

Healthy Foods to Pack on a Road Trip

salad, fruit, vegetables
Packing up salads separately is a great way to preserve the ingredients
  • Water: It might sound obvious but drinking plenty of water is super important for staying healthy. Not only does it prevent dehydration, but it also helps fight fatigue. This is super important when driving long distances. Take reusable water containers and fill them whenever you get an opportunity. The recommended daily amount of water intake (according to the Institute of Medicine) is around 3.7 liters for a male and 2.7 liters for a female.
  • Fruits and Veggies: Pre-chop your fruit and veggies into bite-size chunks the night before you leave on your road trip. That way they will be accessible and easy to eat. Berries are great as they’re already bitesize!
  • Nuts: Nuts are high in protein and good fats and – as with fruit and veggies – nice and easy to eat on the go. Avoid salted nuts if you really want to stay healthy!
  • Cooked meats/fish: Pre-cook lean meat and fish such as chicken and prawns to prepare healthy meals.
  • Salads: Pre-pack salads in Tupperware boxes to put with your meats etc for full well-balanced meals. Take any dressings separately to better preserve the salads.
  • Jerky/Dried meats: Jerky is a great source of protein and easy to store as it doesn’t require refrigeration.
  • Hard-boiled eggs: Another great source of protein and easy to eat the next day.
  • Protein Bars/Granola Bars/Crackers: Take a range of healthier snacks that are easy to store in the car.
Road trip food list
Road Trip Food Ideas

Homemade Road Trip Food Recipes

Looking for something to impress?

Homemade road trip snacks are the way to go. Nothing beats home cooking. And there’s no reason you can’t take some of it on your road trip too.

Often tastier than the options on the road, often healthier, and often cheaper – what’s not to like?

I also like to make batches of healthy muffins to take with me. They’re quick and simple to make, easy to store, and a great snack on the road. Here are my 2 favorite recipes

Go ahead and make them then let us know in the comments what your favorite road trip meals are!

Mini Banana Bread Muffins



  • 5 bananas (overripe)
  • 2 cups oats
  • A handful of chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp desiccated coconut (optional)


  1. Blend the oats until fine
  2. Chop the bananas and add to the oats, along with the baking powder and coconut
  3. Blend in a food processor until a thick sticky mixture
  4. Place a small amount in muffin-sized baking trays
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes
  6. Sprinkle with desiccated coconut to finish

Top tip:

Make them vegan by removing the chocolate chips or replacing them with dried fruit!

Healthy Quinoa and Veg muffins


  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • ½ cup cooked spinach
  • 1 red pepper finely chopped
  • ½ white onion finely chopped
  • ½ cup grated cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites


  1. Combine all ingredients and mix well
  2. Place a small amount in muffin-sized baking trays
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden

And voila, you have a batch of sweet and savory healthy muffins to snack on.

Your Road Trip Food Ideas

Now, we’d like to hear from you.

Which list will you be using for your road trip?

Do you have any other road trip food ideas you would like to share with us?

If you have an awesome recipe, comment below and let us know!

Disclaimer: You are using The Road Trip Expert website at your own risk. None of the authors, contributors, administrators, or anyone else connected with website in any way whatsoever can be responsible for your use of the information contained in or linked from these web pages.

Image of Iain The Founder Of The Road Trip Expert

Iain Salter

Founder & Editor of The Road Trip Expert

Iain founded The Road Trip Expert in 2019 and continues to manage the website to this day. The inspiration to start the blog came during an extensive road trip around Europe with two friends that spanned several months and involved over 25,000km of driving. He first developed a passion for backpacking in 2014 and has had the pleasure of exploring over 60 countries.


Lauren Greene Whyte

Thursday 5th of November 2020

Thanks for some of these great ideas other than the "survivor" sandwich of peanut butter & jelly. I am planning a trip across the U.S. and for the 1st part, I'm making some tabouli with pickled turnips, fresh babganoush and pita.