To pack or not to pack this snack, that is the question...
First off, what do we mean by on-the-go? This could range anywhere from snacks your little can eat in the car seat, in the stroller, in the cart at the supermarket, on an airplane or at the park. I’m rating these according to a few important factors that make some snacks more travel-friendly than others. For example, you don’t want anything too wet, sticky or crumbly, or a snack that you need a bowl and spoon to eat. Some of my considerations when choosing travel snacks for toddlers are ease and convenience, messiness, serving size, nutrition, taste, and fun factor (afterall, on-the-go snacks can be as much about entertainment as they are about hunger). I’ve also limited these picks to packaged snacks, although fresh fruits and vegetables of course make great choices too!
Now for the WINNERS...
MISSION MEATS GRASS-FED BEEF KIDS SNACK STICKS
Why we like them: For our little carnivores, these snack sticks are the cleanest we’ve found. We love what are in these bars (grass-fed, locally sourced beef, vegetables and spices) as much as we love what is not in them (sugar, nitrates, gluten, antibiotics, gmos, fillers, hormones, dextrose fillers). They are high in protein and will keep little tummies feeling full and satisfied without any carb-loading or sugar crashes. Not to mention, they take up almost no space in your bag, make zero mess, and don’t require refrigeration. If you don’t have a beef-enthusiast, check out their turkey varieties instead. It’s also a bonus that Mission Meats is a family-owned and operated business and, true to their name, they give back 10% of their profits to support social good organizations. Find them on their site, Thrive Market or Amazon.
BARNANA PLANTAIN CHIPS
Why we like them: One of my biggest complaints about the puffs and chips is the cheesy residue left on fingers that gets wiped all over my toddler’s shirt and pants. I know you feel me on this… These plantain chips have that same delightful crunch and appeal as chips, but no greasy residue, and no cheese-powdered fingers. Plantains, being in the banana family, deliver the nutritional punch of potassium with a subtle natural sweetness that doesn’t come from added sugar. They are also cut slightly thicker than chips, meaning they won’t explode into a million pieces in your car. If your kid is bananas for bananas, you’ll want to check out their other products too, like Banana Bites and Banana Brittle. Shop Barnana on their website and Whole Foods Markets.
Amara ORGANIC YOGURT SMOOTHIE MELTS
Why we like them: While I wouldn’t recommend either yogurt or a smoothie as a wise on-the-go option, I do recommend these Yogurt Smoothie Melts from Amara. Safe for babies 9 months and up, but equally loved by toddlers, kids, and grown-ups alike, these are the only yogurt melts on the market that have no added sugar. They are also a combination of fruits and veggies, and we always love a little veg anywhere we can get it. Avoiding dairy or vegan? Check out their variety pack of two flavors Mango Carrots and Carrot Raspberry made from plant-based yogurt. Sign up for a subscription on the site for a discount and free shipping. Because you know you’re going to need them...
JUSTin's classiC almond butter Squeeze packs
Why we like them: I like the versatility of these packs. They can be snipped at the corner for your toddler to suck up the butter. Because nut butters are thick and slow-moving, they generally won’t squirt out. The packs are so small they can fit into your pocket and minimize single use packaging waste, compared to bigger applesauce or yogurt pouches. For such a tiny package, they deliver big on protein and healthy fats, helping stabilize blood sugar. While your toddler has the option of enjoying straight from the pack, you can also squirt them on apple slices, toast, pretzels or whatever else you may have on hand. Since they have such a long shelf life and won’t get smushed, they are the perfect snack to just have on hand in the car or in your bag in case of a snacking “emergency.” Find Justin’s in the nut butter section of most grocery stores and online.
Why we like them: Larabars are a snack bar with a basic ingredient list; most flavors are made only from a combination of nuts and dried fruit, mainly dates. Dried fruit and nuts on their own can be a mess, like raisins (they fall everywhere!) or bigger pieces of dried fruit like apple rings (hello drool!). Larabars are neat and mess-free. They are ideal for small fingers, barely ever crumble or fall apart, are soft, and the wrapper is easy enough for a toddler to open without help. Plus, they have so many flavors, like Apple Pie or Blueberry Muffin, you are sure to find one your toddler will love. They even have a new line with greens which sneak in some spinach. In terms of convenience, it doesn’t get much simpler. You can find Larabars sold at most grocery store chains and online. The serving size might be a little large for a light eater, but they are delicious enough for you to take care of any leftovers. They also have a product line especially for kids you can find on their website.
AMARA Yogurt Melts, But Better.