I don’t know who gets more restless at home – me, or my toddler – but regardless, we try to get out of the house for at least one long block of time each day. For us, this is usually mornings – that magical window between breakfast and the afternoon nap. This means we are often out around town when the urge for a morning snack hits, and sometimes we are out late enough to need lunch on-the-go as well.
There are a few things I double-check to make sure we have before we leave the house: clean diaper, sweatshirt/sunscreen/sunhat for either or both of us, wallet, phone, and most importantly – SNACKS. Few things are scarier than being trapped with a hungry toddler with no means to provide food and relief!
But it’s not realistic to think that I can pack and un-pack my diaper bag with perishable foods every time we leave the house. Of course, depending on what we’re doing, I also toss in baggies and lidded bowls of things like fresh grapes, apple slices, carrot sticks, or hummus wraps. But more often than not, I rely on things that I can keep stashed in my diaper bag all week long.
Here are ten tasty and healthy snacks you can add to your grocery lists!
Diaper Bag Snacks 1 of 11
If you keep your bag stashed with some of these goodies, you will feel prepared when you're out and about during the day, and you won't end up with a backseat full of grumpy toddlers!
Freeze Dried Fruits Snacks 2 of 11
We keep a variety of these on hand -- usually mangoes, bananas, and strawberries. My son loves them because they are sweet and have great fruit flavor and a fun texture, and I love them because they are easy to store and really lightweight, which makes throwing them into a diaper bag no big deal.
Fruit and Veggie Pouches 3 of 11
Pretty much every mom I know has a stash of pouches somewhere or another. Yes, they are generally overpriced and I cringe at all the packaging we throw away, but they are also super convenient and a baby/toddler favorite. The main thing I like about these is that they are one of the only easily-portable and non-perishable vegetable options I can pack with me on the go. I always try to buy the varieties that are heavy and greens and veggies, since we don't have any trouble getting Cullen to eat plenty of fruit.
Individual Applesauce Cups 4 of 11
When I'd like to stretch a meal beyond just handfuls of nuts and cereal here and there, individual applesauce cups are a great addition. These are also really handy to pull out when we sit down at a restaurant, before our meals are brought to the table. I always keep a toddler spoon and bib on hand too, as Cullen loves to serve himself but hasn't quite mastered the art of mess-free self-feeding. Practice makes perfect, right?
Fruit Leather Strips 5 of 11
Every time I open one of these I have flashbacks to eating fruit roll-ups throughout my own childhood. Thankfully, these are a lot more natural, and many varieties and brands are even organic. Cullen goes nuts for these, and it's something simply that I can hand him in the carseat or stroller and no there will be little-to-no mess. Usually a wipe of sticky fingers is the only cleanup needed.
Varieties of Nuts, Seeds, and Fruits (or Trail Mix!) 6 of 11
While I do certainly have an arsenal of pre-packaged snacks on hand, I also try to save money and waste by creating our own. I often pack one of Cullen's portable dishes with a variety of nuts and dried fruits (like raisins and cranberries). You could also make a big batch of homemade trail mix ahead of time, and have it ready to go to just quickly pour into baggies or lidded bowls. I like offering nuts when we're out, as they provide good healthy fats rather than just empty calories (and sugar!) like so many other snack foods.
Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches 7 of 11
A classic PB&J is certainly not a revolutionary snack or meal for a kid, but it sure is a convenient one. It's also a way to ensure that if you're caught out on the go with only the snacks in your bag, you have something that will be satiating and filling, and won't leave you with a backseat full of hungry, grumpy kiddos. There are lots of ways to jazz up this basic sandwich too -- swapping out peanut butter for things like almond butter, sunbutter, or even flavored nut butters like honey vanilla. You can also swap out jelly and sub in honey, or add extras like banana or apple slices. Get creative!
Homemade Superfood Smoothies 8 of 11
I've talked quite a bit about smoothies here before, and I just can't say enough good things. Smoothies are the easiest way for me to get my toddler to eat (or really, drink) things that he would otherwise turn is nose up to. We love bulking ours up with things like avocado, flax oil, hemp seeds, almond milk, spinach, kale, carrots, and of course some frozen fruits for sweetness. It's a nutritional power punch that Cullen has fun drinking, and I think the green color (from the spinach and kale!) just makes it that much more intriguing to him. He also has a special "smoothie cup" that I take with me on smoothie days, that I can just toss into my bag and not worry about leaks and spills.
Homemade Snack Balls & Bars 9 of 11
We are certainly no strangers to packaged snacks and convenience foods, but more often than not I try to make our own. It saves on money and packaging, and also allows me better control over ingredients and sugar content. I love these homemade date balls, and Cullen asks for them as "oat cookies!" There are a ton of ways to vary the recipe too, so you can surprise your kids with something different every time.
Low (or No!) Sugar Cereal 10 of 11
I think the ultimate right of passage into motherhood is accepting that you have a backseat covered in Cheerios. And while because of this I do actually try to limit any car snacking, grab-n-go cereal is still a staple of our snack selection. The cereal aisle is laden with artificially colored high-sugar candy disguised as breakfast, but if you read labels and look carefully, there are also some perfectly healthy and nutritious options available. I usually look for things that are made from whole grains, preferably organic, and very low in added sugars. I also made sure to pick cereals that will be easy to grab with tiny fingers without being a choking hazard! Cereals tend to be somewhat empty in calories, but they also aren't overly filling. I tend to use these when I'm trying to squeeze in a late snack that won't spoil dinner.
Peanut Butter Crackers 11 of 11
When I brought these home from the store, my husband teased me that they were nothing more than glorified Ritz Bitz crackers. And while that is most certainly true, who doesn't love a handful of Ritz Bitz? I feel like half the time I am the one who ends up eating the majority of these. But they are great for my son too when he wants something more substantial than raisins or cereal, but perhaps we don't have a sandwich on hand.