What Are the Best Road Trip Pop Cup o’ Foods?

This is the third part in our Road Trip Food Packing series. Today we’ll cover the myriad pop-cup foods you can pack for ready consumption. How can you get vegetables while you’re on the road? How can you eat fruits while you’re on a raod trip? What are the easiest foods to take on a road trip? This article includes photos, examples and explanations.

In this article we’re going to cover mostly “pop top” foods, though there are plenty of “Miscellaneous” items that are thrown in here. They aren’t cereal, beverages or jerky, so we put them in this story.

Here are some of our top Cup o’ Foods for your road trip: (click to enlarge)

These are just some of the best Road Trip pop top cup foods we've found over the course of years of taking lengthy road trips with children.
These are just some of the best Road Trip pop top cup foods we've found over the course of years of taking lengthy road trips with children.

Broken down details on these portable pop cup snacks, from left to right:
Apple Sauces, Etc. : Motts makes little apple sauce cups, but sometimes that’s not exciting enough for kids, so consider any of their many other similar products instead. They’ve got peach, mango, plum and other such flavors, and sometimes the color alone is enough to make the big-enough difference with the young ones in your caravan.

Candy: We went for Starburst, Skittles and Gummi Bears. The kids love them the most, so we bought them to use on a reward system.

Nuts: Nuts have plenty of calories and are rich in oils, so if your kids enjoy nuts (or you do yourself) then this is an often-great choice. You can consider sunflower seeds for yourself, but it’s such a mess and mostly salt anyhow, so think twice about that.

Fruit Cups: Fruit cups are great because they include fruit and jello, and even though fruits are naturally loaded with sucrose, they often can’t compete with the candied world of food that kids enjoy on a daily basis. You can do straight Jell-o cups if you want, but if you can get the kids to eat fruit at the same time, then you should go for it.

Jell-O Cups: If your kids won’t eat the fruit, go for straight Jell-O instead. It’s not particularly nutritious, but it’s something, and at the very least it will keep the monkeys from howling in the backseat for a good 20-minutes.

Fruit Snacks: Fruit snacks come in a variety of forms. Gummi-approximates, roll-ups and other such frui-tasties. It’s got some nutritional value, some calories, they travel really well (shelf-stable) and they are popular for snacks and even rewards for kids.

Veggie Cups: This may sound crazy, but consider this: you can pop the top of these veggie cups, heat them for 45-seconds to perfection (or just eat them cold) and you’ll get your daily serving of veggies out of the way without having to go to a butter or grease laden restaurant where you’ll just focus on the fries instead anyhow. These are priced very well and are perfectly delicious. If you’re not familiar with them, review the photograph above to see what we’re talking about.

Pudding Cups: Fun and delicious fatty fatness, pudding cups are both tasty and nutritious. Be careful with the interior of your car and clothes, but there are plenty of shelf-stable pudding cups, so long as you keep them away from direct sunlight and avoid excessive heat.

Pastry Tasties: Twinkies, Ding-Dongs and Ho-Ho’s may not be the best for your kids, but there are other pastry variations that you might detest a bit less. Cinnamon rolls, coffee cake pastries and whatever else are equally devoid of lasting nutritional value, but the kids (and adults) will love them on the way from one city to the next, and if your blood sugar is dipping, a single bite alone may be enough to bring you back to sanity.

Cured Meat Snacks: Beef Jerky isn’t for everyone, but summer sausage, pepperoni and teriyaki jerky bites make for a good alternative. These are very expensive in terms of cost per weight, but bear in mind that the prices are based on highest quality meat, plus the manpower to process them, plus the fact that all the water is evaporated out and that it’s made shelf-stable so it won’t spoil at room temperature. There are many varieties of these meats and it’s the easiest, surest route to on-the-road protein.

Pop Tarts: I personally can only eat a Pop-Tart when it’s heated, but then again I eat everything hot (and I don’t eat Pop Tarts), but my kids love them most at room temperature. If your kids eat them cold, this is a great reward/treat, as well as a way to get some calories into the juniors while you’re shuttling from city to city.

Don’t over think it, but give it some thought. Make sure what you’re buying is something that will be eaten, something that stores well at room temperature, and that doesn’t take up too much space. Popcorn is a terrible one because it takes up too much space, candy apples will stick to everything in your car and world, and rice cakes will make them gag themselves silly, so don’t bother with those unless you already know they love them.

Check out the rest of our Road Trip Packing series:
Road Trip Food Packing Advice Summary
Best Road Trip Beverages
Best Road Trip Snack Foods
Best Road Trip Cup o’ Foods
Best Road Trip Microwaveable Foods
Comprehensive Road Trip Packing Checklist
Smart Things to Pack Before Your Road Trip

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