25 Easy Camping Snacks for Kids That Are Healthy and Portable

Homemade granola bars with chocolate chips will keep your little ones filled with energy. Photo by Annelies Brouw via Pexels
Homemade granola bars with chocolate chips will keep your little ones filled with energy. Photo by Annelies Brouw via Pexels
5/14/24 - By Maureen Wilkey

Camping snacks are essential for a successful stay in the great outdoors with kids. My family loves camping, but when it comes to building a campfire and actually cooking a meal on it, our success rate is hovering around 70%. So we always make sure to have plenty of camping snacks on hand.

We've rounded up our favorite easy camping snacks to keep your family's energy up while hiking, climbing, and exploring. Most of these camping snacks are healthy, but we mixed in a few treats, too. We tried to include mostly snacks that need little to no refrigeration or additional prep. Don't forget to properly dispose of any food waste—even orange peels and apple cores can take years to decompose in colder climates.

Our Camping Travel Guide includes loads of other ideas for making your next family camping trip a success, from fun camping games to kid-friendly ghost stories.


Kale Chips: Easy Camping Snacks for Kids
Kale chips are a crispy, delicious snack that you can make at home with just three ingredients.

Healthy and Easy Camping Snacks for Kids

1. Trail Mix

Our favorite way to make this is to put out six or seven bowls of ingredients and have each person make their own mix in their own bag. We try to include an unsweetened cereal, a sweet cereal, two kinds of nuts, pretzels, Goldfish crackers, and something chocolate (M&Ms or chocolate chips). Mini marshmallows, raisins, and other dried fruit often make appearances as well.

2. Kale Chips

Use this recipe from Taste of Home, or just rip up a bunch of rinsed kale, toss it with olive oil and salt, and put it in a 400-degree oven for 12 minutes, stirring once. Do not keep this one in an airtight container for very long. Camping is smelly enough without that!

3. Cereal Bars or Treats

No baking is required! Just melt butter and marshmallows and toss in crispy rice cereal. A few years ago, we started adding mix-ins to these classic treats. Our favorites were maple bacon and Reese's Pieces. You can also put the marshmallows in the broiler first and mix in some chocolate chips and graham cracker bits for s'mores krispie treats.

4. Fresh Fruit

Apples, oranges, and bananas all make great portable snacks because they come in their own containers. Or, you can pack berries in a reusable container. Look for small squeeze tubes of nut butter or Nutella to add some protein and extra flavor. You can also make a fruit salad or fruit kebabs.

5. Ants on a Log (and Variations)

One of my kids loves this classic—celery sticks filled with peanut butter and topped with raisins. But there are other ways to do it, like these Food Network recipes. My other kid prefers cream cheese and pomegranate arils, but you could also try hummus, ranch dip made from sour cream, cheese spread, or guacamole for the spread and any dried or chopped fruit, Goldfish crackers, nuts, or even marshmallows for the "ants."

6. Roasted and Seasoned Nuts

One challenge of camp cooking with kids is getting enough protein—hot dogs and s'mores aren't exactly the highest quality of the nutrient. So before you leave home, grab a pan, some sweet or savory seasonings, and a cup of nuts, and roast them! We like roasting almonds in a little bit of olive oil with lime zest or juice, chili powder, and a pinch of salt. There are also great recipes for candied walnuts and roasted cumin cashews.

7. Apple Chips

Slice two apples very thin, sprinkle on some cinnamon, and put them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at a low heat (200-250) for an hour or until they're crispy. A few notes: a spiralizer makes the chips too thin. You're better off with a thin-bladed knife. And eat these within a day if you want them crispy instead of chewy.

8. Granola Bars

Of course you can buy these from the grocery store, but making your own is lots of fun, too! Try this recipe from Taste of Home. Just make sure you use plenty of cooking spray—these stick!

9. Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

This is another thing that can be done plain or with a twist. Make sure you let the seeds dry if you're taking them straight from the actual pumpkin. If you're buying from a store, get the kind that are still in their shell if possible. Toss them in a bit of olive oil and season with salt or your favorite combination of flavors. We like adding a little Italian seasoning and parmesan cheese or cinnamon and sugar. Then roast them in a 350-degree oven for 25 minutes.

10. Plantain Chips

Slice some plantains to about 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle with a little olive oil and sea salt and roast in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 or until they're crispy. This is a fun savory alternative to bananas.

RELATED: 21 Classic and Funny Campfire Songs for Any Camping Trip

Puppy Chow: Easy Camping Snacks for Kids
This classic chocolate, peanut butter, and powdered-sugar cereal mix is a great energy booster.

11. Puppy Chow

This may not seem like the healthiest one on the list, but you can make it with a whole-grain cereal and a low- or no-sugar peanut butter. We recommend this for spring and fall camping trips when it's not so hot that all the chocolate melts into a mess. Here's a good starter recipe.

12. Roasted Chickpeas

Another great protein source is beans, and garbanzo beans are no exception. Roast them up in advance with this recipe. If your dinner plans go awry, you can also wrap them in a pita with some veggies for a good vegetarian meal.

13. Popcorn

Buy it, make it in advance, or pop it over the campfire (learn how here). Our campfire popcorn had mixed results. One kid got a decent-sized serving and the other burned a hole in the foil before it popped. Bring lots of oil and foil and plenty of patience, but you may get a good result.

14. No-Bake Protein Balls

If you have a kid who is into the slime/putty/foam phase, this is a fun thing to try with them. We liked this recipe for Monster Cookie Protein Balls, but there are lots of variations out there for kids with different preferences and/or allergies.

15. PB&J Sushi Rolls

This is a fun way to cut up peanut butter and jelly sandwiches so you get just one bite. You can substitute different kinds of spread here, too, for kids who aren't into PB or J.

16. Camp Charcuterie/Homemade Lunchables

Use a variety box of crackers, a few kid-friendly cured meats, and slices of some hard cheeses to make your own little charcuterie board (or container) for the trail. Cheddar and American cheeses last the longest without refrigeration.

17. Fruit Leather

You don't need a dehydrator to make your own fruit leather, and you can make it in any combination of flavors that your kids like. Just make sure you're going to be home for a while, since the oven needs to be on for a long time for this one.

18. Frozen Grapes

Separate the grapes and put them on a lined baking sheet in the freezer. Then dump them into a baggie or a bowl with a lid and go! These are great when it's hot outside, and if they thaw, you just have regular grapes.

RELATED: RV Camping and Campgrounds for Families: A Beginners' Guide to Planning an RV Trip

hummus veggies pita Easy Camping Snacks for Kids
 Easy to make and pack, hummus with pita and veggies is one of the most nutritious camping snacks.

19. Hummus with Pitas and/or Veggies

Most kids enjoy dipping, and if they like hummus, you'll add protein and fiber with this fun snack. Many veggies don't require refrigeration for a few hours, and this can make the perfect bridge to the next meal.

20. No-Bake Brownie Bites

These fall outside of the protein balls category because they're definitely a dessert—but who says camping snacks can't satisfy our sweet tooth?

21. "Grandpa Cookies"

Most times when my grandparents ran out of cookies, my grandpa would just wait a bit and Grandma would make more. But sometimes his sweet tooth would get the better of him and he would find a jar of frosting, peanut butter, or marshmallow Fluff and spread some on a graham cracker. One of my kids likes to make a production out of this by adding sprinkles, mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, and everything bagel seasoning. This is a great s'mores alternative if your campfire doesn't work out.

22. Muffins

You can choose a healthy savory muffin, a not-totally-without-nutrition carrot cake muffin, or just go for chocolate chip. Muffins are easy to transport, and you can make them without wrappers by using silicone liners or a lot of cooking spray to reduce waste.

23. Meat Sticks

Similar to beef jerky, these cured meat snacks are a little easier for kids to chew and come in a variety of different meats. My kids aren't big on the red meat, but they're down with flavors like turkey pepperoni and chicken and apple. Check out offerings specifically for kids at Chomps or The New Primal.

24. Applesauce or Yogurt Pouches

Put yogurt pouches or tubes in the freezer and use them on the first day you hit the trail. And stock up on applesauce pouches (or make your own) and seal them in small containers. Sometimes the best camping snacks are the easiest!

25. Banana or Zucchini Bread

Make your favorite banana or zucchini (or blueberry lemon or apple or Amish Friendship) bread. Cut it into slices or chunks before you hit the road. Bring some margarine or peanut butter if you want a topping.