There’s nothing like a vacation with family or friends to help you disconnect from the daily grind. But sometimes with the excitement of getting away from the real world, it gets easy to make poor choices at meal time — especially if you’re eating at fast food restaurants and “sampling” all the local favorites. (Don’t worry, we’re all guilty.)
Road trip snacks shouldn’t be limited to convenience store sandwiches and truck stop candy bars. With just a little extra effort and planning, you can keep your energy levels up and your diet in check, even if you do make the occasional trip through a drive-thru. Here are some of healthy road trip snack ideas that’ll keep you honest as you’re hurdling down Route 66 and playing some ’80s classics!
Healthy Road Trip Snack Ideas
1. Beef Jerky
Is there really anything better than a good bag of jerky on the open road? Although this healthy snack is packed with protein, stay away from brands that are high in sodium and packed with preservatives; Organic and grass-fed is the way to go. (Even better if you whipped up some venison jerky yourself!)
2. Fruit Jerky
No, store-bought fruit rollups are not a good idea. Yes, making healthy, low-sugar fruit jerky takes some preparation, but this is a fantastic alternative for parents hoping to feed their kids a tasty snack that won’t hype them up.
Pro tip: Store your fresh fruit in a reusable tote! Once you’re fresh-out, fill up on a very inexpensive and healthy snack when it’s time to get gas.
Honestly, I could eat a banana every day and never be upset. Load up on potassium and start the day right with an inexpensive breakfast banana.
5. All The Veggies
Bell peppers, baby carrots, broccoli, celery — It doesn’t matter what you’re choosing here. Fresh vegetables travel incredibly well and make great, long-lasting snacks.
6. All The Berries
If it ends in berry, I’m in. Cranberry, strawberry, and blueberry top my list, what about yours?
If you want to spice up your wellness routine and still feel like you’re cheating, hummus is a must-have. It’s easy to make from scratch and easier to find at most grocery stores.
8. Roasted Chickpeas
A little prep goes a long way here, as roasted chickpeas make for a tasty snack that you can load up on before hitting the road.
9. Dried Fruit
If fresh fruit isn’t on your list, dried fruits are a fantastic and long-lasting alternative. You won’t be disappointed packing dried apricots!
For the avocado lovers of the world, guacamole goes with everything. Best of all, it’s easy to prep and store in your coolers for a great mid-day mood booster.
Any nuts are a solid choice, but almonds always make my must-have list. They’re a great supply of healthy fats and essential vitamins, as well as helping to reduce your overall hunger cravings.
Much like almonds, cashews deliver essential vitamins while supporting brain and bone health over time. The best part is you can find quality cashews at most gas stations!
13. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are a great source of magnesium for heart health. But if you’re busting into the ranch and bacon flavored, make sure you’re actually cracking them open and eating the seeds — Sucking down the flavor doesn’t count!
14. Protein Bars
RX Bars are a fantastic choice here, especially for anyone behind the wheel in need of an easy-to-handle snack.
A tasty addition to most low-fat yogurts, granola helps reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels over time.
Chocolate covered pretzels don’t count, much to my chagrin. However, a lightly-salted bag of pretzels are perfect munchies when you’re between meals, as long as you stay within the recommended serving size.
17. Dark Chocolate
Yes, dark chocolate. Satisfy that sweet tooth on your next road trip with a few dark chocolate chips! This isn’t one we’d recommend going all-out snacking on, but dark chocolate is shown to help lower your risk of heart disease. And they told us Halloween candy wasn’t healthy…
18. Almond Butter
Classic peanut butter is loaded with added sugar. You might spend a little bit extra on this, but almond butter is packed with protein and a perfectly spreadable nut butter on your favorite wheat or whole-grain bread.
19. Hard-Boiled Eggs
Easy to prep. Easy to pack. Easy to eat. You’ll get some good carbohydrates and lots of protein with these quick and easy snacks. (Pro tip: Peel them ahead of time!) Heck, go ahead and bust out the Easter egg dye for a pop of color.
20. Tuna and Crackers
Alright, so you won’t want to throw together a healthy tuna salad if your road trip partner hates the smell, but tuna and lightly-salted crackers make a great lunch alternative on the open road.
21. String Cheese
Flash back to your middle school lunches with a fantastic treat that delivers healthy fats and complex carbs in a guilt-free, fun snack.
22. Vegetable Chips
Sadly, munching down a “Family Size” bag of Cool Ranch Doritos isn’t making our list. However, you can find another crispy treat that’ll satisfy your potato chip cravings with just 20 minutes of prep. Best of all: they’re preservative and gluten-free!
Using sweet potatoes, zucchini, summer squash, beets or even kale, all you need to do is slice your veggies into thin strips, either by hand or on a mandolin, then pat them dry. Drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil and bake them in a warm (but not too hot!) oven until they crisp to perfection!
Road Trip Meal Ideas
Car rides can be long and arduous, especially when you get into the heart of those journeys. Rest stops start to blur, and grocery store visits get more and more unappealing, right? Limit your gas station stops and snack stockpile with some home-cooked meals that’ll make lunch time a whole lot more satisfying.
23. Turkey Avocado Club Wraps
Your favorite deli meat, avocado, lettuce, sharp cheddar cheese, tomatoes, and bacon rolled into one? These lunch wraps won’t get soggy in the cooler and are sure to satisfy those late afternoon hunger cravings.
24. Chicken Salad
Again, a little prep goes a long way. This chicken salad recipe stores easily, can be eaten as is, or spread onto one of those leftover wraps from the recipe above. Work smarter, not harder!
25. Antioxidant Trail Mix
Some people find gas station trail mixes to be either too salty or too sugary, with not enough healthy options. This option found by Wide Open Eats is a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, antioxidants, hearty-healthy magnesium, and more.
This post was originally published on December 24, 2020.