Who doesn’t love a good summer road trip? I spent so many wonderful hours on the road with my family as a kid going to places like Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, Glacier National Park, Monument Valley and more. Admittedly, one of my favorite parts of road trips has always been the snacks. But I’m totally guilty of loading up on very unhealthy foods for long drives!
Grape soda, white cheddar crackers, and gummy bears are among my favorites. But the older I get, the more I realize how miserable my body ends up feeling after eating all that junk. And the last place I want to feel like junk is on vacation! So today I’m sharing some of my favorite healthy snacks for taking on road trips!
Here are some homemade snack ideas from my own blog that you can make ahead of time to take along on a road trip!
Make mini parfaits in mason jars with homemade coconut milk yogurt. Be sure to pack the granola separately to keep it from getting soggy.
I love leftover pancakes! These whole grain ones would make a great fiber-rich road trip snack.
Instead of grabbing a big bag of deep-fried potato chips from the grocery store or gas station – take a few minutes to make some homemade potato chips in the microwave!
This curried pasta salad just gets better the longer it it sits! Just make sure to keep it in a cooler since it’s made with mayonnaise.
Kale chips are the perfect way to satisfy a craving for a salty crunch while still getting some great vitamins and minerals.
If you aren’t too keen on kale chips, zucchini chips are a great alternative!
This frozen fruit cocktail is the perfect road trip snack! You can use the frozen jars to help keep other food cold and eat the fruit once it thaws out.
These mini omelet muffins are an easy way to have breakfast on the road.
Use mini cookie cutters to put a little bit of cheese in the middle of a carrot slice. The cheese makes for a more filling snack while still getting some veggies.
My mother-in-law’s recipe for sweet & savory party mix is a hit with just about everyone! It’s the perfect alternative to store-bought mix that may have lots of questionable ingredients.
Jerky really is a perfect snack for trips. It’s easy to eat on the go and doesn’t make a mess. But store-bought jerky tends to have all kinds of additives. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to make at home ahead of time!
Healthy snacks don’t have to take a lot of time to put together! Here are some of my favorite things you can grab from the grocery store.
Sliced Deli Meat
I’ve recently found a love for just plain, sliced deli meat! It’s such an easy way to get some protein. My favorite brand is Applegate because their products are all-natural and most of them don’t contain any added sugar. If you’re trying to avoid the food additive carrageenan, you’ll want to get the roast beef as it’s the only one of their meats that doesn’t contain it.
It’s so much easier for kids to eat apples if they are pre-sliced. I love that you can find them pre-sliced at the grocery store these days but you definitely have to pay a premium to get them that way. Save a little cash by slicing them yourself and then using this method to keep them from turning brown. For a little bit of added protein and fat, grab some squeeze packs of Justin’s Almond Butter or Peanut Butter.
Other Fresh Fruits and Veggies
I’m sure fresh fruits and veggies are a no brainer snack for most people, but I tend to forget about them or think that they are too much trouble to wash and cut up when I’m getting ready for a trip. When time is short, I like to grab the pre-packaged fruits and veggies at the grocery store. Just be sure to pack a few napkins for especially juicy fruits. I’m also not a huge fan of plain, raw vegetables. So I like to grab single-serve packs of hummus or guacamole for dipping. Costco sometimes carries single-serve packs of tzatziki that is delicious!
Larabars are my absolute favorite store-bought bar! Each of their bars contains no more than 9 ingredients and many of them only contain three. With the exception of the bars that contain chocolate chips, Larabars don’t contain refined sugar – they are naturally sweetened with fruit or fruit juice. My favorite flavor is coconut cream pie! You can even make your own if you’d prefer.
Dried/Freeze Dried Fruits and Veggies
It’s definitely easy to go overboard when snacking on dried fruits and veggies but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a great snack. Limit portions by buying dried fruits and baggies in snack sized bags or portioning them out yourself. I especially love Buddy Fruits Apple Chips. The apples are nice and crispy but without any oil! I don’t know how they do it. Trader Joe’s also has a great selection of freeze dried fruits that are absolutely delicious.
Nuts are another snack that you can easily overeat if you aren’t careful! But they are a great source of fat and protein. Just like with dried fruit, be sure to buy them in snack sized bags or portion them out at home. My favorites are cashews, macadamia nuts and pistachios. Be sure to look for raw nuts (if your digestive system can handle them) or dry roasted to avoid added oil. I love that you can find shelled pistachios now so you don’t get a huge mess in the car from the shells.
I love that it is so easy to find applesauce with no added sweetener in just about any grocery store! It’s one of my go-to natural snacks. For road trips, look for the squeeze packs so you don’t risk spills in the car. I like to grab a big box of the Kirkland brand organic squeeze packs at Costco.
Another easily portable snack! I’ve found that it is pretty easy to find all-natural versions at most stores. My favorite kind is Stretch Island Fruit Co. that I get at Costco.
Mary’s Gone Crackers
Mary’s Gone Crackers are my favorite brand of store-bought crackers! They have the cleanest ingredients I have ever been able to find without making my own. They are organic and gluten-free and come in a few different yummy flavors. I will admit that the texture takes some getting used to but I’ve really grown to love them. I like to combine them with some single serve portions of hummus or guacamole.
Hard Boiled Eggs
I know hard boiled eggs aren’t exactly difficult to make but I love to grab a bag of pre-cooked hard boiled eggs at Trader Joe’s. They couldn’t be more convenient, especially when traveling. Combine them with some carrot sticks or sugar snap peas and you’ve got the perfect balanced snack.
I have a very intense love for Skinny Pop. :-) I almost always have a couple of their 100-calorie packs in my car or purse. I even put them in gift bags I gave out at a recent event! It’s just a great low-calorie, but very filling snack.
Additional Tips for Healthy Road Trip Snacking
- Think of snacks as a mini-meal. You want to include carbs, protein and fat for a balanced and filling snack.
- Be careful not to mindlessly eat! It is so easy to keep a bag of chips or candy next to you in the car and before you know it, you’ve eaten three days worth of calories. Be conscious of what you are putting in your mouth. Pack a snack bag and only take things out when you are hungry and put them back when you are finished snacking. Putting food in smaller containers is another great way to avoid overeating.
- Don’t forget to drink lots of water. It might be tempting to grab a big soda when you stop for gas but all that sugar will mean a major energy crash later on. If you need an energy boost reach for some protein and healthy fats instead of a caffeinated soda.
- If you run out of snacks or don’t have time to pack them in the first place, head to a grocery store instead of a gas station when you need some sustenance. Pick up some of the pre-packaged options I listed above. If a gas station is your only option, look for fresh fruits and veggies. Many gas stations do carry them nowadays! I’ve also seen hard boiled eggs at many gas stations. You can often find things like dry roasted nuts, low-calorie popcorn, and healthy snack bars as well.
- Be mindful of what certain foods do to your body. Nobody likes to be trapped in a car with indigestion or an upset stomach. This may be a no brainer, but don’t eat things that will make you feel that way! Be sure to eat lots of fiber to avoid constipation as well.
- To keep foods fresh, be sure to pack your cooler correctly. Check out this post from last year to get the low-down on packing the perfect cooler.
- In order to avoid fast food, don’t forget to pack for meals as well! I love to bring ingredients to throw together a quick salad or leftovers from dinners before the trip that can be eaten cold. If fast food is your only option, it is still possible to eat healthily! Although they still have a long way to go, many fast food restaurants have added healthy options to their menus in recent years. Many places offer fresh fruits and veggies as sides, carry healthy breakfast options like fruit smoothies and oatmeal, and offer multiple delicious salad options. Here is a great article from Babble on What to Eat – and Avoid – at 12 Top Fast-Food Restaurants. And here is another great list from Fitness Magazine on 30 Surprisingly Healthy Fast Foods. If you have time to stop at a sit-down restaurant you can usually get eggs and fruit for breakfast and grilled meat and veggies for lunch and dinner. Be sure to check out sites like Yelp or even just Google Reviews to find healthy restaurants in unfamiliar towns.
What are your favorite road trip snacks?