Healthy Road Trip Snacks: Our Guide to Clean Eating on the Road
If you’re trying to eat healthy on the road, you probably don’t want to rely on what’s available in the gas stations and convenience stores along the way. Skip the aisles full of processed, prepackaged foods and make yourself a kit full of nutritious munchies before hitting the road.
Here are our top recommendations for healthy road trip snacks, picked because they’ll travel well, won’t make a mess, and will give your body the energy it needs to make it through the long drive.
When you’re trying to stave off cravings or need to drive through meal times, you’re going to want some healthy road trip snacks that are rich in protein. According to a Healthline article, research shows that eating high-protein foods helps curb your appetite and reduces your impulse to snack.
Squeezable yogurt pouches (check the sugar content on these before buying!), string cheese or cheese wheels, and hard boiled eggs (peeled before you leave home!) are all easy ways to get your protein on the road if you plan to bring along a small cooler. Jerky and tuna packets are also great options for protein-rich items that don’t need to be refrigerated.
Veggies are an ideal way to satisfy the urge to snack while helping you stay healthy on the road. Great road trip veggies include carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, broccoli florets, and snap peas. Bonus tip: Single-serving packs of hummus and guacamole are great for dipping veggies and make for an even more filling snack.
To satisfy your sweet tooth, stick with fruit: it’s easily portable (it comes in its own wrapper!) and won’t leave you with a sugar crash and a need for caffeine later. Go for apples (sliced or whole), clementines (pre-peeled if you’re road-tripping solo), grapes, blueberries, and bananas. Applesauce pouches are a great mess-free option for kids.
If you’re going on a longer trip, dried fruit will keep easily and won’t leave you with peels, cores, or stems to toss out, either. Just be careful to steer clear of brands that add a lot of sugar to their dried fruits.
When you want something savory to munch on, reach for the whole grain crackers, popcorn, or nuts. As a healthy, nutritious substitute for chips, make your own kale chips, roasted edamame, or baked chickpeas. Each of these is packed with nutrients or protein that you won’t get from a can of Pringles!
Sometimes you just need something sweet to snack on, and fruit isn’t going to cut it. Dark chocolate is great on its own, but there are countless ways to enjoy this nutritious sweet in your snacks; add it to your trail mix or make these chocolate-covered almond clusters from Sally’s Baking Addiction. You can also try making your own healthy energy bars, sans added sugars.
It’s important to stay hydrated while traveling, so plan to bring plenty of water or a refillable bottle. 100% coconut water is another great hydrating beverage, as it’s full of electrolytes, making it a good substitute for sports drinks. Bottled smoothies and single-serve almond milk drinks are another way to get nutrients in.
With any bottled drinks, however, read the label to be sure that what you’re getting is natural and not packed with artificial sugars! If you’re looking to satisfy the urge to drink a bubbly soda, go for an unsweetened seltzer water like LaCroix instead.
Ready to Go? Here’s How to Pack
When you’re loading up the car, you want your snacks to be compact and accessible. Invest in a small cooler for items that need to be refrigerated and store the rest of your snacks in a clear plastic tote--this way you can always see where all your snacks are and don’t have to go digging for the dark chocolate!
One last tip: Don’t forget to pack implements like paper towels, baby wipes, and plastic garbage bags! Your want your car to feel as fresh and clean as you do!
- Emily Polson