Who doesn’t love good travel snacks? While fuel stops can provide you with a convenient, on-the-go snack, you’ll want to be careful with what you choose to eat while on the road.
As tempting as it may be to grab that Snickers bar when you stop to fill up on fuel for your road trip, you may regret that decision. Not only does a Snickers bar have absolutely no nutritional value to help your body get what it needs, it will actually put harmful chemicals in your body such as high fructose corn syrup.
By packing good, healthy snacks for your road trip, you’ll find that you won’t be tempted to grab that Snickers bar because you know something better is waiting for you in your RV.
If you eat healthy snacks and limit the unhealthy ones you should be more alert while driving. You might also feel good and have more energy to set up camp once you arrive at your destination.
What makes a good snack for a road trip?
Have you ever been on a road trip where you picked up a sweet treat at a fuel stop only to feel hungry again twenty minutes later? That’s because there is a significant difference between healthy snacks that will stave your hunger for a long time and not-so-healthy snacks that will make you feel hungrier in the long run.
So, what makes the healthiest, best road trip snacks?
Balance and measure
One thing you might want to try to do is to choose food that balances your blood sugar. If you eat fresh fruit like an apple pair it with protein. Have a handful of nuts, a smear of peanut butter, meat slices, or cheese.
Just be careful to watch your protein serving size, as nuts, cheese, and meats can pack a lot of calories. It is a good idea to measure out your snacks before driving. Otherwise, you might open a large bag of trail mix and mindlessly eat as you go which can result in an unhealthy calorie intake.
Taste the rainbow
Another suggested way to eat healthy on the road is to pack a rainbow of snacks. It is as simple as having natural foods that are different colors. For example, you can pack orange carrots, red apples, yellow bell peppers, green broccoli, and tan hummus.
Some people say the brighter your natural food color, the healthier it is (usually). Many white or brown foods indicate that they have been processed such as crackers. Limit those foods and avoid foods made bright from food dye.
When looking for a healthy snack, you also want to consider what contains healthy fats. Our bodies need fat but we want to have more healthy ones that come from natural foods. For example, consider making a sandwich with avocado instead of mayonnaise.
If you crave salty or sweet travel snacks while on the road, then treat yourself! Just limit road trip food that makes you feel groggy while driving your rig.
Favorite road trip snacks
The following are ideas for healthy road trip snacks that can be modified for you and your family.
Here, then, are my top picks for healthy road trip snacks.
1. Good ol’ fresh fruit
Many people like to munch on road trips, which is why chips and jerky and other stereotypical road trip snacks are popular. But, fresh fruit is an excellent alternative munchy! Living off chips leaves you feeling groggy and hungry.
It’s a good idea to pair fruit with some protein to help prevent your blood sugar from spiking which can cause tiredness and hunger once the fruit’s sugar wears off. Consider pairing all your fresh fruit snacks with protein like a handful of nuts, a hard-boiled egg, or string cheese.
Grapes are a great, healthy snack for those with a sweet tooth and those who like to munch to pass the time! Apple slices with peanut butter are also a great way to satisfy that need for a crunchy snack.
2. Protein bars
Protein bars can stick with you to keep hunger at bay until you arrive at your destination. Be careful, though with your choice of protein bars. There are countless protein bars out there that are full of nothing but sugar and crazy additives and preservatives that you’ve never heard of.
Instead, look for a protein bar with natural ingredients that will give you the nutrients your body needs and wants without the sugar crash. Be sure to read the nutrients table.
Or consider a meat-bar. Yes. That’s a thing. There’s Bison Bacon Cranberry Bar, Chicken Sriracha Strips, and Oven Baked Pork Rinds.
3. Meat, cheese, and crackers
Meat, cheese, and crackers are a favorite snack. Not only does this delicious combination taste great but it packs a big punch of protein to help tie you over during a long drive.
Though they are more expensive than making your own, you can buy premade packs from the grocery store that are quite yummy.
Consider bringing summer sausage, salami, pepperoni, or your favorite lunch meat. You can also include whatever type of cheese you love. Some folks like to buy blocks of Pepper Jack or Swiss and cut them into bite-size cubes. Cheese Snack Sticks and Babybel cheeses are two easy on-the-go kinds of cheese you can take. They both come with self-contained packages which help keep them fresh until you are ready to nosh.
4. String cheese
You’re never too old to eat string cheese especially when you know the nutritional benefits it provides. Pair your string cheese with apple slices and you’ll have a snack that perfectly covers healthy fat, good protein, and complex carbs. With this trio of nutrients, you won’t be hungry again for a while and you’ll also feel your energy levels increase.
5. Hard-boiled eggs
I have to admit that hard-boiled eggs are not my favorite but they do make a great snack. They are a great source of protein and come with their nature packaging. These little eggs are not only easy to prepare, they are easy to store and easy to eat on the road. You can add a little salt or paprika to spice it up a bit. Just remember, easy on the salt!
For some extra crunch and the perks of some quality complex carbs, add some whole wheat crackers to your egg snack for the perfect pick-me-up.
6. Sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds pack a lot of excellent nutrients. You can choose the unshelled roasted seeds for an easy-to-eat snack. These are easy to pick up at a convenience or grocery store.
Some people love opening the seeds themselves. It helps pass the time and can also help you eat less. Shelling them can help you feel fuller since it will take longer to eat your snack.
Just be sure to check the serving size since nuts and seeds can have a lot of calories. Plus, opt for salt-free sunflower seeds.
7. Granola bars
Granola and energy bars are convenient road snacks. Bars come in different flavors and can be healthy food but they are not all created equal. Some bars are packed with nutrients while others are just empty calories like a candy bar. You can also find bars with less sugar that will also be likely to have fewer calories.
8. Trail mix
Trail mix is one of the easiest healthy snacks for a road trip and it will fill you up for hours. One serving of a nuts and seeds trail mix has 336 calories, 25 grams of fat (only 6 grams of saturated fat), 4 grams of fiber, 11 grams of protein, and no cholesterol. Plus, this is one of the best road trip snacks for kids.
Trail mix is a great way to get healthy protein and fats into your road trip day. Trail mix takes a while for your body to process making you feel full and energized for a long drive. You want to watch your serving size and choose trail mix that limits candy in the mix.
Consider taking along baby carrots or celery sticks as a healthy snack while driving on travel days. This is an easy way to get your veggies in a while on the road. If you are not a huge vegetable fan, consider bringing a small tub of dip for the veggies.
Hummus is another healthy snack that can be paired with vegetables. You can even buy a lower-fat ranch or make your own using plain Greek yogurt and Ranch seasoning to keep it as healthy as possible. Or, if Ranch is your go-to vegetable dip, bring some along.
10. Beef jerky
This road trip snack is packed full of protein which is one of the best ways to satisfy your hunger. However, don’t opt for jerky from the gas station that comes loaded with preservatives and whose sodium levels are off the charts. Instead, pick up an organic, grass-fed one from your local natural foods store.
Popcorn is a great source of fiber and complex carbs that will help your body stay regular and provide you with energy while on the road. Make sure you’re not getting the microwave popcorn that is filled with chemicals. Instead, grab one from the natural foods store that has ingredients of just corn, salt, and oil. Even better yet, pop some on the stove at home using olive oil or butter and just salt. That way, you know exactly what you’re getting.
The protein from these nuts is plant-based and they’re also packed full of unsaturated fats and fiber. Not to mention, they’re much lower in terms of calories than other nuts. Pistachios weigh in at just 4 calories per nut while Brazil nuts are 33 calories each.
Pistachios aren’t the only great nuts on the block—walnuts are great for their own reasons. They have the highest amount of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids when compared with all other nuts which will help you feel full for a longer amount of time.
Though carrots do have fiber in them and other great nutritional value, one of the reasons I suggest this as a road trip snack is because oftentimes when on the road, you find yourself wanting to eat simply because you’re bored. So, rather than fill that boredom with unhealthy snacks, munch on some carrots that will take you a while to eat and will keep you busy without making a mess.
Similar to carrots, grapes are a great option for when you’re bored and want to eat something on the road. Healthy, clean, and easy to eat, grapes will help stave off the boredom. Just don’t go overboard with the grapes—they do have a lot of sugar in them.
16. Hummus and celery
Hummus is another great protein-packed snack that will help keep your belly full and happy. In addition, hummus is full of B vitamins. And celery is the perfect dipping stick. Low in calories, but high in water content, your body will love this hummus-celery combo.
17. Greek yogurt
It’s protein all the way with Greek yogurt. This little snack is full of it and will help keep you full until your next meal. Top your Greek yogurt with some nuts or fruit for some added fiber and energy.
18. PB sandwich (skip the J)
Though I love jelly, it usually doesn’t offer up anything but loads of added sugar. Instead, grab for quality peanut butter (be sure to check your ingredients and say no to peanut butter with sugar added to it for a healthy dose of protein and fat.
Slather that peanut butter on some whole wheat bread and you’ve covered your complex carbs, your protein, and your fat. If you’re feeling extra hungry, grab a banana, slice it up, and throw it in between the bread and have yourself a PB&B.
19. Dried fruits
Before you buy any dried fruits, be sure you check the label. You do not want to get any that have added sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Find the ones that simply have ingredients listed as just the fruit and nothing else. Better yet, make your own.
20. Dark chocolate
Yes, you read that right: dark chocolate. While I don’t recommend chowing down an entire bar in one sitting (and you probably wouldn’t want to with the really dark stuff), there are some benefits from eating a bit of dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is known to lower the risk of heart disease while also increasing brain function. As if we weren’t on board already!
The most important thing is to snack on things that are filled with real food and nourishing ingredients that will leave you feeling energised and happy.