- 30 Healthy Snacks for Your Next Epic Road Trip
- Don’t let the fun of a road trip get in the way of your healthy eating goals. There are lots of delicious ways to stay healthy on the road. Try one of our favorite healthy snacks for your next road trip.
- Bring These 30 Healthy Snacks On Your Next Road Trip
- 1. Beef jerky
- 2. Popcorn
- 3. Hard-boiled eggs
- 4. Protein bars
- 5. String cheese
- 6. Carrots
- 7. Grapes
- 8. Hummus and celery
- 9. Greek yogurt
- 10. PB sandwich (skip the J)
- 11. Pistachios
- 12. Walnuts
- 13. Baked chickpeas
- 14. Ham and cream cheese wheels
- 15. Trail mix
- 16. Almond butter and strawberries
- 17. No-bake protein balls
- 18. Dried fruits
- 19. Tuna and crackers
- 20. Guacamole with sliced bell peppers
- 21. Sunflower seeds
- 22. Peanut butter pretzels
- 23. Pita pocket sandwiches
- 24. Coconut chips
- 25. Dark chocolate
- 26. Homemade vegetable chips
- 27. Fruit with vanilla-honey yogurt dip
- 28. Cereal
- 29. Applesauce cups
- 30. Bubbly water
- 1. RSP Whole Bar
- 2. Artisana Organics Non-GMO Raw Almond Butter
- 3. Siete Family Foods Grain-Free Tortilla
- 4. Gourmet Nut Power Up Protein Packed Trail Mix
- 5. Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP Popcorn
- 6. Epic Provisions All-Natural Meat Bar
- 7. LesserEvil Organic Popcorn
- 8. Iconic Protein Drink
- 9. Wild Friends Collagen Nut Butter
- 10. Joolies Organic Medjool Dates
- 11. Medlie Organic Kale Avocado Veggie Drink
- 12. Perfect Bar
- 13. Turkey Perky Jerky
- 14. Emerald Jalapeño Cashews
- 15. Puffworks Organic Peanut Butter Puffs
- 16. Health-Ade Pomegranate Kombucha
- 17. Hippeas Organic Chickpea Puffs
- 18. Bare Baked Fruit and Veggie Chips
- 19. Country Archer Beef Stick
- 20. The Good Bean Organic Chickpeas
- 21. Justin’s Classic Nut Butter Squeeze Pack
- 22. EOS Classic Hummus All-Natural Chickpeas Tahini Dip
- 23. Sneakz Organic Veggie Nutrition Milkshake
- 24. Sahale Snacks Classic Fruit and Nut Trail Mix
- 25. Sprout Organic Quinoa Puffs
- 26. Kind Bar Minis
- 27. Zollipops
- Healthy Road Trip Food to Fuel Your Next Adventure
- Before Your Trip
- During Your Trip
- 1. Keep the cooler and snack bag in easy access.
- 2. Speaking of snacks, fresh fruit and nuts are your friend.
- 3. Bad weather? Peanut butter, avocados, and crackers can save breakfast.
- 4. Stop whenever and wherever you can fill up on water.
- 5. Shove extra napkins in the glove box.
- 6. Insulated growlers are a must.
- 7. Food prep is the key to success.
- Watch: The 11 Must-Visit National Road Trip Stops Along I-70
- 20 Avoid – Pre-Made Truck Stop Cold Sandwiches
- 19 Good Idea – Whole Wheat Bread With Freshly Cut Turkey
- 18 Avoid – Beef Jerky
- 17 Good Idea – Low-Cal Rice Cakes
- 16 Avoid – Beans
- 15 Good Idea – Almonds & Cashews
- 14 Avoid – Highly Carbonated Energy Drinks
- 13 Good Idea – Zero-Cal Energy Drink
- 12 Avoid – Sour Patch Kids
- 11 Good Idea – Fruits & Vegetables
- 10 Avoid – Anything Spicy
- 9 Good Idea – Water
- 8 Avoid – Cooked Meat
- 7 Good Idea – Sweet Potato
- 6 Avoid – Overly Salted Chips
- 5 Good Idea – Crackers
- 4 Avoid – High-Cal Protein Bar
- 3 Good Idea – Peanut Butter
- 2 Avoid – Fast Food
- 1 Good Idea – Low-Cal Protein Shake
- Real Meals on the Road: 23 Healthy Road Trip Meals and Snacks
- Benefits of Packing Your Own Road Trip Food
- Healthy and Easy Road Trip Meals for The Entire Family
- Creative and Healthy Kid Snacks On The Go
- Healthy Road Trip Snacks to Hold You Over
- Road Trip Food That Requires a Cooler
- How to Pack an Ice Cooler
- Tip 1 – Use Ice Packs and Ice Cubes to Fill Crevices
- Tip 2 – Keep You Cooler Shaded, Closed and Do Not Drain Melted Ice
- Tip 3 – Prechill Your Cooler and Freeze Food/Drinks That Will Be Used Later
- Tip 4 – Avoid Plastic Bags and Use Airtight Containers for Freshness
- Tip 5 – Keep Warm Items and Beer out of the Cooler to Save Space
- Road Trip Food
- Food Ideas For Road Trip Power Snacking
- Getting it Together
- The Night Before
- The Cooler – Road Trip Food
- The Snack Box – Road Trip Food List
- Non-Food Items – Road Trip Food
- More Tips For Your Road Trip
- The Best Road-Trip Snacks with Printable List
- Best Road Trip Food List Ideas
- Healthy road trip foods:
30 Healthy Snacks for Your Next Epic Road Trip
Don’t let the fun of a road trip get in the way of your healthy eating goals. There are lots of delicious ways to stay healthy on the road. Try one of our favorite healthy snacks for your next road trip.
Is it just us, or does it seem like normal eating “rules” go out the window when you’re on a road trip?
All of a sudden, it becomes acceptable to eat ice cream for dinner, and snack on Skittles before breakfast.
The options that are provided at gas stations, convenience stores, and fast food chains along the way leave us feeling like it’s okay to eat unhealthy while on the road, because what other options are there?
If you’re lucky, you’ll find a stray banana or two to grab along with your bag of potato chips so you feel a little less guilty, but you’re only really fooling yourself. Mostly, you’re left to choose from a slew of brightly colored candies and treats that will leave your body feeling completely zapped of any nutrients.
And this couldn’t come at a worse time. Your body is already running on low energy since all you’ve been doing is sitting in the same spot for hours, maybe even days.
Throw some sugary food on top, and you will be missing out on a whole lot of road trip adventures.
So how do you keep this from happening? How do you keep from spiraling down the dark rabbit hole of unhealthy road food?
We are here to help you find some healthy snacks to eat while on the road that will keep you feeling full, nourished, and able to enjoy the beautiful road that lies ahead.
Bring These 30 Healthy Snacks On Your Next Road Trip
As tempting as it may be to grab that Snickers bar when you stop to fill up on gas for your road trip, you will definitely 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 making sure that you pack 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 car.
Here are our top picks for healthy road trip snacks.
1. 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.
3. Hard-boiled eggs
These little eggs are not only easy to prepare, they are easy to store, and easy to eat on the road. They’re fairly mess-free, and are packed full of protein that your body will need while on the road.
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.
4. Protein bars
Be wise 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 full of natural ingredients that will give you the nutrients your body needs and wants, without the sugar crash.
5. 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.
Though carrots do have fiber in them and other great nutritional value, one of the reasons we 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.
8. 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.
9. Greek yogurt
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.
10. PB sandwich (skip the J)
Though we 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.
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.
13. Baked chickpeas
These snacks are easy to make at home, and will give you great fiber without having to stuff yourself full of a bag of chips.
Simply drain and dry your chickpeas, then toss them with olive oil. Season with salt and other spices of your choosing and bake for 30-40 minutes at 450F.
14. Ham and cream cheese wheels
Ham is a great source of protein, and the cream cheese offers up some healthy fat. The two combined will help keep you full, and keep additional cravings from kicking in.
Ham and cream cheese wheels are also great because they’re easy to make ahead of time. Simply lay out a piece of ham, spoon some cream cheese into the middle, roll the ham up into a tube, and slice it into small pieces to eat.
15. Trail mix
Though there are plenty of options for trail mix at the store, we always prefer to make our own.
And this recipe is almost too simple not to make: ½ cup whole-grain cereal, 2 T pecans, 1 T unsweetened shredded coconut, 1 T dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs.
16. Almond butter and strawberries
We don’t know about you, but we are fine just eating almond butter by the spoonful.
However, the idea of dunking a strawberry in the almond butter sounds even better.
This protein-filled snack will also satisfy your sweet tooth.
17. No-bake protein balls
You can get really creative with the options for your no-bake protein balls, but here is an example to get you started:
Combine rolled oats, nut butter, dried fruit, chopped nuts, shredded coconut, protein powder, and chocolate chips. Roll into small balls and put in the cooler.
18. 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.
19. Tuna and crackers
Tuna is a great way to get a healthy dose of omega-3s, and the crackers are a great way to round out the snack with some complex carbs.
20. Guacamole with sliced bell peppers
Though we do love ourselves some chips and guac, we know that chips aren’t the healthiest snack.
Guacamole (especially if you make it at home) can be quite nutritious and full of good, healthy fats from the avocado.
By eating it with bell peppers instead of chips, you’re getting additional nutrients that chips just can’t offer.
21. Sunflower seeds
You really can’t go wrong with any type of nuts or seeds while on the road, but sunflower seeds are particularly great because they are full of healthy fats and well as magnesium, which helps support your heart health.
22. Peanut butter pretzels
Not only is this snack a great way to satisfy your desire for crunch (yes, that really is a thing), it will also provide you with protein and fat to help fill your stomach until the next meal.
Make sure you opt for natural versions that are not loaded with extra sugar, and try to stick to the serving size so you don’t end up eating the whole bag.
23. Pita pocket sandwiches
This can be a great snack or a small lunch, and is super easy to put together.
All you’ve got to do is stuff your pita pocket with mozzarella, tomato, basil, turkey, cheese, hummus, cucumber, and/or tuna salad.
Simply store in a cooler until you’re ready to eat.
24. Coconut chips
When you’re craving something sweet, grab for some coconut chips. These are simply slices of coconut that have been baked in oil until they become crunchy.
You can stick with plain, or go with other flavors from a variety of brands that step of the flavor.
25. Dark chocolate
Yes, you read that right: dark chocolate.
While we 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!
26. Homemade vegetable chips
Rather than potato chips, make your own veggie chips at home that are guilt-free.
Kale is among the most popular types of vegetable chips to make at home, and they are quite easy to put together.
Simply rip the washed kale into pieces, toss the leaves with olive oil, spread onto a baking sheet, bake for 12-15 minutes at 375 F, and let cool.
27. Fruit with vanilla-honey yogurt dip
Grab any kind of fruit you like — apples, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and dip them in some vanilla-honey yogurt.
You’ll get your fill of protein and fiber, with a healthy dose of sugar.
Now don’t think you can just get any cereal and it will be healthy.
Unfortunately, most cereals out there today are full of sugar and tons of other junk your body doesn’t want or need.
So, when choosing a cereal to bring as your road trip snack, make sure you choose one that is high in fiber and low in sugar.
29. Applesauce cups
This snack is perfect for kids. Just the right amount of applesauce to satisfy their sweet tooth without jacking them up on tons of sugar.
The ones that come in little cups are much easier to deal with than a giant messy jar.
30. Bubbly water
Many time, when we think we are hungry, we are actually just thirsty.
If you don’t feel like grabbing for some “boring” regular water, instead try some carbonated water that makes your drink feel a bit more exciting, and more like a treat.
You can opt for some flavored ones as well, just be sure they don’t have a bunch of added sugar.
See — snacking healthy while on the road doesn’t have to be boring.
In fact, the healthier you snack, the more you’ll be able to enjoy your trip. When you’re giving your body the nutrients it wants and needs, it will give you the energy and happiness you want and need in order to enjoy your trip to its fullest.
With a bit of planning ahead, and practicing some self-restraint when going into the gas stations along the way, you will be on the way to a healthy road trip that’s guaranteed to be a blast.
Ready to hit the open road? KOA has you covered along the way to your destination. Check out our trip planner tool to find KOA Campgrounds along your route!
Plan Your Trip
Leslie, a.k.a. Copy Girl, is a copywriter who gets butterflies from telling stories through words.
Her voice comes from a place filled with passion, dreams, and lots of sugar. “Cake over steak” is her go-to motto.
With over 10 years of experience in crafting words, and years of embarking on travels that have taken this Montana girl to some incredible places, Leslie love the adventures of both body and mind her writing takes her on.
Everywhere she goes, she takes this advice with her:
“Hold on to your divine blush, your innate rosy magic, or end up brown.” – Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume
To see what Leslie’s up to in the writing world, visit her website here.
You spend a good amount of time and care ensuring you and your family are living a healthy lifestyle on the regular, so why should everything go out the car door when traveling?
From protein-packed butters and dips to fiber-chocked shakes and bars to flavor-bursting popcorns and chip alternatives (you won’t be able to tell the difference!), we had dietitians round up some of their favorite packaged snacks for staying satiated and without compromising your fitness goals on road trips, long flights and beyond.
1. RSP Whole Bar
Why it’s great: As far as Monica Auslander Moreno, MS, RD, LD/N, founder of Essence Nutrition, is concerned, a breakfast bar should have at least as much protein as an egg in order to be minimally filling, along with enough fiber and fat for the brain to recognize it’s full. “RSP’s Whole Bar provides 10 grams of protein (3 more than an egg!), 10 grams of fiber and 7 grams of fat (the same amount as an egg) for optimal satiety and is made from the gold standard of muscle building fuel — grass-fed whey — as well as almonds and cocoa butter for a nutty finish. In addition, it only contains 2 grams of sugar (some bars can have up to 20!), and not from those pesky, stomach-upsetting sugar alcohols that can be found in so many bars,” Moreno explained. She also recommends crumbling the bar over some yogurt as an alternative to sugar-laden granola.
2. Artisana Organics Non-GMO Raw Almond Butter
Why it’s great: Moreno likes traveling with this “virtually smush-proof, TSA-friendly almond butter pouch” when bringing a full jar just isn’t an option. “It doesn’t have any added oils or salts like many other nut butters on the market, and one pouch provides 7 grams of protein, healthy fats, and a nice dose of vitamin E,” she said. “Squeeze and smear it onto a banana or apple, or just straight into your mouth on a plane — nobody will judge.”
3. Siete Family Foods Grain-Free Tortilla
Why it’s great: If you’re trying to avoid white flour, Moreno suggests you BYOT (as in, bring your own tortilla). “Siete’s almond flour and cassava wraps are grain-free, gluten-free, and have 3 grams of fiber per portion. If you stash them in your bag, you can order any salad on the go and stuff it into one of the satisfying tortillas — a far healthier option than most things you’d find in transit and the flavor is just divine,” she said.
4. Gourmet Nut Power Up Protein Packed Trail Mix
Why it’s great: “Almonds, cashews and pumpkin seeds provide a protein-packed snack that is complemented with dried cherries and raisins,” said Gabby Geerts, RD at Green Chef. “It’s also easy to pack, and you only need a few handfuls to curb your hunger.” She suggests mixing things up with other varieties, such as the Antioxidant and Mega Omega blends.
5. Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP Popcorn
Why it’s great: Geerts loves popcorn because it satisfies salt cravings in a low-calorie, high-fiber solution. “This one in particular is gluten-free and doesn’t have any added sugar so everyone can indulge! It’s also great in the heat or the cold, as popcorn isn’t altered by varying car temperatures,” she pointed out.
6. Epic Provisions All-Natural Meat Bar
Why it’s great: With 11 grams of protein, Geerts noted Epic cured meat bars will keep you satiated for longer than a carbohydrate-rich snack. “No refrigeration is required so these can be packed in the car and be ready for any adventures you encounter along the way,” she added.
7. LesserEvil Organic Popcorn
Why it’s great: When those sweet and salty cravings kick in, Mascha Davis, MPH, RDN of Nomadista Nutrition, reaches for a bag of LesserEvil. “Whether you dive into the family-size bag of popcorn or munch on a single-serving bag for yourself (hello, portion control!), you won’t feel the guilt of countless empty calories – just the benefits of healthy fats and a boost of fiber,” she explained. She also said her favorite flavor right now is the Himalayan Pink Salt.
8. Iconic Protein Drink
Why it’s great: When we lose sweat, we’re not just losing water, but also electrolytes, namely sodium, Molly Kimball, RD, pointed out. “For this reason, I love ready-to-drink protein drinks like this one from Iconic, which is rich in electrolytes: 220 mg of sodium, 380 mg of potassium (as much a banana) and 250 mg of calcium (not found in most sports drinks),” she explained.
9. Wild Friends Collagen Nut Butter
Why it’s great: “One serving of nut butter is an excellent source of healthy fat which is essential for building every cellular wall in the body, is the building block for hormones and helps to satiate you in a meal,” said Jennifer Zerling, MS, CES, CPT. She suggests pairing the butter with a whole fruit, such as an apple. “An apple has thousands of micronutrients that we know of and has a great fiber profile to contribute to one’s daily fiber intake.”
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10. Joolies Organic Medjool Dates
Why it’s great: Dates are an excellent source of antioxidants and fiber, said Zerling. “These dates are grown in the U.S. which guarantees freshness and that they are organically grown,” who suggested wrapping two to three up in a coconut wrap with 1 tablespoon of Wild Friends Nut Butter to create the perfect mini travel sandwich.
11. Medlie Organic Kale Avocado Veggie Drink
Why it’s great: Ensure you still get your daily dose of veggies, without having to worry about prepping and chopping while in transit, thanks to this veggie smoothie from Medlie. “It contains organic vegetables, along with a great balance of carbs, fats and proteins all in one drink — perfect for staying satiated in between meals. It also contains less sugar (I suggest trying to stay below 15 grams), and the avocado helps stave off the high insulin spike,” explained Zerling. She likes to pair it with a can of wild tuna or salmon for an extra boost of essential fatty acids (and more fulfillment).
12. Perfect Bar
Why it’s great: If you’re a bar lover, Zerling suggested this option to get your fill without falling for the sugar trap. “Many of the options out there are just glorified candy bars. This one is low in sodium, contains all organic ingredients, and is a perfect balance of fats to protein to carbs. It is considered a low glycemic food which is what keeps the blood sugars in check throughout the day,” Zerling explained. She also noted you should always avoid hydrogenated ingredients in bars and anything else you consume “because it can raise LDL cholesterol and compromise your HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol.”
13. Turkey Perky Jerky
Why it’s great: This jerky has become a staple for Kevin Curry, creator of Fit Men Cook, when he doesn’t have time to whip anything up before hitting the road. “Jerky can be low in sugar and relatively high in protein, and chewing on jerky is a great way to stave off hunger in between stops. I love this brand in particular because it’s gluten-free and relatively low in sodium compared to other jerkies,” he said.
14. Emerald Jalapeño Cashews
Why it’s great: In addition to jerky, Curry typically travels with flavored nuts — ideally salty or spicy — in tow. “Since nuts are more calorie dense, they keep hunger pangs at bay, while the spiciness helps curb sweet cravings,” he said. “I also recommend opting for the 100-calorie packs, and avoiding sweet flavors, to prevent mindless munching and sugar overload.”
15. Puffworks Organic Peanut Butter Puffs
Why it’s great: “The ingredients in these puffs are simple (there are only 4, including salt) and the major ingredient is peanut butter so you get a boost of satiating protein and fat in addition to the rich peanut flavor,” said Willow Jarosh, RD, co-author of the Healthy, Happy Pregnancy Cookbook and founder of Willow Jarosh Nutrition. “It’s like eating a puffy and crunchy version of peanut butter with low mess potential — if they spill, they’re easy to pick up!”
16. Health-Ade Pomegranate Kombucha
Why it’s great: Jarosh recommended Health-Ade’s Kombucha as a healthier alternative to the standard soda. “The fizzy drink is flavored with organic pomegranate juice and contains much less sugar (7 grams of sugar per 8 ounces versus 27 grams of sugar per 8 ounces in the average soda), while providing lots of flavor and satisfying bubbles,” she explained, noting the antioxidant boost that comes with the pure pomegranate juice. “Because it is fermented, the kombucha also contains bacteria that may hold gut health benefits, although the clinical data on fermented foods in general is still slim.”
17. Hippeas Organic Chickpea Puffs
Why it’s great: This bean-based snack from Hippeas is another one of Jarosh’s go-tos for a boost of energy that lasts. “Chickpeas naturally contain protein and fiber, one of the most satiating combinations. These snacks are dairy and gluten-free, so if anyone in the car has allergies to these nutrients, they can still partake,” she said.
18. Bare Baked Fruit and Veggie Chips
Why it’s great: Satisfy your chip craving, while cashing in on additional health benefits, thanks to Bare’s fruit and veggie chip offerings. “These Cinnamon Banana Chips pack tons of flavor with no added sugar, while these Baked Crunchy Veggie Chips provide fiber, vitamins and minerals,” says Jarosh. Tara Coleman, a clinical nutritionist based in San Diego, is also a huge fan of the brand’s new fruit chip medleys, which come in convenient resealable bags.
19. Country Archer Beef Stick
Why it’s great: Coleman likes to recommend this beef stick from Country Archer for its high protein content and clean ingredients. “Each stick packs 9 grams of protein, is made with 100 percent grass-fed beef, and is free of sugar, MSGs and nitrates. They are also certified paleo, keto and gluten-free!,” she explained.
20. The Good Bean Organic Chickpeas
Why it’s great: According to Coleman, this snack from The Good Bean boasts as much protein as almonds and as much fiber as 2 cups of broccoli. “It’s gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free and vegan, making it a great option for air travel or school trips where food allergies can be a concern,” she said. “But don’t worry — with the crunchy texture and savory flavor, you would hardly know they are healthy!”
21. Justin’s Classic Nut Butter Squeeze Pack
Why it’s great: “I love these individual-sized packets because they are convenient and made with simple, natural ingredients. In addition, Justin’s Nut Butter is sustainably sourced, so you know the company cares about both you and the environment,” said Coleman, who recommends combining the nut butter with a fresh piece of fruit “for a healthy and balanced snack.”
22. EOS Classic Hummus All-Natural Chickpeas Tahini Dip
Why it’s great: At only 55 calories per pack, Coleman recommended this dip from EOS as a great low-calorie option. “Still they managed to squeeze in 4 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber so you are getting a lot of nutritional bang for your buck,” she explained. Fresh veggies (such as peppers, celery or carrots) prove the perfect travel companion.
23. Sneakz Organic Veggie Nutrition Milkshake
Why it’s great: Emily Marr, MS, RDN, loves this organic milkshake from Sneakz as a healthier swap for traditional chocolate or strawberry milk. “It has similar nutrient and sugar content to regular milk, but is packed with plant-based proteins derived from a blend of whole vegetables combined with organic sugar cane, which is healthier because it also provides a half serving of daily vegetables per serving. Sneakz also packs in higher levels of zinc, selenium, iodine, magnesium, and vitamins A, B1, B6, B12, making it a delicious, organic, nutrient dense ‘superfood’ milk that both mommas and kids will love,” she explained.
24. Sahale Snacks Classic Fruit and Nut Trail Mix
Why it’s great: According to Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN, known as The Plant-Powered Dietitian, this trail mix from Sahale provides the perfect balance of protein, fiber and healthy fats. “It’s based on whole plant foods with minimal sugar and additives. Plus, the individual packets mean you don’t have to worry about portioning anything out or keeping track of servings and they’re pretty durable,” she said.
25. Sprout Organic Quinoa Puffs
Why it’s great: These puffs are based on whole veggies and grains, yet are easy and lightweight to pack, said Palmer. “You get 4 grams of whole grains — the first ingredient is whole grain — they are gluten-free, organic, made with whole fruit and made without added sugars or preservatives. Plus, they provide 10% of the recommended daily value for calcium, making them a healthful snack and perfect for kids!,” she explained.
26. Kind Bar Minis
Why it’s great: These mini bars from Kind contain nutritious ingredients, while keeping calories at a minimum, said Palmer. “The peanut butter dark chocolate minis provide 4 grams of protein, 8 grams of carbs, and have only 100 calories, the first ingredient being nuts. Some other bars have sugar as the first ingredient and can pack upwards of 300 calories, which is more than many people need for a snack,” she explained, recommending the “rugged, non-perishable” bars for when you have a pang of hunger or miss a meal.
Why it’s great: This healthier lollipop alternative is a must for Mary Catherine Neumaier, RD at the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan when going away with her family. “They are sugar-free, made with natural coloring and flavoring, and full of antioxidants — just what the dietitian orders when you want a sweet treat!,” she exclaimed. Zolli also offers a Zaffi Taffy for anyone with a penchant for chewier snacks.
For more snack recommendations, check out:
- 8 hottest and healthiest sweets and snacks
- The 17 best keto snacks to buy on Amazon or Walmart
- 8 healthy snacks kids and parents will both love
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Healthy Road Trip Food to Fuel Your Next Adventure
When you’re stuck in a car for five hours straight, you might start downing iced coffees and pretzel crisps to keep yourself from zonking out behind the wheel. But it’s time to change how you eat and drink your way through road trips. To stay on track with your healthy eating while driving across the country, preparation is key. So before you pack up the car and strap yourself in, head to the grocery store and fill a few grocery totes with these healthy road trip foods.
Before Your Trip
1. Go online to scope out restaurants, rest stops, and grocery stores along your route to get an idea of what your road trip food options are. You could even add farms and farmers’ markets to the list for some local, often inexpensive flavor. (You’ll definitely want to stop at these farm-fresh markets.)
2. If you’re going to be in the car for long stretches, pack an insulated lunch bag or cooler with cold packs to keep food temperatures in the safe zone. If your trip lasts multiple days, you can purchase ice at gas stations as you go and store it in ziplock bags.
3. Do a grocery run to stock up on healthy go-to options for road trip food. Cover your food group bases: Protein, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and complex carbs. Knowing you have options will lessen the stress of trying to find a balanced meal or snack en route, and you’ll easily be able to cobble something together from your purchases or doctor up something you grab on the go.
During Your Trip
Everyone needs a solid grocery list to turn to in times of need. Here are a few road trip food suggestions worth filling up on.
- String cheese or other individually wrapped cheese
- Greek yogurt (plain is best)
- Cottage cheese
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Dry-roasted edamame or chickpeas
- Nuts and seeds
- Nut and seed butter (Related: Everything You Need and Want to Know About Nut Butter)
- A minimally processed bar made from nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, like KIND bar
- Low-sodium cold cuts
- Jerky (try beef, turkey, chicken, or fish)
- Pouches of tuna that can be eaten as is or used to dress up salads or bread
- Hummus: Look for single-serving cups or packs
- Protein powder. Bring in a ziplock or purchase single-serve packets and add to plain oatmeal or shake with water. (Related: The Best Protein Powders for Women, According to Nutritionists)
(You can even prep full-fledged meals that include these high-protein foods ahead of time.)
- Fresh fruit: If you’re squeamish about fruit touching other stuff in your bag, choose something with a peel or keep washed fruit in its own resealable bag or container.
- Dried or freeze-dried fruit. Portion this road trip food into single-serving bags to avoid overeating.
- Fruit-and-seed bars like KIND Pressed bars: These gluten-free bars are made of just fruit, vegetables, and chia seeds. Though there’s no true substitute for fresh fruit, these bars are a convenient way to help fill the void, as each provides two servings of fruit.
- Sliced fresh veggies: Bring your own or find at grocery and convenience stores. Many come with creamy dip, but skip that in favor of hummus, salsa, or a single-serve packet of guacamole. (Make your hummus a lil’ fancy with these recipes.)
- Freeze-dried veggies: This road trip food provides a satisfying crunch along with filling fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Just scope out labels to help you choose products with simple ingredients. Ideally, you just want the veggies and maybe a little oil or sea salt.
- Vegetable juice: Fresh is best, but bottled (like low-sodium V8 juice) works in a pinch.
- Vegetable juice powder: Just shake up in a water bottle.
- Salad: This is a no-brainer way to work more veggies into your meals. Include protein and limit the high-calorie add-ons, like cheese, avocado, nuts, and dried fruit.
- Soup: Broth-based soups with veggies are a great road trip food if you’re in the passenger seat. Just steer clear of cream-based soups—butternut squash bisque, for example, might sound healthy, but it’s often made with heavy cream (and even sugar!), which can negate the benefits.
- Avocado: Slice this road trip food in half with a knife and eat the flesh out of the skin with a spoon. To keep calories in check, split with a travel companion and enjoy a 125-calorie snack that’s packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, fiber, and potassium. (Don’t forget to wash the skin first.)
- Single-serving packs of olives: They provide satisfying monounsaturated fat for only 50 calories.
- Single-serve packets of chia seeds or ground flaxseed: They’re an easy way to add fiber and texture to yogurt and oatmeal.
- Oats: Packets of unflavored instant oatmeal can be mixed with hot water or stirred into yogurt. (If you’re not going to have access to hot water, prep a batch of overnight oats instead.)
- Popcorn: Aside from being lower in calories than a lot of other snack items, popcorn is a whole grain and provides filling fiber.
- Whole-grain bread: With this staple ingredient, you can make a classic road trip food: a sandwich with cold cuts or nut butter.
- Whole-grain crackers: Look for something with at least 4 grams of fiber. If portion control is tough for you, separate into single-serve bags.
- Baked potato: Don’t overlook the humble baked potato, rich in fiber, vitamin A, and potassium. Plop some broccoli and cheese and you’ve got a quick “in moderation” meal.
Hydration is important, as mild dehydration can be mistaken for hunger and make you feel sluggish. Drink plenty of water and seltzer, but go slow with coffee—too much caffeine can lead to dehydration and make you feel like you have to pee every 10 minutes.
Fast food or gas station treats are the traditional go-tos of the America road warrior’s diet. But just because you need something portable and easy doesn’t mean you have to chuck out all your normal healthy eating habits.
“The word snack is not synonymous with junk food,” says Dena Champion, registered dietician at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. In fact, she often replaces the term with “mini meal” as it suggests more nutritious choices.
So what makes a solid on-the-go mini meal? Foods that mix complex carbohydrates and protein. “The carbohydrates provide an energy source, and the protein helps keep you feeling full and satisfied,” she says.
Save your waistband and silence your grumbling gut for another few hours of drive time with these nutritious, packable snacks.
1. Mozzarella string cheese and apple slices
The best road snacks will include belly-filling protein, as well as a small amount of healthy fat and some complex carbohydrates to keep your hunger down and your energy up, explains Jennifer Koslo, Ph.D., R.D., a sports nutrition expert and owner of Koslo Nutrition Solutions.
This mozzarella-and-apple combo offers you those three must-haves, Koslo says.
2. Beef jerky
“Protein is the most hunger-satisfying nutrient,” Koslo says. And while a lot of convenience store jerky offerings come loaded with preservatives and sodium, natural-food stores or organic groceries tend to stock healthier options with fewer ingredients.
Jerky also won’t boost your blood’s levels of insulin, which signals to your body to store fat, explains Jeff Volek, Ph.D., R.D.
3. Carrot sticks or grapes
A lot of road munching is boredom-induced—more a way to pass the time than a real need to eat. Both of these options allow you to fill your mouth mile after mile without guilt—or utensils, says Stephanie Maxson, M.S., R.D., a clinical dietician at the University of Texas’s MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Bonus: The crunch of biting and chewing the carrot sticks will probably help keep you awake and alert, Maxson adds.
4. Hummus and bell pepper strips
Along with protein, Koslo says hummus is a good source of B vitamins like folate, which has been shown to ward off prostate cancer.
The pepper strips contain lots of soluble fiber to help with your digestion, as well as phytonutrients your body needs—but probably isn’t getting enough of.
Just don’t pick the pre-bagged, microwave-popped kind that’s coated in chemicals. Naked kernels popped on the stove are a good source of digestion-supporting fiber, antioxidants, and complex carbs, which provide energy, Maxson says.
6. Greek yogurt
A protein powerhouse, Greek yogurt will keep you feeling satisfied until your next fill-up, Koslo says. Add nuts or fruit for energy, fiber, and healthy nutrients.
7. Hard-boiled eggs
Easy to carry and eat behind the wheel, hard-boiled eggs are chock full of hunger-quelling protein.
Combine them with the complex carbs and nutrients, like a whole wheat pita, and you’ll feel full and energized for hours.
8. Peanut butter
Companies now offer to-go packs of nut butter, which makes it easy to spread on vegetables or whole wheat toast while traveling. You can even make a classic PB&J sandwich–just make sure to watch the jelly portion. Fruit spreads don’t offer much more than sugar. You’ll want more peanut butter, a healthy source of protein and fat, than jelly, to stay full Koslo says.
9. Sunflower seeds
Most seeds are a good source of healthy fats, Maxson says. And sunflower seeds also contain heart health-supporting nutrients like magnesium.
Full of fiber and complex carbohydrates, oatmeal will keep you satisfied even on long trips. Make a container of overnight oats or oatmeal protein balls made with peanut butter, spices, and dried fruit. You can even buy already-prepared oatmeal bites made with just oats, cinnamon, raisins and dates.
11. Chickpea Snacks
Sometimes you need something that, well, seems like a snack food. Made with chickpea flour, these Chickpea Puffs are perfect for gluten-free dieters and contain 7 grams of protein a single serving.
Low-carb dieters can nosh on a few pickles paired with sliced turkey. The protein will keep you full, and the pickles add a zesty crunch for very few calories or carbs.
13. Made in Nature Organic Energy Balls
Made with cranberries, dates, figs and nut butter, these snacks have a good blend of fat and carbs to keep you energized.
14. Whole Grain Crackers
Whole grain crackers are a road-trip staple, says Champion. Use something like WASA as the base, then top with cheese, deli meat, or nut butter.
Gone are the days when you needed a can opener to pry open a can of tuna. Now, this protein-packed food is available in pouches, flip top containers, making them perfect for travel. Plus, you won’t even need mayo since you can find tuna flavored in buffalo, basil, or sundried tomato varieties.
16. RX Bar
Most are loaded with sugar. But if you find yourself stuck on a long car ride without a snack, look for convenience-store options with very few ingredients, like an RX bar, advises Champion.
17. Protein Shakes
Ready-made protein drinks are available at most gas stations. Look for options that contain few ingredients and use whey-protein isolate–if you eat dairy.
18. Flavored or Sparkling Water
Skip the soda and choose water. If you need something more exciting, there’s flavored collagen water as well as sparkling and still h20 that use natural flavors instead of sweeteners to enhance taste. Or, you can make your own sparkling water with an at-home carbonator, like Aarke, to cut down on cost and plastic waste.
19. Perfect Bars
Perfect bars are made without preservatives or questionable ingredients, according to Elizabeth Shaw, R.D. Plus, they come in flavors like birthday cake and chocolate walnut brownie.
Packed with healthy fats, fiber, and protein, nuts are the perfect portable snack. Many come lightly seasoned, which are perfect on their own. Or try Champion’s strategy: toss your favorite nuts in with dried fruit and whole grain cereal to make your own trail mix.
Markham Heid Markham Heid is an experienced health reporter and writer, has contributed to outlets like TIME, Men’s Health, and Everyday Health, and has received reporting awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Maryland, Delaware, and D.C. Melissa Matthews Health Writer Melissa Matthews is the Health Writer at Men’s Health, covering the latest in food, nutrition, and health.
From Florida to Maine, California to Washington, and one coast to the other, I’ve traveled all around America. It all started when I got the bright idea to quit my job, pack up my car, and begin a rambling journey that lead me to land in North Carolina for a few years. Eager to explore, I took advantage of my new situation and infiltrated as many states as possible. I was fortunate enough to experience the autumn foliage of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the best lobster rolls in Maine, phenomenal pizza in Connecticut, more breweries than I could imagine, and far too many picturesque landscapes to name.
On the move again, the love of being on the road has struck me once more, but not without one frustration: food. Dietary needs, food convenience, and the lack of a kitchen, these can all be problematic when setting out on a long road trip. Thankfully, in my travels I’ve picked up on a few things that have kept frustration at bay when hunger strikes. Whether you’re about to embark on a long journey or are taking a short trip, here are a few food tips to help you along the way.
1. Keep the cooler and snack bag in easy access.
When hunger strikes on the road and you start to feel your blood sugar drop, you want food, fast. Nothing is worse than having to pull over, if you even can, and dig out snacks. It may sound obvious, but keep the snack bag within arms reach along the cooler, too.
It’s insane how easy it is for things to get buried when you’re on the road. Weather, time, and varying other factors can cause packing up the car to become not so tidy of an arrangement. That’s why it’s a necessity to make the road snacks accessible. And that means the cooler, too! Take it from me, leaving the cooler out of hands reach can become a problem.
I crave whole foods like my prepped fresh veggies and hummus. When they’re stashed away and unreachable, I have to resort to satisfying my hunger with potato chips or other packaged goods. Maintaining healthy eating habits on the road is already enough of a challenge. With a little more care, gorging on potato chips can be avoided by packing snacks of the healthy variety within arms reach.
2. Speaking of snacks, fresh fruit and nuts are your friend.
I need healthy road trip snacks. Stopping for fast food or filling up on gas station snacks are not an option in my book – even though not everyone in the car feels the same. This means I need to be cautious of what I have on hand. In order to keep energy levels happy and the body healthy, I’ve found that a combination of whole fruits like apples and oranges along with nuts are a road trip powerhouse. The protein of nuts will keep you fueled, while all the vitamins from whole fruits will make you feel good. The fact that both of these require no cooler space and can be kept in the snack bag as an alternative to munching endlessly on chips is an added bonus.
Another reason I like to keep this duo on hand is stress. No matter what you’re doing, who you’re with, or how exhilarated you may be about your trip, traveling stress is inevitable. Traveling stress can cause the body to break down easier when not properly fueled. Keep these two healthy snacks on hand and your immune system along with energy levels will have a fighting chance.
3. Bad weather? Peanut butter, avocados, and crackers can save breakfast.
I live for camping. Rain, wind, or snow – believe me, we’ve had plenty of the latter on our most recent Washington trip – it’s my main form of travel. Waking up to a spectacular view accompanied by a warm cup of Yerba Mate and a breakfast burrito cooked over the camping stove after we pulled off some forest road to bust a camp, as my boyfriend calls it, is what camping is all about. Sadly, the weather doesn’t always allow for that warm cup of mate and a breakfast burrito. That presents a problem, especially if you’re trying to keep my boyfriend fed.
Whether or not you’re a morning person, waiting hours to eat after you’ve hit the road can easily cause energy levels to crash. That’s when I realized peanut butter, avocados, and crackers are a great idea as a breakfast alternative. Spread either peanut butter or avocado, or both, on flatbread crackers or healthy crackers, and you have a quick fix breakfast that will keep you fueled until lunchtime.
4. Stop whenever and wherever you can fill up on water.
I can’t stress this enough: Take advantage of every free water source you can! Visitor centers, state parks, rest stops, and drinking fountains everywhere are your friend. Water runs out fast on a road trip. Buying up water bottles adds up, not too mention is a waste. There is free water all around, you just have to know where to look and remember to stock up.
Don’t think because you have a campsite or are staying at a hotel that you can have access to water. On a recent trip to Whidbey Island, Wash., we got to the state park campsite we found out there was no water at our campsite. It wasn’t just the campsite that was out, the whole town was down. I was kicking myself for breaking my own “fill up your water” rule. Pipes freeze, pipes burst, and water gets contaminated. You may not expect it, but it happens. So fill up your water. Especially because you never know if or where you’ll get stranded.
5. Shove extra napkins in the glove box.
I don’t know about you, but eating in the car gets messy – especially if you’re the driver. Paper towel rolls are great, but whenever you need them, they seem to be buried in the most unlikely place. That’s why I stash napkins in the glove box.
Like the old ladies that steal Sweet n’ Low packets, I steal extra napkins and keep them in the car. It may sound like obvious advice, but once again it’s one of those things that if you don’t think about it, you’ll be wishing you had.
6. Insulated growlers are a must.
I love insulated growlers. I also love beer. But my beer growlers never get filled up with beer on road trips, they get filled up with all the other liquids. Water, soup, coffee, tea, anything that can keep cool or warm goes into the insulated growlers. Why? Why not!
I don’t know about you, but when I’m on the road, I don’t have time to prep every morning – nor do I want to. Thanks to insulated growlers, food and drinks can be kept warm for about 12 hours. That means when you’re making soup the night before, pour it into your growler and you’ve got lunch. Or brew a big batch of coffee and all you have to do is heat, requiring minimal effort and time. Take advantage of your growlers because you never know what tomorrow brings.
7. Food prep is the key to success.
If there was one piece of advice you should take away more than the rest, it’s to do your food prep! I can’t stress this enough. No prep usually results in dollars wasted on some terrible meal at a random restaurant because you were hungry or eating unhealthy food because it was convenient.
Taking the time to prep healthy road trip foods like hummus and veggies, sandwiches, lentil salad, homemade granola bars, hard boiled eggs, or whatever it is you can keep on hand and eat with a fork will keep you satisfied when hunger strikes. It will also save you money and prevent anyone form getting hangry.
Got any road trip food advice? Let us know!
Watch: The 11 Must-Visit National Road Trip Stops Along I-70
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“Road trips required a couple of things: a well-balanced diet of caffeine, salt and sugar and an excellent selection of tunes—oh, and directions.”- Jenn McKinlay
Jenn might be right, but to an extent! Certain sugars make you feel better than others and that’s the same for foods that include salt and caffeine. It might feel great to pound down a bag of Sour Patch Kids in the moment, however a little later you might be regretting it due to that awful sugar crash, not to mention that bloated feeling we all despise.
In this article we take a look at some of the best and worst options. Unsurprisingly, pre-packaged meals are not the most ideal sources. So instead, we recommend that those going on a road trip perhaps create a fine menu in advance of actual meals and snacks. This is going to lead to less stoppage time while not being forced into purchasing a bag of M&M’s as a meal.
Along with food options we’ll also include beverage choices. Some should be avoided while the replacements suggested might have you feeling a lot better. The ‘good idea’ choices will have the trip pass in a flash – we can’t say the same for the foods to avoid, though. Some of the foods might have you pulling over a little too often, if you know what we mean!
Enjoy the article folks and like always be sure to share it with a friend. Without further ado here are 10 foods to avoid during a road trip and 10 that are a good idea. Let’s get started!
20 Avoid – Pre-Made Truck Stop Cold Sandwiches
It’s inevitable, during a long road trip the need for a break is going to come rather often. This can lead to a quick bite to eat. Needing something that’s quick, easy, on-the-go and creates hardly any mess, a cold sandwich might be a desired option. After all it can also be consumed in the car while losing little travel time.
However it isn’t the best idea to purchase a pre-made one. At times these sandwiches are kept out in the open for far too long and there have been various cases of the sandwiches being long expired. In particular tuna and egg pre-made sandwiches must be avoided. These types tend to go bad a lot quicker. Also, all that added mayonnaise might not make you feel all that great either.
19 Good Idea – Whole Wheat Bread With Freshly Cut Turkey
Ideally this good idea should be taken care of before the road trip begins. Instead of settling for that mayonnaise sandwich, make it a priority to make these yourselves before the trip.
All you’ll need to do is buy some fresh whole wheat bread, which is among the healthier and lighter bread options. Then go to the meat counter and ask for some fresh turkey. Turkey contains little to no fat along with a decent amount of protein. Sprinkle a little bit of low calorie mustard along with a low fat cheese option and you’ll be pretty darn golden!
18 Avoid – Beef Jerky
We apologize to all those beef jerky fans out there. This quick road trip snack is among the most popular and also the easiest to purchase. Just about every rest stop or gas station area has this snack in bulk.
The sad reality is that jerky is loaded with added preservatives. It is also filled with sodium, that’ll have you reaching for the water bottle at various points during the ride. The added sodium is also going to make you feel really bloated and full – a feeling few travelers want to experience during a lengthy car ride.
17 Good Idea – Low-Cal Rice Cakes
Skip the jerky snack and instead, pack some low calorie rice cakes. They don’t have to be the bland kind either. Fun options such as popcorn and chocolate chip also exist, along with a large variety of other kinds.
Rice cakes provide the body with the perfect amount of fuel. It’s basically a quick carbohydrate kick at a low calorie level. The snack isn’t loaded with sodium either as opposed to other road trip snacks (like beef jerky). Just make sure not to make a mess, the crunchy treats can go all over the place if you aren’t careful!
16 Avoid – Beans
Not that this is the most common road trip food, however it isn’t out of the realm of possibility to purchase a fresh bean salad at a local truck stop. It might seem like a good idea at first due its freshness and the fact that you might consider it a “salad”. However let’s not neglect what beans do, they make us, well, let’s just say, really gassy…
Beans also give you that full feeling which is ideal for those that are dieting but not those that are on a road trip. Along with beans, broccoli should also be avoided. The last thing you want is to be the reason why every passenger is rolling down their window.
15 Good Idea – Almonds & Cashews
Skip the bean salad and instead, make your own fresh salad and sprinkle in some healthy fats such as almonds and cashews. Chia seeds are another solid option to include in a salad or just as a snack.
These healthy fats provide the body with solid energy while keeping things light. Servings of 30 grams might be a road-tripper’s best option for the almonds and cashews; you don’t want to be eating too many nuts as although they’re loaded with healthy fats, they’re also pretty high in overall calories as well.
14 Avoid – Highly Carbonated Energy Drinks
What might be more important than food is your choice of beverage. Especially for the driver, it is crucial that they’re properly hydrated at all times. The key here is properly hydrated. Getting a can of Coke or Pepsi won’t make you feel good – at the very least opt for the diet option, which usually contains zero calories.
Also high calorie energy drinks should be avoided. Although you might get a quick energy spike, this will lead to a crash at some point. A road tripper won’t feel too fabulous either due to the outrageous amounts of sugar found in the highly carbonated energy drinks.
13 Good Idea – Zero-Cal Energy Drink
If a high energy option is needed than zero calorie energy drinks are a road-tripper’s best bet. Both Red Bull and Monster are typically found at various gas stations and rest-stops, a driver and passenger can easily find the zero calorie format. This includes a heavily reduced amount of sugar along with hardly any carbohydrates as opposed to the regular formats.
If an energy surge is needed, an espresso can also be a good option. A coffee is okay however you might have to pull over a couple of times due to the volume of coffee compared to a quick espresso shot.
12 Avoid – Sour Patch Kids
Similar to the high calorie Red Bull drinks, Sour Patch kids can provide an instant surge of energy. And hey let’s face it, they also taste pretty darn great! Like beef jerky earlier in the article this is among the easiest snacks to find while on a road trip.
Although they might be yummy and easily accessible, Sour Patch Kids will also lead to a sugar crash. The sugar numbers itself are also ridiculously high; you might as well just pour some sugar down your throat! Due to so much sugar and added preservatives the carb numbers are way too high and they won’t make you feel all that good either.
11 Good Idea – Fruits & Vegetables
We hate to sound like a mother or father figure, however if a sugar source is needed it might be best to opt for some fresh fruit – at very least you’ll get some vitamins and minerals and hey, you’ll feel a lot better than consuming a darn pack of Sour Patch Kids.
A banana is a great carb source. This fruit has lots of potassium, as well as fiber. An apple is another quick way to get a sugar boost while not feeling exaggeratedly full. Fruits along with veggies are easy to find while on the road. Carrots and celery can be a great road option accompanied by a low calorie avocado dip!
10 Avoid – Anything Spicy
You’re sitting in the car and all of a sudden it starts to get really hot. You turn to your left and the dude sitting beside you looks perfectly fine. The same goes for your girlfriend in the back seat. Maybe adding a little spiciness and red pepper to that meal wasn’t the brightest idea… Oh, looks like a stop might be needed.
Okay so you get the point, eating a spicy meal isn’t the best idea. It’ll likely increase your body temperature a couple of notches. It might also force you to be the guy that causes the road trip to halt, because well, you might need to use the washroom. Maybe save the spicy foods for when you arrive at the destination.
9 Good Idea – Water
Just thinking of spicy foods, some of you might have thought about water and how refreshing it might be! Seriously if there is a ‘must’ during a road trip it’s a water bottle case – not only for the driver but for the passengers as well. A lack of water can result in a headache or other complications – dehydration is best to be avoided during lengthy road trips.
Instead of constantly buying water bottles it might be wiser to buy an entire case for the trip. It can also be a wise decision to purchase a reusable water jug and fill it up to the rim throughout the entire journey.
8 Avoid – Cooked Meat
A piece of cooked meat might not be the best option. Road-trippers might be tempted into making this decision while stopping at a restaurant on the way. In the event that the meat is undercooked, this can result in a ride that no traveler wants to experience. It can lead to extreme un-comfort and severe nausea.
Save the steak for another time. As for the ideal road trip protein, a chicken breast is never a bad option. It includes lots of protein along with minimal fat. Let’s face it, it isn’t hard to cook properly. Ideally cooked tuna is the best bet featuring hardly any fat along with healthy protein.
7 Good Idea – Sweet Potato
When you order that piece of chicken, French fries on the side might not be the most ideal option and they’ll have you feeling kind of sluggish. Instead, better options exist and one of them is sweet potato fries. In truth they taste just as good while containing half the caloric content of a regular French fry.
For those that are traveling, a white baked potato can also be a better option than regular French fries. Just don’t get the all-dressed version featuring endless amounts of sour cream and mountains of cheese – you’ll want to take a nap instead of driving for another couple of hours!
6 Avoid – Overly Salted Chips
Chips and road trips tend to go hand-in-hand. It’s like a bag of chips just comes with the road trip. However, not all chips leave you feeling ideal. In fact most lead to unnecessary bloat along with an increased amount of liquids being consumed as a result. We all know what that leads to…
We’re not saying scrap the chips entirely. Instead make a wise decision on which is best for a lengthy trip. Avoid the options that are overly flavored, these are usually spiked with sodium and various preservatives. Also don’t even think about spicy chips for a road trip. That would be a nightmare unless you’re planning to visit hell…
5 Good Idea – Crackers
Ever wonder why flights always serve crackers as a snack? Well, they’re really easy to digest and let’s face it, they’re also a lot of fun. Sure the cracker itself might be a little too boring for your road trip, so why not spice things up (not with spice) by adding some low fat spread on top of the crackers?
This can include a variety of options such as low calorie jam, hummus, light cheese or various other options. Maybe, just maybe you can go a little crazy and add a dab of Nutella onto the cracker. You’ll forget you’re in a moving vehicle with such a combination!
4 Avoid – High-Cal Protein Bar
via:The Actor’s Diet
A protein bar is again another snack that might seem like a quick and easy option. However travelers must be aware of what the bar actually contains. Some protein bars might be terribly misleading. Due to the content value some bars can be used as a darn meal replacement due to the loaded amounts of carbohydrates and fats.
It is best to avoid funky flavors such as birthday cake; these types tend to be loaded with sugar. Maybe save that bar for after the gym and opt for a low-cal option for the road trip.
3 Good Idea – Peanut Butter
Peanut butter can be a solid option. Heck, you can even spread some good old PB and J on a cracker. Peanut butter is a good fat source that provides that body with some instant energy. Of course, like all fats, we don’t advise swallowing an entire jug during a road trip. Typically one serving of 30 grams is more than enough to leave any road-tripper satisfied. It would also be a wise option to bring a loaf of whole wheat bread while lightly spreading some peanut butter; this can be an ideal blend. Low calorie Peanut Butter versions also exist and in truth, they taste just as good with a reduced fat content.
2 Avoid – Fast Food
Fast food is the easy option during a road trip. However truth be told fast food should not only be avoided during a lengthy trip, but it should be passed on in general. From elevated trans fats to increased cholesterol to terrible amounts of sodium, fast food just won’t make any traveler feel all that well. Fast food is also known to increase blood pressure.
If you need to stop for a quick bite then perhaps Subway might the best quick option. The menu is loaded with low calorie options and the real kicker is that it also tastes pretty darn great!
1 Good Idea – Low-Cal Protein Shake
Again, this one is best in moderation. Don’t go putting three scoops of protein. Over 50 grams of protein in one serving might have you running out of the car and to the washroom rather quickly.
Instead, this can be an ideal fuel source in moderation. Add some water and almond milk along with one scoop of protein or perhaps the equivalent of 20 grams of protein. It can fuel the body properly while giving you a fine protein source to sip on during the ride. A BCAA drink can also be a good option providing road-trippers with some nice energy while once again aiding the muscles.
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Real Meals on the Road: 23 Healthy Road Trip Meals and Snacks
Imagine this: you’re singing along to that new hit song with the windows down, driving through a beautiful, open desert. You’re catching that wanderlust feeling since there’s no one and nothing in sight. Then all of a sudden your stomach reminds you it’s lunchtime and that you’re in the middle of nowhere — plus that box of stale crackers won’t check hunger off the list.
Well, it’s time to tell your stomach to be quiet — we have a list of 22 healthy road trip meals and snacks that will keep you energized the entire trip. We cover the wonderful benefits of packing and preparing your own food. We also show you how to efficiently pack your cooler for fresh road trip meals the whole route.
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Benefits of Packing Your Own Road Trip Food
Packing your own food can seem like a hassle at first but once you realize that the positives outweigh the negatives, you’ll want to make all our delicious recipes that are guaranteed to make you hungry. Here are a few benefits of packing your travel food.
1. You Save Money
As we all know, eating out is much more expensive than whipping something up in the kitchen. The average fast-food and fast-casual meal costs $6 and $12 respectively. This all adds up pretty quickly when traveling as a family. You may be cutting corners at first by not preparing meals, but in the long run, it’ll cost you.
2. You Use Less Waste
Reusable containers can cut your waste down to nearly nothing! Especially since you’ll want to eat every one of our road trip meal recipes. Drive-thrus use tons of plastic and wrappers to deliver your meal. An average restaurant produces 100,000 pounds of garbage per year! Help solve the waste issue by eating food you bring from home.
3. You Save Time
When you want to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible, frequent stopping isn’t on the list. Instead, you can reach into your cooler and pull out a delicious mason jar salad to keep you satisfied.
4. You Eat Healthier
We can all admit that we’re not too sure about all the ingredients in the food we eat out. One meal at a restaurant can hold all the calories you need in a whole day! You can skip those unwanted ingredients by serving up a dish from below.
Now that you know the benefits of preparing food at home or on the road, let’s dive into your road trip menu selection!
Healthy and Easy Road Trip Meals for The Entire Family
Perishable foods come and go but these recipes will last forever, or until you reach your last stop! If there’s limited space in the car, adding a large cooler isn’t helpful. It’s also not helpful when you’re worried about your food spoiling, so here are some tasty meals that can be served at room temperature. Be sure to read through each recipe carefully. We do recommend making some of these meals before you hit the road so that preparation goes as smooth as possible.
1. Peanut Butter Banana Sushi
Our creative twist on sushi that stays fresh. We also call this meal breakfast sushi because it’s a sweet meal to wake up to. You’ll want to make this meal ahead of time since it can get tricky to cut the meal in the car into sushi pieces. For this meal, spread peanut butter on a tortilla and add bite-sized banana slices. Then, sprinkle cinnamon on top and roll up all the ingredients in the tortilla. Lastly, cut the rolled-up tortilla into sushi-sized bites. The meal will stay fresh unrefrigerated until the end of the day.
- 1 whole-grain tortilla
- 2 spoonfuls of peanut butter
- 1 whole banana
- Sprinkle of cinnamon
- Roll up all the ingredients in the tortilla
- Cut into sushi sized bites
Benefit: Entertaining meals on the road perk up your mood, and bananas are also good for your energy! You’ll also get a load of antioxidants from the sprinkled cinnamon on top.
2. Banana Apple Toast
If you have a sweet tooth but want to stay healthy on the road, this is the perfect meal for you. We call it a grown-up version of the PB&J, plus it can be a tasty breakfast. You’ll want to make this before hitting the road. Toast one slice of whole-grain bread, then add thinly sliced apple slices on top along with bite-sized banana pieces. Drizzle with honey to finish. The meal will stay fresh unrefrigerated until the end of the day.
- 1 slice of whole-grain toast
- 1 apple into thin slices
- 1 whole banana
- Honey drizzle
Benefit: Apples and bananas are good for your heart while honey contains antioxidants to keep you sharp.
3. No-Bake Oat Bites
These energy-filled bites will help you get your day started. Preparing this meal at home is advised. You’ll simply mix all the ingredients together and roll into bite-sized balls. It’s important to let them sit for an hour before eating. The meal will stay fresh unrefrigerated for about two days. Make sure to not leave the meal in a hot car, as it will melt.
- 1 cup of rolled oats
- ½ cup of almond butter
- A handful of craisins
- ⅓ cup of honey
- 5 drops of vanilla extract
- ¼ cup of Dark chocolate chips
Benefit: This tasty ball of energy is packed with nutrients and is the perfect way to start your day on the road.
4. Avocado Honey Bagel
This meal is perfectly nutritious and delicious to get your day started. This may be easier to prepare at home, but can still be done in the car. You may store all these ingredients in a reusable bag. If being done in the car, make sure to bring a knife and a plate to make preparation easier. You’ll start by cutting your bagel in half and smearing avocado on each half. Then top with a handful of evenly distributed pistachios. Lastly, drizzle with honey and place in a sealed container for the car. The meal will stay fresh unrefrigerated until the end of the day.
- 1 whole-grain bagel
- 1 avocado
- Handful of pistachios
- Honey drizzle
Benefit: This is perfect for those who enjoy unique flavors and need a jumpstart to their day.
5. Tuna Salad
When it’s time for lunch, you’ll “tuna”-round those cravings with this salad. This meal is to be prepared in the car right before consumption. You may store all these ingredients in a reusable bag. Make sure to bring a fork, a knife and a bowl to make preparation easier. First, you’ll take your tuna out from the can and empty it into a bowl. Next, mash a whole avocado and add it with the cranberries into the tuna. Use whole-grain crackers to dip into your tuna salad.
- 1 large can of tuna
- 1 avocado
- ½ cup of cranberries
- A packet of whole-grain crackers
Benefit: This is a well-balanced meal that will satisfy your tummy and is filled with lean protein and healthy fats.
6. Chicken Salad Sandwich
For those long road trips, this meal is the one for you. This meal is to be prepared in the car right upon consumption. You may store all these ingredients in a reusable bag. Make sure to bring a can opener and a plate to make preparation easier. First, open the canned chicken (any size will do, depending on how many people you’re feeding) and empty onto a slice of whole-grain bread. Then, throw on top pickled veggies from an unopened jar. Lastly, spread packaged condiments of your choice on the bread and sandwich altogether.
- 1–2 cans of chicken
- 1 jar of pickled veggies
- Packaged condiments
- 2 slices of whole-grain bread
Benefit: One of the only unrefrigerated meals that you can get veggies in to keep you energized on the go! Plus you get the satisfaction of a sandwich for lunch.
7. Bean and Cheese Burrito
Burritos are one of the most filling meals you can indulge in on a road trip. Make sure to bring a can opener and a plate to make preparation easier. This meal is to be prepared in the car right upon consumption. You may store all these ingredients in a reusable bag. The recipe is easy too. Simply wrap and distribute all ingredients as you please within the tortilla.
- 1 whole-grain tortilla wrap
- 1 medium-sized can of black beans
- Gouda cheese slices
Benefit: Incredibly simple and a healthy guilty pleasure to pick you up when you’re feeling the road trip slump.
8. Taco Bowl
It’s a road trip fiesta when dining in your car with this meal. This meal is to be prepared in the car right upon consumption. Make sure to bring a can opener and a bowl to make preparation easier. You may store all these ingredients in a reusable bag. This meal is easily crafted since you’ll throw all the ingredients in a travel container. Make sure to keep canned/jarred food closed until consumption.
- 1 can of beef
- ½ of a small jar of salsa
- Bag of tortilla chips
- 1 can of beans
- 1 avocado
Benefit: This meal is very nutritious and gluten-free as well. The meal is balanced in carbs, proteins and healthy fats to keep you full on the road.
Creative and Healthy Kid Snacks On The Go
We rounded up some of the most entertaining and filling snacks to keep your kiddos energized during the drive. Yes, some of these are snacks for the kiddos but who said you can’t join in on the fun? To keep the kids busy when they aren’t snacking, check out these road trip games.
9. Caterpillar Kabobs
This snack is bunches of fun and made from bunches of grapes. You’ll want to make this before hitting the road. You’ll first grab a paddle skewer (safe for the kids) then wiggle grapes on one by one. Place in a reusable container until ready for consumption. The snack will stay fresh in an ice cooler for three days.
- 5–7 paddle skewers
- A bunch of green grapes
Benefit: Grapes are jam-packed with nutrients including vitamins C and K. Plus, these caterpillar sticks are too cute to not try.
10. Ant Logs
Don’t let this meal name scare you! This snack is a great mix of fruit and protein to keep kids full. You have the choice of making this meal beforehand or while in the car. If preparing in the car, make sure to bring a knife and a plate to make preparation easier. Spread peanut butter on top of celery sticks and add craisins on top, which resemble the ants. If you are to make this meal before hitting the road, place in a reusable container and the snack will stay fresh in an ice cooler for three to four days.
- 5–7 celery sticks
- Peanut butter
Benefit: These are highly entertaining, easy to create and can be served at room temperature.
11. Apple Cookies
Kids sometimes need a little sweetness for long car rides. You’ll want to make this before hitting the road. Cut an apple into slices that resemble a cookie, then layer the rest of the ingredients in between two slices to make the snack look like an apple sandwich. The snack will stay fresh in an ice cooler for two days.
- 2 green apples
- Peanut butter
- Dark chocolate chips
- Almond slices
Benefit: Your little one will be tricked into eating a nutritious sweet remix of a cookie!
12. Necklace Snack
A snack that you can wear and enjoy! You have the choice of making this meal beforehand or while in the car. If preparing in the car, make sure to bring a plate to make preparation easier. You’ll loop together Cheerios and pretzels on a string to resemble a necklace for your kiddos to wear and snack on. Store these snacks in an airtight bag to keep them fresh longer.
Benefit: This snack keeps your little ones busy for a while.
13. Cheese and Apple Pirate Ships
Ahoy, matey! These cheese and apple pirate ships are adorable and something you’ll love to have on the road. You’ll want to make this before hitting the road if you do not have pre-cut apple slices or cheese squares. Cut the apples into wedges to look like the base of a boat. Attach the cheese to toothpicks and stick on the apple to resemble a flag. Pack into a reusable container and bring out for snack time! The snack will stay fresh in an ice cooler for two days.
- Pack of toothpicks
- Bag of apple slices
- 6–8 tiny squares of cheddar cheese
Benefit: Apples are a great source of fiber and antioxidants and cheese is a great source of calcium. This snack will surely amaze your little ones.
Healthy Road Trip Snacks to Hold You Over
Sometimes road trips can feel a little dull, especially right around the midway point. In the middle of your journey, you start to think there’s nothing that will motivate you to reach your destination. It’s sometimes boring and you’ll likely lose energy the longer you’re in the car. Luckily, we have a list of snacks to hold you over.
14. Healthy Trail Mix Remix
When you need a substantial snack, trail mix is the perfect choice to keep you energized. You’ll want to make this before hitting the road. We also remixed the recipe so don’t worry about feeling fatigued after. Simply mix all the ingredients together and pack into reusable bags to eat later. This trail mix can stay fresh unrefrigerated for up to a week if not left in a hot car.
- ½ cup of craisins
- ¼ cup of pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup of dark chocolate
- ⅓ cup of almonds
- ½ cup of walnuts
- 1 ½ cups of plain popcorn
Benefit: Pumpkin seeds are very nutritious and contain protein, iron, magnesium and more. The craisins will help boost low blood sugar when you’re feeling tired.
15. Mason Jar Hummus
A very healthy snack that curbs any bad cravings, hummus is a delicious choice for the road. Make sure to pack your hummus into the mason jar first and then the veggies. The snack will stay fresh in an ice cooler for three days.
- 1 mason jar
- 1 cup of hummus
- Carrot sticks
- Celery sticks
Benefit: Hummus is filled with plant-based protein and can help fight inflammation.
16. Zucchini Chips
This snack takes some prepping but won’t slow you down on the road. You’ll want to make this before hitting the road. You’ll cut the zucchini into thin slices then drizzle lemon juice, dill and salt. Put in the oven on low (225º F) for two hours and voila! The snack will stay fresh unrefrigerated for three days in an airtight container.
- 2–3 zucchinis
- A handful of fresh chopped dill
- Lemon juice
- Salt to season
Benefit: This snack is perfect for when you’re “bored hungry.” Zucchini has loads of vitamins and anti-inflammatory qualities so you don’t have to feel guilty about eating the whole container.
17. Almond Butter Strawberry Sandwich
This snack is a cute little sandwich made from fruit that’s extremely tasty and easy to make. You’ll want to make this before hitting the road. You’ll slice each strawberry in half and smear the inside with almond butter, then put the halves back together. The snack will stay fresh in a cooler for two days in an airtight container.
- 6–8 strawberries
- Almond butter
Benefit: Strawberries are incredibly rich in antioxidants while almond butter fills you up with healthy fats and protein.
18. Peppers and Guac
A spin-off of chips and guac that will leave you feeling light and satisfied. You’ll want to make this before hitting the road. There are many ways to craft guacamole but use our ingredients below as guidance. Mash together with a whole avocado with chopped tomatoes, diced onions, cilantro and seasoning. Slice the bell pepper into sticks to dip. The snack will stay fresh in a cooler for two days in an airtight container.
- 1–2 avocados
- 1–2 tomatoes
- ½ an onion
- Cup of cilantro
- Salt and pepper
- Tablespoon of lemon juice
- 3-4 bell peppers
Benefit: Avocados are packed with potassium, fiber and healthy fats. They are said to boost brain power as well!
Road Trip Food That Requires a Cooler
Bringing an ice cooler on the road with you opens up a whole extra category for meals, and they are quite tasty too. If you’re able to bring a cooler along, try out these recipes to satisfy all cravings you may have. We do recommend making these meals before you hit the road so that preparation goes as smooth as possible. You can follow our ice cooler packing tips below to make sure everything is organized and tidy. Be aware that each meal has a different expiration date when packed on ice.
19. Mason Jar Salad
For all you super health nuts out on the road, this to-go salad is perfect for your road trip lunch or dinner. You’ll want to make this before hitting the road. Make sure to put the vinegar and oil in first so it stays at the bottom of the jar until you are ready to mix and eat the salad. The meal will stay fresh in a cooler for two days in an airtight mason jar.
- 1 mason jar
- ⅛ cup of vinegar
- ⅛ cup of oil
- Salt and pepper
- Spring mix lettuce
- Chopped carrots
- Chopped celery
- ¼ cup of pumpkin seeds
Benefit: No need to worry about eating badly since this is an easy way to bring a salad on the road.
20. Turkey Pinwheels
A fun and incredibly tasty pinwheel meal on wheels. You’ll want to make this before hitting the road. You first will layout the tortilla, then layer with cheese and turkey. Lastly, roll up the ingredients inside the tortilla and cut into round slices. The meal will stay fresh in a cooler for one and a half days in an airtight container.
- 1 whole-grain tortilla
- 2 provolone cheese slices
- 3–4 turkey lunch slices
Benefit: This is a very easy meal to eat without having to pull over. Plus, you get your healthy fats and lean protein in for the day.
21. Chicken Caesar Kale Wrap
A classic wrap that’s easy to take with you on the road. If you don’t find time to cook the chicken, grab some precooked chicken strips that are just as delicious. We recommend preparing beforehand. First, layout the tortilla, then smear the avocado onto the tortilla. Next cut the tomato into bite-sized pieces and lay on the tortilla. Then add the chicken strips, parmesan cheese and kale. Lastly, drizzle with caesar dressing. The meal will stay fresh in a cooler for one and a half days in an airtight container.
- 1 whole-grain tortilla
- 1 cup of cooked chicken strips
- 1 roma tomato
- 1 avocado
- Parmesan cheese sprinkles
- 1 cup of kale
- ¼ cup of caesar dressing
Benefit: One of the main benefits is how delicious this guilt-free wrap is! The meal is perfectly balanced to get all the necessary nutrients in one meal.
22. Tuna Salad Nori Wraps
This wrap whips up some creativity in the kitchen and requires preparation beforehand. Lay all ingredients (starting with the tuna) on the seaweed and wrap them up tightly to complete the dish. Lay the carrot sticks and cucumber sticks vertically inside the seaweed. Cut the avocado into slices and lay them out vertically as well. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper before wrapping up. The meal will stay fresh in a cooler for one and a half days in an airtight container.
- 6 nori seaweed sheets
- 1 large can of tuna
- Olive oil drizzle
- Salt and pepper
- 1 avocado
- A handful of pre-cut carrot sticks
- A handful of pre-cut cucumber sticks
Benefit: This wrap is on the lighter side since the base is just seaweed, but it will satisfy you with lots of healthy nutrients.
23. Cream Cheese Ham Wheels
A fun and incredibly tasty pinwheel meal on wheels. We recommend preparing beforehand. You first will layout the tortilla, then layer with cream cheese and ham. Lastly, roll up the tortilla and ingredients and cut into round slices. The meal will stay fresh in a cooler for one and a half days in an airtight container.
- 1 whole-grain tortilla
- 3 tablespoons of cream cheese
- 3–4 ham lunch slices
Benefit: This is a very easy meal to eat without having to pull over. Plus you get your healthy fats and lean protein in for the day.
How to Pack an Ice Cooler
Sometimes the food we crave requires some upkeep to stay fresh. Read on for a handful of tips to keep everything chilled and make your ice cooler food last.
Tip 1 – Use Ice Packs and Ice Cubes to Fill Crevices
Ice packs stay cold longer and keep intact, which is essential to keeping your food safe. Ice cubes help keep crevices that ice packs can’t reach colder for longer. Don’t worry if your ice melts — keep it inside the cooler and take a look at the next tip to see why.
Tip 2 – Keep You Cooler Shaded, Closed and Do Not Drain Melted Ice
Keeping your cooler shaded and closed may be obvious, but we want to emphasize the importance of this to keep all your delicious homemade travel meals safe! Another tip that may surprise you is that you’ll want to keep the melted ice inside the cooler because it can still help keep your food fresh.
Tip 3 – Prechill Your Cooler and Freeze Food/Drinks That Will Be Used Later
You can easily prechill your cooler by filling it with cold tap water and adding a bag or so of ice. For best results, do this 12 hours before your trip begins. Right before you start packing, dump out the ice water. You can also use frozen drinks, such as water and juice, as ice packs.
Tip 4 – Avoid Plastic Bags and Use Airtight Containers for Freshness
Plastic bags aren’t the best way to keep your food fresh since air can still potentially get through. Airtight containers are much better since they don’t allow air in to spoil the food as quickly. Plus, they’re better at preventing leaks.
Tip 5 – Keep Warm Items and Beer out of the Cooler to Save Space
As important as it is to bring beer on a road trip, you might want to save it for the trunk. Bottles and cans take up space and don’t keep cold well, making it inefficient to place next to food that needs to stay cold.
Even though you’ll save time with all your delicious homemade goods in the car, we still caution you to drive according to the law. If you’re flying in and renting a car or starting from home, we hope that one of these recipes fancies you and your fellow riders. Check out some of our other road trip hacks for the best ride yet.
Road Trip Food
Food Ideas For Road Trip Power Snacking
Goin’ on a Road Trip – Food for journeys by vehicle.
For us, food is a major consideration when we embark on any journey by road. Packing the right food keeps us on track and out of congested cities.
An essential part of any road trip is snacks that are easy to eat while driving and fun food for a picnic stop (or two) along the way.
Having food and drinks along gives you more options as you drive and explore, allowing the freedom to bypass the super busy areas and stop to eat and stretch in some of the most beautiful places in the world.
Getting it Together
Part of the fun of traveling by vehicle is the ability to stop and become a part of the scenery.
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You might be surprised to learn that you’re not limited to a cold menu on the road thanks to the RoadPro 12-Volt Portable Stove. This little gizmo is perfect for heating up smokies, chicken wings, lasagna … just about anything. You can get little trays to go with it or just use foil.
We just happened to have one from my husband’s working days and discovered that it’s fantastic for heating food on the road.
The Night Before
The night before we leave (almost all of our road trips begin in the early – sometimes very early – morning), I boil a few eggs, wash and cut up vegetables and fruit and assemble sandwiches or wraps.
Sometimes I like to mix up a tuna sandwich mixture or a salad of some sort, oh, and I make sure the Reusable Ice Cubes are in the freezer. I like the reuseable ice cubes because they don’t melt and sog up the food. If you use ice, seal it in zip lock bags to keep food dry.
In the morning, the cooler gets packed and put in the car while the coffee brews.
Also packed in the vehicle is a small table and some of those fold up chairs that are easy to stow. That way we can set up our own rest stop wherever the mood, (the scenery, the sunshine, the hunger) strikes us.
A Seagrass Basket holds the non refrigerated snacks. I keep it within easy reach.
One last check to make sure we have everything on our road trip packing list and we’re off.
The Cooler – Road Trip Food
- Boiled or pickled eggs
- Carrot and celery sticks, radishes, cucumber slices
- Cherry tomatoes, pea pods
- Pickles, olives
- Water, soda, juice
- Sandwiches, wraps, burritos
- Fruit – grapes, oranges, cherries, watermelon
- Cheese, cream cheese
- Condiments – butter, salad dressing
- Salsa, ketchup, mayo, mustard
- Pepperoni sticks, smoked salmon, deli meats
- Smokies, chicken wings, sausage rolls, cocktail wieners
- Potato salad, macaroni salad, marinated vegetables
The Snack Box – Road Trip Food List
- Salt, pepper, hot sauce
- Peanut butter, honey
- Bread, buns, crackers, tortillas
- Muffins, bagels
- Nuts, raisins, trail mix, seeds
- Chips, cheezies, pretzels
- Smoked oysters and fish in tins
- Granola bars, candy bars
Non-Food Items – Road Trip Food
- Paper towels, serviettes
- Go cup
- Paper plates, forks, spoons, butter knife
- Sharp knife, small cutting board
- Wet wipes
- Garbage bag
- Foil / Zip lock bags
- Swiss army knife – We never go anywhere without it. *Update: Mine was confiscated at a Mexican airport because I forgot it was in my carry-on.
A good cooler is a big plus. Get one that’s big enough to hold your food and ice but small enough that it fits in the vehicle with the rest of the traveling gear.
The Coleman Wheeled Soft Cooler holds all we need for a 2 day trip and takes up a minimum of space.
More Tips For Your Road Trip
Coleman Road Trip Grill
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The Best Road-Trip Snacks with Printable List
Need some quick and easy snacks for your road trip? Here are some of the best road-trip snack tips you can find!
So finally, the time comes when you get to enjoy your mini vacation! You’ve decided to do a little vacation nearby, so you’ll be driving there. A road trip! Clothes and toiletries are packed. The kids have picked out their favorite stuffed animals to bring, everyone’s choice of music has been loaded into the car, simple toys and books are all within each child’s grasp, and you’re all ready to go!
But wait—what about snacks? I’m sure you all have experienced the “I’m not hungry” child turning into the “I’m starving” monster, right after you’ve pulled away from the house.
I speak from experience; believe me when I say it’s always better to prepare for hunger to strike at any moment without warning. Even if you don’t end up eating everything you packed while on the road, you can then have those snacks and use them for the duration of your trip instead of buying something while you’re out! It’s really a win-win situation.
So what to pack? Depending on whether your trip will be lengthy or not will determine what kind of snacks you can bring. Should you bring finger foods, snacks, or full lunches?
For my family, it’s always important to pack healthy snacks that require little refrigeration. I’ve compiled a list of our favorite snacks that need no refrigeration just for you. Download it here.
The convenience of packaged food might call out to you or your kids at the rest stop, but try making your own homemade lunchable first. Healthy lunches are super simple to make quickly at home. Your kids will love them just as much, and so will you. With all the fresh fruits, vegetables, and food you put into it, you don’t have to worry about an ingredient list that is a mile long.
You can also pack hearty meals! How does macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, lasagna, or soup sound? If you want to pack food that will stay warm while you drive, you can always use your thermos. For more details, check out this post on how to warm a thermos.
And what about something to drink? Water is always an easy option. Packing water in a reusable container means you can refill your container along the way. For those times where you might want something more than water, you can easily pack a smoothie to go (in a thermos cup or even in a squeezable fruit pouch!)
So now that the food is taken care of, I think you are ready to go on your trip!
Best Road Trip Food List Ideas
Everyone wants to enjoy their mini vacation. Sometimes we spoiled it for silly reasons. Most of the people don’t give priority to foods before traveling. But foods play a vital role during the road trip. Who doesn’t want an excellent adventure?
Recently a friend of mine traveled California. He didn’t pack any food during travel. Its cost him a lot. He is a vegetarian, and he can’t live without vegetable juice. Unfortunately, he didn’t get vegetable juice on the place where he traveled. So, a pure vegetable juice ruined his trip!!
So, what is the solution? Here are some healthy food ideas before road trips.
Healthy road trip foods:
It’s for health-conscious people. We always want a healthy vacation. If you eat healthily, you can enjoy the trip. When we are traveling, we need energy. Fruits are an excellent source of vitamins and nutrients.
What kind of foods should you pack during travel? It depends on you. But we can give you some suggestions which may be helped!
Do you know you can make juice during the vacation? What you need is a portable blender!! The price is reasonable, and it’s easy to carry. If you are traveling with your family, then this is the best blender for you. How can you buy a portable blender? Read the kitchen Varieties reviews.
Remember, if you cut the fruits once then you have to eat it. Otherwise, the fruits will be spoiled.
It’s always a good idea if you bring some vegetables during travel. But we need a refrigerator to store the vegetables. Some vegetables stay good 4-5dyas without a fridge.
Here are some healthy vegetable ideas during travel:
2. Broccoli florets
3. Snap peas
Do you love vegetable juice? Yes, you can also make vegetable juice with a portable blender. Remember, only healthy food can give you a good road trip.
Miscellaneous food you can purchase from anywhere! You can make miscellaneous in the home, or you can buy it from the store. Here is a list of Miscellaneous Foods:
2. Cheese sticks
4. Greek Yogurt
5.Peanut Butter Sandwiches
6.Sunflower Seeds or nuts
Why need Miscellaneous Foods during the travel? You may feel hungry anytime, so you can eat it whenever you want!
Healthy Sweet Treats:
If you have a long trip then healthy sweet treats gives you some fun. When you are traveling with kids, it gives them energy booster. Especially kids and woman are fond of Sweet Treats. You can pack this sweet item:
1. Dark Chocolate
When you go on a long trip, don’t forget to bring this thing:
1. Napkins for kids
3. Plates (Paper plates)
4. Tissue paper I can’t think of an adventure without healthy food. I believe if you eat healthily, you can enjoy the trip more. So, hit the music and sing a song like there is no tomorrow!!