When it’s time to head out on a road trip, your list of must-have items should include a variety of snacks. These will help you get through mild cravings between meals and make the trip much more pleasant. However, the last thing you want to do is load up on bad snacks that make you feel guilty and lethargic on your trip.
Below, we outline a wide range of healthy road trip snacks that keep you moving without piling on the empty calories.
These road trip snacks will help keep your belly full for the long haul without resorting to junk food or sugary snacks.
Trail mix is a staple on road trips, as it usually contains protein-packed nuts (peanuts, pecans, cashews, almonds, and more) and fruits filled with healthy complex carbohydrates and fiber to help keep you full and energized. Stop by any gas station or convenience store, and you’ll find a good assortment of brands and types of trail mix.
Keep in mind, though, that not all trail mixes are equal. Some are packed with chocolates that increase the added sugars and simple carbs. Make sure to read the ingredients carefully and pick up packages that only include nuts and fruits for the best results.
Also, watch the serving size, as nuts are loaded with calories in small servings for all their health benefits. The last thing you want to do is load up on calories only to sit in the car for several hours. Eat a serving to fill yourself up, then put the package away.
Peanut butter is the ultimate solution to keeping full on a road trip without loading up on bad things. Peanut butter is thick and rich, leaving your belly feeling full for quite some time by consuming only a small amount. Plus, being nut-based, it’s chock-full of healthy protein.
Before your next road trip, spread a tablespoon of peanut butter on a slice of whole-grain bread — ideally sprouted seed bread for the added protein — and fold the slice in half to create a snackable sandwich. You can make many of these sandwiches and put them in an air-tight container for the trip. Each sandwich should have fewer than 200 calories and loads of protein. Plus, the complex carbs in the whole-grain bread and peanut butter will keep you feeling full for longer.
Remember that you’ll want to be picky with the peanut butter you choose. Some peanut butters are heavily processed with sugar and salt added to enhance the flavor. Sure, these may taste good, but the added sugar and salt are far from healthy. Stick with simple brands with only peanuts and oil —- your guy will thank you.
Veggies are a great snack for many reasons. First, they are generally packed in fiber and other key nutrients. But more importantly, they often have very few calories, making you feel full without packing on the calories. They also provide that satisfying potato chip crunch without the guilt.
You can eat many tasty vegetables raw, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, baby carrots, bell peppers, snap peas, green beans, celery, and more. Plus, you can get a low-calorie dip, such as low-fat dressing or peanut butter, to spice them up a bit. Just make sure to go easy on the dip, as this can add in some not-so-healthy calories and sugars.
Dried fruit, such as mangoes, apricots, cranberries, strawberries, apples, and more, is a great healthy snacking option for people with a sweet tooth. They satiate the sugar cravings on a long road trip while also providing most of the same healthy nutrients as fresh fruits. Most gas stations and convenience stores will have a small selection of these, but your biggest selection will come in the healthy snacking section of your local grocery store.
Be careful with your choices, though. Some companies add extra sugar to the fruits to enhance the flavor. Others can sneak in preservatives and other bad things. Pick up a bag that contains only fruits, and you will have a happy gut for the entire trip.
Got a craving for something salty or smoky? Jerky is a great option car snack because it’s low in fat, high in protein, and very filling. There are loads of jerky varieties, such as turkey jerky, beef jerky, pork jerky, and others. Plus, there are many flavor options, ranging from plain to sweet to spicy.
Be careful with the flavor you choose, though. Some of them include loads of added sugars. Read the nutrition label and find the one you prefer with the lowest amount of added sugar. Also, mind the serving size and sodium, as there’s generally a lot of sodium in just a small serving size.
Granola bars can be another excellent healthy travel snack option if you choose the right one. The healthier options include protein from nuts and sweetness from honey or other natural sources.
Watch out for candy bars posing as granola bars. These are loaded in sugar and chocolate chips and offer little nutritional value. Sure, they taste great, but they’re no different than the Snickers bar at the checkout line.
While chocolate in granola bars is generally something you want to avoid, some include healthier dark chocolate. This is lower in sugar and can give the bar some added flavor without packing on the bad carbs.
Cheese, in moderation, is a great snack. It’s generally relatively low in calories but high in protein and calcium. You can usually find individual string cheese packages in the cooler at a gas station or convenience store. Because it‘s a milk-based product and could spoil if left in the car too long, only buy what you plan to consume over the next few hours.
Remember that cheese is also pretty high in saturated and dietary fat. While most people don’t need to be overly concerned with these in moderation, some health problems require people to limit these.
Hard-boiled eggs are loaded in protein and other nutrients while being void of sugars and bad carbs. This makes them an excellent snacking option that you can pick up in the cooler section of most gas stations and convenience stores. Don’t buy more than you can eat in a few hours, as they can go bad in the hot car.
Remember, while eggs are a healthy snack, they are packed with cholesterol, and some health issues may require you to limit this. In this case, eat only the egg white and give the yolk to someone else or throw it away. This will provide you with plenty of protein and other nutrients with none of the cholesterol.
Sunflower seeds are another great healthy road trip snack. They are packed with protein, iron, fiber, and other nutrients while remaining low in sugars, cholesterol, and other bad things. Plus, they come in a variety of flavors to satisfy all palates.
You can usually find many varieties of unshelled sunflower seeds at most gas stations and convenience stores. We recommend avoiding the shelled variety, as the shells can be quite messy and get stuck in the car seats.
Watch your serving size, though. There can be multiple servings in one sunflower seed pouch, which can pack lots of calories and fat. Also, watch out for sweet flavors, as these may be loaded in added sugars.
Now that you’ve got the healthy road trip snacks under control, you need a healthy pre-owned car for your next road trip. While we can’t help you with the snacks, Clutch does have a wide selection of quality, affordable pre-owned vehicles to ensure your next road trip is smooth.
All our vehicles endure a 210-point inspection and reconditioning process and include a 90-day or 6,000-km warranty. Plus, you’ll get a 10-day or 750-km test-own period. If you don’t love your Clutch vehicle during this period, you can return it for a refund or exchange it for another vehicle.
Check out our expansive online inventory of quality pre-owned vehicles and choose one that suits you. You can complete the purchasing process online and even get an offer for your trade-in vehicle. We’ll help set up the financing and deliver the vehicle to you — no need to set foot in a dealership.