When you think about the best road trip snacks, you may picture yourself raiding the aisles of gas stations for candy bars, cookies, chips, sodas, and slushies. Indulging in these treats on one road trip probably won’t have much of an impact on your waistline, but if you only eat these foods and are cramped in a car all day, you may not feel your best. That can be a problem if you have planned any physical activities or simply want to feel your best to be present for quality time with friends or family. That’s why many of us think the best road trip snacks are nutritious and healthy ones that provide slow-burning fuel and power us through whatever fun activities await at our destination.
Whether you’ve got holiday travel planned or suddenly decide to go on an impromptu road trip with your besties, healthy eating does not have to take a backseat. At Powerful Nutrition, our nutrition experts have you covered with the definitive guide to the best road trip snacks.
What Healthy Snacks Should You Bring on a Road Trip?
Most of us are passionate about food and don’t let anything get between us and our snackies, and road trip snacks are no different. The best road trip snacks strike a balance between taste, convenience, and nutrition. No one wants to eat messy foods or juggle multiple containers while driving or sitting in a cramped car. For the sake of your car’s upholstery, avoid foods like fried chicken, barbecue, powdered donuts, saucy noodle dishes, and soups that can make a mess.
Good nutrition can help you feel your best and power through those hours of driving. A healthy road trip snack is:
- High in protein
- Rich in fiber
- Minimally processed
- Lacking in added sugars
However, no one wants to feel deprived on a road trip, and a few extra indulgences can make our trip feel more special. Feel free to bring along a few portion-controlled snacks that are more decadent and allow yourself to stop at a favorite restaurant along your route.
Once you have decided on what you want to bring, you can pack your cooler. Getting your favorite foods and drinks will save time and money, make you feel better, and ensure you always have foods you enjoy on hand.
Safely Eating While Driving
If you eat while driving, it takes your focus off the road and can be dangerous. If you have a copilot on your trip, you can alternate driving shifts and eat whenever the other person is driving for your safety. You can also pull over at a rest stop or park for a quick picnic whenever you get hungry. Some drivers eat while behind the wheel and choose to have passengers handle distracting tasks like removing food packaging or adding condiments.
Road Trip Breakfast Ideas
A leisurely breakfast is nice, but when you’ve got to get on the road, you need quick, portable, and healthy breakfast foods. Once you’ve got breakfast settled, just make sure you don’t spill the coffee.
Instant oatmeal or overnight oats are a tasty and portable breakfast option. Some premade versions come in a convenient container for grab-and-go eating, or you can turn your homemade oatmeal into a portable snack by transferring it to a glass or plastic container. You can even find premade high-protein oatmeal, so you can get good macros on the go.
Whether you get some at the store or cut up your own, fruit salad is a refreshing and light breakfast that won’t weigh you down during travel. You can make your fruit salad extra special by drizzling it with honey or topping it with chopped mint or citrus zest.
Egg muffins. Egg cups. Egg bites. Mini frittatas. No matter what you call them, this healthy breakfast food trend is all the rage. You can make your own at home or pick some up at the store. Reheat this convenient food at home before you head out on the road or pop them in the microwave at your motel or a nearby gas station.
Chia Seed Pudding
Packed with protein and fiber, this snack can be flavored in many different ways to suit your tastes: chocolate, matcha, banana pudding, chai, and many more. Just top it with fruit and nuts.
Cookies for breakfast?! Dreams do come true! Breakfast cookies are often made using rolled oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and sugar-free syrups. You can boost the protein content by finding a recipe that uses protein powder.
If you want to make your carton of yogurt more fun, layer it with fruits, nuts, seeds, dark chocolate chips, and sugar-free jams or syrup to make a parfait.
Road Trip Snack Ideas
When you’re trying to resist temptations at the gas station, you need enticing healthy snacks that can stand up to your favorite salty and sweet snacks. Check out our list of road trip snack ideas.
Dark Chocolate-Covered Almonds
Rich and indulgent, dark chocolate-covered almonds are a heart-healthy snack that gives you sweet and salty flavor profiles with a satisfying crunch. If almonds aren’t your thing, try some trail mix instead.
Bananas and oranges are the ideal portable snack, and they come in their own organic wrapping, so there’s no need to dirty a container for them.
No worries if you forget to pack some. This is one gas station staple that you can afford to indulge in. Jerky can be high in sodium, so you may want to avoid it if you restrict your sodium intake.
High Protein Bites
On-the-go snacking can require some planning on the keto diet. Thankfully, premade snacks like high protein bites make it easy.
Ready-to-drink protein shakes are a portable and convenient drink that can help you as many grams of protein as you need for the day no matter where you are.
Sandwich or Wrap
You may think of these foods as lunch items, but lighter sandwiches can make a great snack. Whip up some turkey and swiss sliders on whole wheat buns and wrap each one individually in plastic wrap for the perfect, compact road snack, or pack a hummus and veggie sandwich on sprouted grain bread.
Quick tips for preventing those soggy sandwich blues:
- Spread condiments or butter on parts of bread that touch the filling.
- Toast the bread.
- Pack ingredients separately and assemble them right before eating.
- Use wraps or crusty bread instead of sandwich bread.
If road trips and candy go hand in hand for you, there are some excellent sugar-free options at your local grocery store. From Swedish fish to peach rings, there are many low or no sugar candies to choose from to satisfy your sweet tooth. Dried fruit can also be a good alternative if you want a more natural alternative to your favorite sugary sweets.
Bring along a bag of premade popcorn for a low-calorie, high-fiber snack. From truffle oil to sweet and salty, you are sure to find a flavor profile that you like.
Roasted Green Pea Snacks
These snacks are the perfect alternative if you love potato chips but aren’t crazy about their macros. They give you the crunch you crave and come in spicy and tasty flavor profiles like wasabi and sriracha. Find them in Asian grocery stores, the ethnic foods aisle at your local supermarket, or online. Alternately, you can make some at home.
It’s not just for kids! String cheese is high in protein and comes in sealed packaging that ensures it will not become waterlogged in your cooler.
At Powerful Nutrition, we want to help you fuel up no matter where you are headed. Check out our high protein foods that make healthy eating easy both on the road and at home.