It's easy to forget your healthy habits while traveling. These best road trip snacks should help with that.
Whether you're traveling in the spring, summer, fall, or winter, a road trip is always a good idea. But you're in a car, on a plane, or riding in a train, it's easy to mindlessly snack while traveling. It's even easier if most of your snacks come from gas stations and rest stop vending machines. However, just because you're on the road doesn't mean you need to snack on a bunch of junk!
Sticking to healthy, wholesome road trip snacks will help elevate your mood and keep you motivated for long drives. Additionally, healthy road trip snacks help balance out your diet so you can enjoy New Orleans gumbo or In-N-Out Burger once you hit Cali.
There's no reason to get off your usual diet just because you're traveling. Also, preparing your own road trip snacks saves money. It's a win-win situation for everyone! Get ready for your next long drive by packing up these delicious, healthy road trip snacks.
Protein is one of the easy food groups to forget about on a road trip. You won't find much of it in a bag of chips, a sports bar, or a Sheetz smoothie. And let's face it – those are three pretty popular (and delicious) options for road trip snacks.
Did you know that protein makes up every cell in your body? in fact, hair and nails are made mostly of protein. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. It's also used to make enzymes, hormones, and is good for the health of your bones, muscles, skin, blood, everything. So you can see why it's pretty important to keep in your diet, even when you're spending days on the road.
Eating plenty of protein-filled road trip snacks will also help keep you full longer. That means less stops, less money spent, and more time exploring new places. Here are some of the best protein snacks us writers at Trekbible like to munch on.
Yogurt is a great choice when looking for protein-rich road trip snacks. However, keep in mind that not all yogurt is made the same. Many brands that claim to be “healthy” yogurt options are actually full of sugar and other bad stuff.
So when you're looking for the best yogurt brands, search for the higher fat versions with less sugar. A few options include Fage Total 2% Plain Yogurt, Siggi's, and Maple Hill Creamery Greek Yogurt. There are also plenty of healthy dairy-free yogurts to resort to.
If plain greek yogurt isn't your jam, don't cross it off your list of road trip snacks just yet! You can easily jazz up plain yogurt with fruit, nuts, and healthy granola.
2. Meat Jerky
Credit: Keegan Evans
If you're a vegan or veg-head, you can go ahead and skip to the next when. However if you're a meat-eater, jerky is one of the best healthy road trip snacks for you. And we're not talking about Slim Jims. We're talking about jerky bars made with real meat, little sugar, and without much additives.
There are a lot of delicious and healthy jerky options to choose from. Some of our favorite jerky products come from Strive Foods, Epic Meat Bars, and Nick's Sticks. All of these options make for great protein-rich bites for healthy road trip snacks!
However, if you are a vegan or a vegetarian, there are a lot of meat-free jerky options out there too!
3. Nuts and Trail Mix
Trail mix is probably one of the most quintessential road trip snacks. It can come in so many flavors, from sweet to salty to tropical. Also, it's delicious and easy to grab whether you're driving or in the passenger seat.
But just as with the snacks above, not all trail mix is worth your time. Unfortunately, a lot of the unhealthiest trail mix and nut options are also the cheapest. Because of that, travelers are more likely to opt for these during road trips. If you can help it, though, stick away from brands like Great Value, Kirkland Signature Trail Mix, and of course, Chex Mix. Let's be real: Chex Mix is not a trail mix.
If you want to opt for healthy trail mix to add to your list of road trip snacks, consider making your own! It can save you a lot of money to buy ingredients in bulk and mix it together yourself. Plus, this way you know exactly what you're eating with every bite.
4. Hard Boiled Eggs
People are usually most surprised by this suggestion for healthy road trip snacks. But if you have a cooler and a little prep time, this is one the the best snacks to keep on hand. If you're paranoid about your cholesterol, you'll be happy to know that eggs are not as bad for that as you might think. In fact, eggs have a lot of nutritional benefits.
Another reason we think hard boiled eggs are one of the best road trip snacks is because they're cheap. If you go for store brand eggs, you can purchase a dozen for just a dollar. If you opt for free-range, organic eggs, you can still get a good amount of road trip snacks for just a few bucks.
Whether you like 'em soft, medium, or hard boiled, eggs are one of the best healthy road trip snacks of all time.
5. Protein Bars
Protein bars are one of the easiest road trip snacks to grab at a gas station. But they can also be one of the most deceivingly unhealthy road trip snacks you can buy. Just because Nature Valley granola bars are delicious doesn't mean they're going to provide enough protein on the road.
In fact, eating some of the unhealthiest protein bars is equivalent to snacking on candy. Unfortunately, a lot of protein bar brands are disguised as being healthy. For example, ThinkThin, SimplyProtein, and ZONE protein bars are some of the worst.
If you want to purchase high-quality, healthy protein bars, stick to brands like Kind Bars and Primal Kitchen. These are road trip snacks you won't regret buying. But, for a cheaper option of course, we challenge you to make your own!
Fruits and Veggies
Just because you're hitting the road doesn't mean you have to ditch your fruits and vegetables! In fact, fruits and veggies may be some of the easiest road trip snacks to prepare. In most cases, all you have to do is buy them and maybe cut them up. That's it. Preparation for your road trip snacks is over.
That being said… There are still a few unhealthy “fruit and vegetable” snacks out there to be wary of. Here are some packaged and unpackaged snack ideas for your trip.
1. Whole Fruits and Vegetables
Bananas, clementines, oranges… You get the picture. These are some of the easiest fruits to pack on the road. People tend to be pickier when it comes to vegetables, so it's dealer's choice there. But if you want our opinion, cucumbers, peppers, celery, and snap peas are eat to cut, bag, and grab while driving.
If you can, try to avoid pre-packaged fruits and vegetables. It may be easier to pick these up, but it's much healthy to purchase your own fruits and veggies and pack them yourself.
2. Vegetable Chips
Credit: Jay Cross
Veggie chips are one of the easiest road trip snacks to grab. They're crunchy and easy to munch on. And, they're a great way help reach your vegetable intake for the day.
There are a lot of great healthy options out there. Even if you're not a fan of kale, we recommend trying out some kale chips. Some of our favorites include Rhythm Superfoods Kale Chips. They make it easy to stay health on the road by providing healthy packaged kale snacks in a lot of great flavors. Fan-favorites include ranch, honey mustard, and zesty nacho. These road trip snacks are even healthier because they're roasted, not fried. This makes Rhythm Superfood snacks low in fat and high in nutrients.
But keep in mind that not all vegetable chips are good for you! Just because a bag of chips says they're made with sweet potatoes or quinoa doesn't mean they're healthy. Be wary of these brands while you're on the road.
3. Fruit Snacks
We're pretty sure everyone loves fruit snacks. What's not to love about them? They're sweet, juicy, and easy to eat during long road trips. And luckily, there are a lot of healthy fruit snack options out there to choose from!
So while you're writing up your list of healthy road trip snacks, keep Nothing But The Fruit in mind. These pureed and pressed bite-sized treats will remind you of the fruit snacks of your childhood. Another great fruit snack option comes from Matt's Munchies. These fruit snacks are free of anything artificial. Also, they're naturally vegan and USDA-certified organic.
Again, just because a label says “banana chips” or “apple crisps” doesn't mean they're healthy. Do your research on healthy brands and purchase them in advance. Because chances are the fruit snacks you see at gas stations aren't as healthy as you think!
4. Dried Fruit
Credit: Harold Litwiler
Dried fruit is one of the healthiest road trip snacks of all time. And they're easy to buy in bulk. This is easy to do at the start of your trip and will help you save money down the road (pun always intended.)
One of our favorite dried fruit snacks come from Made In Nature. Their Figgy Pops are delicious balls made from figs, seeds, nuts, spices, and a variety of other fruits. If you want to buy dried fruit on the road, try to find a Trader Joe's. Their Dried Fruit Variety Packs are made from real fruit and are made without any additives.
But remember that these snacks can be high in sugar. If you are a diabetic or simply looking to limit your sugar intake, keep this tip in mind.
Salads can be deceiving. And just because it has lettuce in it doesn't mean the salad is healthy. However, salads are one of the easiest snacks or meals to grab on the go. They're sold everywhere, from grocery stores to gas stations to fast food restaurants.
If you want to stick to healthy road trip snacks, then make sure you're only eating wholesome salads. And yes, you can get a healthy salad at McDonald's. If you know which one to look for.
The best way to keep your salad healthy on the road is to limit any “add-ons.” This includes ranch packets, cheese, croutons – you know what we mean. And no, Chick-fil-A sauce is not a salad dressing. No matter how delicious it might be.
We know how tempting it can be to grab a soda or Gatorade while making a pit stop. But sugary drinks are on of the worst road trip snacks you can buy. We always advise sticking to water, black coffee, or tea for healthy drink options.
But we understand that sometimes you just need to sip on something different. If you're getting bored with water and black coffee, try some of these healthy drinks. They're refreshing and make for great road trips snacks as you cruise down Route 66.
1. Coconut Water
Coconut water can be found at most gas stations. And there are a lot of benefits from drinking coconut water. It's a great source of nutrients, a sweet source of hydration, and is chock-full of electrolytes. Because of this, coconut water is a great post-workout snack. It's also great to sip on if you feel light-headed or have a headache coming on.
So if somewhere along the road you pull over to hike and explore the great outdoors, consider packing a coconut water with you. Some of our favorite healthy coconut water brands are Zico and Harmless Harvest. It's best if you purchase original flavors if you want the healthiest coconut water option.
But as with every other snack on this list, not all coconut water makes for healthy road trip snacks. Brands like Naked Juice and Vita Coco have tricky labels. They often say the coconut water is “100% pure.” In reality, they have been pasteurized and contain carrageenan, which can lead to gut issues. And the last thing you want on a road trip is a stomach ache!
2. Almond Milk
This is one of our favorite healthy road trip snacks. And it's easy to pack and drink on the go. Almond milk and other non-dairy milks have so many health benefits. It is low in calories, high in nutrients, and unsweetened almond milk doesn't raise blood sugar.
But we know what you might be thinking. Why would I bring a carton of milk on a road trip? How does this make the list of healthy and easy road trip snacks? Well lucky for you, Almond Breeze sells single-serving almond milk containers. So all you have to do is put a straw into a mini milk carton and you're good to go!
Almond Breeze has a few flavors, including unsweetened, original, and chocolate. And the chocolate flavor is of course our favorite. It's also a good go-to for travelers who want to stick to healthy road trip snacks but are craving something a little sweet.
3. Coffee Drinks
We don't need to tell you that not all coffee drinks are healthy. And of course, some of the yummiest coffee drinks are the unhealthiest of them all. The healthiest coffee drink you can sip on is black coffee. If you don't always want to pull off to get in a caffeine-fix, perhaps consider packing some coffee before you leave.
There are a lot of great canned and bottled coffee options out there. Stumptown Cold Brew canned coffee is one of our favorites! And all it is is black coffee. It's healthy and delicious. But we know that not everyone takes their coffee black. To solves this problem, you can always add a little bit of your almond milk to your coffee drink. But if you don't want to do this, we understand.
There are still healthy coffee drinks out there that aren't black. UCC Original Brand Coffee is canned and has some milk in it to alleviate the bitterness. And you can buy it online before you go!
4. Seltzer Water
Sometimes you just need a little bubbly. And no, we don't suggest getting a soda to fix this craving. Instead, why not try a little seltzer water? This is one of the most accessible healthy road trip snacks out there. Seltzer water can be found at pretty much any gas station.
This is another one of those road trip snacks that you can keep in a cooler to easily have on hand. There are so many seltzer water options out there. The best seltzer water are the brands without any added sugar. La Croix and SpinDrift are two healthy seltzer water options to take on the road. The only ingredients in these two are carbonated water and natural flavors.
And as a bonus, there's no sugar in La Croix. There is just a little bit of sugar in SpinDrift, and that's just comes from the natural sugars from the added fruit.
5. Natural Sodas
Credit: Mike Mozart
We get it. Sometimes all you want is a soda. And nothing else out there will fix this craving. Well, if you do go for a soda drink, at least opt for a healthier brand! There are actually a few soda brands out there that make for healthy road trip snacks.
Zevia is one of the best healthy sodas to buy. But it's tough to find at gas stations and pit stops, so we advise buying a pack in advance. Zevia was the first soda brand to use stevia, combining the leaf extract with citric acid, carbonated water, and natural flavors. Another great option is Q Club Superior. But this brand is even harder to find on the road, so you will definitely want to buy it in advance!
If neither of these soda options suit your fancy, that's totally fine. It's okay to have soda every so often. But if you do grab a soda on the road, do us a favor and don't get diet soda. It might seem “healthier” than a regular Coca Cola, but it's not. It's one of the unhealthiest road trip snacks you can pack.
Let's face it, you can't go on a road trip without having something sweet to munch on! In fact, we think it's a road trip rule that something chocolatey and sugary needs to be in the car at all times. But that doesn't mean you can't be healthy about your sweet choices.
Instead of grabbing a candy bar at a gas station, consider packing these healthy road trip snacks. We promise they'll be just as satisfying as Skittles or a Snickers. And they'll leave you feeling better than any candy bar a gas station can offer.
1. Dark Chocolate
There are so many health benefits to dark chocolate. Because it's made from the seed of the cocoa tree, it is one of the best sources of antioxidants in the world. But be aware that a lot of the dark chocolate on the market is not healthy!
If you want to buy some dark chocolate for your pack of road trip snacks, choose quality products. Always look for dark chocolate with a 70% or higher cocoa content. But if you can find chocolate with a higher cocoa content, that's even better. Some of the healthiest dark chocolate brands out there are Pascha Chocolate, Endangered Species, and Green & Blacks.
But there are a lot of dark chocolate brands out there that will try to trick you. Just because a Hershey's bar says it's dark chocolate doesn't mean it ranks with the healthy road trip snacks. To help you find the healthiest brands, check out this guide on how to find the best dark chocolate!
Not all cookies are unhealthy. In fact, there are a lot of delicious brands out there that we love! And a lot of companies out there are now making cookies with dietary restrictions in mind. It's so easy to find healthy takes on chocolate chip, double chocolate, snickerdoodle cookies, and more. And a lot of these brands can be found with gluten-free and vegan ingredients.
Some of the best healthy cookie brands out there includes Simple Mills Chocolate Chip Crunchy Cookies. These cookies are made with a nut flour blend that features almonds, coconuts, tiger nuts, and hardly any other ingredients. And that means it's a cookie you can feel good about eating! Another great cookie-option for healthy road trip snacks come from Udi's. These brown-rice-based cookies are gluten-free, chewy, and delicious.
But as always, we challenge you to make your own! Not only is it cheaper to make your own healthy cookies, it also makes for a fun pre-road trip activity.
That's right – there are some healthy candy options out there! There's a boat load of healthy candy brands ready for you to buy. And a lot of them you can find at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and easier to find stores like Walmart. So if you're on the road already and craving something sweet, you can easily pull off and find something good.
For a healthy take on a Reece's Cup, try out Justin's Peanut Butter Cups. Justin's sells travel-sized portions of this healthy sweet snack that's even easy to have on hand when traveling. But if you don't want the chocolate, you can also simply purchase travel-sized packets of Justin's nut butter. Who said peanut and almond butter can't be a dessert?
If you're more interested in something sweet and sour, we've got you covered. SmartSweets Sour Buddies Fun Packs are yummy gummy treats to purchase. And as and added bonus, one pack contains an entire day's worth of fiber! Healthy candy options are easier to find than you'd think. And if you do a little bit of research, you'll have no problem adding candy to your list of healthy road trip snacks!
Cereal can double as both your breakfast and sweet treat for the day. And it can still count as one of your healthy road trip snacks! There are a lot of great cereal brands to choose from. As a rule, we advise buying something whole-grain and free of corn syrup.
A high-protein and healthy cereal option is Kashi GOLEAN cereal. You can easily purchase this before your trip or at a grocery store on the way. And, it can substitute for granola when you snack on your healthy yogurt. Another great go-to cereal option is Puffins Breakfast Cereal from Barbara's Bakery. Also, this is a great gluten-free option for travelers with dietary restrictions.
Finally, don't discredit some classic cereal options just yet. In fact, original Cheerios is one of the healthier and easier to find cereal options out there. Plus, this is one of the cheaper cereal brands that you can find while keeping healthy road trip snacks in mind!
5. Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds
We know, we know. We've already covered both nuts AND dark chocolate in this post. But they're both so good, that we had to bring them up again! Plus, dark chocolate covered nuts are one of the healthiest road trip snacks out there. Not only will this sweet fill you up on antioxidants, but it'll also provide you with some healthy fats for the day.
But be sure you're only purchasing the best, highest quality brands. Simple Truth dark chocolate covered almonds can be found at most regional grocery stores. Woodstock is another popular and easy to find brand when you're on the road.
But if you're a vegan or on a strictly dairy-free diet, be careful. A lot of the dark chocolate covered nuts you can purchase in bulk food sections actually have some dairy in them. Also, be wary of Brookside products. Their dark chocolate covered fruits tend to have traces of dairy in them, as well.
Sticking to healthy road trip snacks is great. But don't be afraid to indulge.
It's never a bad idea to stick to healthier road trip snacks. But that doesn't mean you aren't allowed to indulge! The point of going on a road trip is to live a little. And that rule doesn't just apply to sightseeing. One of the best parts of traveling is being able to try new foods, no matter how “healthy” they are or not.
Don't be afraid to eat something that may be considered unhealthy during your road trip. Because eating new dishes is one of the best parts of traveling. And one of the best ways to experience a new place and its culture is through its food.
In conclusion: Being healthy is great. But so is trying new things. Eat what makes you happy and you're going to have the most perfect road trip of your life.
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