Road trips are a wild ride, right? But like any journey, you gotta prep for it. It’s not just about the tunes and the route – it’s about what you’re gonna munch on.
Trust me, the veterans of the open road know this, and that’s why I’m dropping this knowledge on you. You want your travel snacks to be no-fuss, portable, and, most importantly, delicious and nutritious.
Dive in with me, and let’s talk about the ultimate road trip fuel.
- Grab-and-go snacks like trail mix, hummus, crackers, and granola bars are clutch for road trips.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables for essential vitamins and nutrients.
- Clean, pure water, free from added sugars or artificial stuff, is your best drink choice.
- For coffee lovers: Get your hands on some pre-packaged cold brews before hitting the road.
- No surprise here: McDonald’s Big Mac with fries and a Coke tops the list of go-to junk food favorites.
What people say on Reddit
Celery-aholic here. You’ve got to keep it cold or else it goes limp and rubbery. Same thing happens if it gets too cold (as in partially frozen…which happened when I put it in the mini-fridge of one of our hotels due to the fridge’s settings). Aside from that…wonderful!
Jicama slices are great! I learned about jicama just a couple of months ago on here and my first try with it was pre-chopped from Kroger. These are best if kept in a cooler, but I haven’t found any issues if they get room temp.
Cauliflower florets and bags of baby carrots are also good. I’m sure broccoli is okay, too, but my stomach can’t handle raw broccoli anymore.
And almond windmill cookies and/or vanilla creme cookies from the Dollar Store, if you crave something sweet. There’s a humourous story about how I found that out. The windmill cookies are fab dipped into coffee or hot tea. Wishing safe travels to the OP!QueenoftheWaterways2
Nuts (almonds, peanuts, cashews), fruit (strawberries, grapes, cut watermelon, peeled oranges), granola bars (homemade would be your best option especially if you want to control the ingredients), yogurt (freeze ahead of time), veggies (sliced cucumbers, grape tomatoes, carrots, sliced peppers), cubed cheese, hard boiled eggsvkm5028
When my wife and I went to Minneapolis last year for a wedding, we took a small cooler with cold sugar snap peas and ate those as a snack. They’re so refreshing and crunchy in the heat, they satisfy the snacking urge so well. We also brought some dark chocolate for the inevitable road rage 🙂kaijujube
I travel about 12 hours every summer with both my kids, and we like to pack a cooler bag with mozzarella cheese sticks, carrot sticks, yogurt, apple slices, grapes, blueberries, etc. I also carry a dry snack bag with things like crackers, pretzels, trail mix as posted already, and usually some type of treat because it’s nice after a long day of driving 🙂SpyMistress2017
Pre-Packaged Snacks for Road Trip
Prepackaged snacks have been a real boon in recent years because they are convenient and easy to take on the go, but remember that not all of them are healthy, and not all of them are satisfying for various reasons, as they may differ from home-cooked foods. Some may contain excess calories, sugar, salt, fat, or preservatives and may be unbalanced in protein, fat, and carbohydrates or insufficient fiber and vitamins. Here are some of the best ready-to-eat road trip snacks based on nutritional value and maximum convenience.
Trail mix is a classic snack that includes nuts, dried fruit, seeds, and sometimes chocolate and candy. It is valuable because it is rich in protein, healthy fats, antioxidants, and minerals that keep you alert and energized. However, suppose you’re thinking about being overweight. In that case, it’s not a good snack for you because it can be high in calories and sugar, so research the composition of the snack, portion it out, and avoid mixes with artificial sweeteners and artificial ingredients. A good option is Happy Belly Nut, Chocolate & Dried Fruit Mix, which comes in sealed bag and contains a variety of nuts such as peanuts, almonds, cashews, raisins, and milk chocolate candies.
As a great appetizer, you can try hummus, which is a creamy dip made from chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. It is a complete source of vegetable protein, fiber, micronutrients, and especially iron and vitamin C. You can use low-fat pretzels as the base on which you will spread the hummus.
They form a hearty appetizer that will give you a feeling of satiety for a long time. I can recommend the ready-made Sabra hummus snack with pretzels. One package contains 10 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber per serving. This snack is not suitable for air travel, as it exceeds the allowed amount of liquid.
Hummus will also go well with any chips you like. A great choice will be Pringles chips, which you can take with you on a trip.
Cheese crackers is another classic snack that is balanced in protein, fat, and carbohydrates and rich in calcium. Cheese, in general, is a fermented milk product that is a source of calcium that helps you feel full. Steamed crackers with cheese will provide you with fiber and energy. A great, ready-made, delicious option can be cheese crackers.
But my advice to you: choose low-fat varieties of cheese and crackers are better whole grains. Also, avoid excessive sodium in cheese, so try to find low-salt cheeses.
Nut Butter Cups are sweet treats made with nut butter, peanut butter, or almond butter and covered in chocolate. They are rich in protein, healthy fats, antioxidants, and magnesium, which can help you feel good and relax. However, they are high in calories, so eat them in moderation and choose brands that contain dark chocolate and natural butter.
While you can make your own Rice Krispie Treats, you can also buy them pre-packaged. They’re another sugary treat, but they’re delicious! When packing your car, just make sure to include wet wipes.
If you have a sweet tooth, you can take cookies on the road. Just remember to vacuum the car afterward. Cookies for kids are a great road trip treat! But keep in mind that an excess of carbohydrates can be harmful to children, so keep portions in check.
Indulge yourself and buy chocolate chip granola bars on the road because they are so delicious, and traditional granola bars are a great snack on the road because they contain cereal and protein.
Nuts (or a trail mix for more carbohydrates) are my favorite food for 1-2 day trips. They are easy to eat while riding, and they contain a lot of energy per volume, so one bag of energy will last you for two days.
One of my friends likes cold pizza, so he makes a whole bunch the day before to put in the fridge for when he goes out. You can try it as a very satisfying snack option for the road.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Fresh fruits and vegetables are an important part of the traveler’s diet, providing vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants to help maintain good health and energy while traveling. They also add freshness, flavor, and variety to your diet, making it more enjoyable and satisfying.
However, it is important to remember that not all fruits and vegetables are suitable for traveling, as some spoil quickly, some crumple easily, and some require cooking. Therefore, when traveling, choose more durable fruits and vegetables that are easier to eat and can be stored at room temperature or in a refrigerator if one is available during the trip.
Apples stored at room temperature for many days or weeks are convenient to transport. Rich in fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants, apples help with digestion and boost the immune system. They also prevent spiking of blood sugar levels while providing a feeling of satiety. They can be eaten whole or sliced and added to yogurt for extra protein.
Oranges are also great for the road. Rich in vitamin C, folate, and minerals, they help protect against oxidative stress and infection. They will help you stay hydrated and fresh. Eating them whole, peeling them, and cutting them into slices is more convenient, but do not forget the wet wipes that will help you stay clean and not sticky from orange juice.
Bananas are a popular travel food because they are easy to clean, eat, and dispose of peels. They are a good energy source of carbohydrates, potassium, and vitamin B6, which aids muscle function and metabolism. They are also rich in antioxidants. But choose slightly unripe fruits on the road, as there is a chance that they will last longer during the trip. Bananas are high in sugar and can cause blood sugar spikes. Combining bananas with other products, such as yogurt, seeds, or nuts, is better to ensure a more extended release of energy from this food.
Other options for traveling fruit are grapes and dried fruit; for example, I like to take dried mango or melon, prunes, and raisins.
Sliced vegetables, such as small tomatoes, cucumbers, and various types of peppers, are an excellent addition to protein foods, such as yogurt, eggs, sandwiches, or pies.
- Cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches are trendy here on trips and camping trips. You can cook them on your lap (on a small cutting board or plate) while your partner drives.
- Vegetable strips are very convenient as you can take vegetables with you. For example, you can take pre-sliced carrots or peppers with you.
Protein Snacks to Take on a Road Trip
Protein snacks help keep you feeling fuller for longer, which not only makes for a hearty snack but also helps to curb hunger to help you maintain a healthy weight. This is especially important during a long road trip, when you may not have the opportunity to exercise much, and excess carbohydrates can lead to blood sugar fluctuations, especially for those concerned about it.
Protein snacks protect you from eating fast food and other unhealthy foods that may be available along the way. Protein is essential for the health of your muscles, metabolism, and overall immune system.
One of the most convenient and tasty protein snacks I’ve found for traveling is Beef Jerky that is dried meat that has been seasoned with spices and curled. It is a high-protein snack that helps you build muscle mass and repair tissue after exercise. It’s a great choice for keto and low-carb diets, especially for those who don’t want to gain weight from high-calorie snacks. The main danger, however, is the high salt and preservative content. So, choose brands with minimal artificial additives and maximum natural ingredients. Teriyaki beef jerky is an excellent choice. It is made with lean beef, soy sauce, honey, garlic, and ginger.
You can buy ready-made beef jerky here.
Homemade turkey, chicken, salmon, venison or elk jerky is also the best snack on the road. You don’t have to stop eating it; it can quickly satisfy your hunger if you don’t like quitting.
A good place to start with is Alton Brown’s jerky recipe.
You can make jerky in a convection oven if you can turn the heat down low enough (it might be too hot; not enough airflow). You can cobble something with a box fan, but a proper dehydrator produces better results. Most big box stores should have an inexpensive dehydrator available.
I can also recommend cold fried chicken from my experience! If you have a fridge, take it with you. Do it the day before and put it in the fridge.
Hard-boiled eggs are an excellent source of protein, healthy fats, and choline, which supports brain function. You can boil them and take them whole, and you can also peel them from the shell in advance and sprinkle them with salt or spices. And it is better to store them in the refrigerator.
You may do a variety of deviled eggs for a road trip because they’re so easy to eat while driving. Use kewpie mayo in the yolks and add chives and hot chili paste. It’s tasty, and the spice helps you stay awake on the road!
Protein bars are a portable protein snack and a source of other nutrients. Check the ingredient list, as many contain high amounts of sugar, artificial sweeteners, or harmful oils. Protein bars from natural products such as nuts, seeds, dried fruit, egg whites, and oats are preferable.
String cheese is a low-carb snack that is rich in protein and calcium. You can combine it with fresh vegetables for a balanced diet. Other types of cheese are also great, such as cream cheese or cottage cheese.
Mini fajitas are mixed snack with high protein content when traveling! Season and fry a few pieces of chicken and chopped peppers, then wrap in a tortilla with chipotle mayonnaise, cheese, and spicy chaloula hot sauce. Packaged individually, ten pieces are usually enough for a ten-hour road trip, and they’re good at room temperature or chilled in the refrigerator.
Hydration: Drinks and Fluids
Hydration is replenishing the water you lose in the process of vital activity. It is necessary to feel good to help regulate body temperature, and lack of water in the human body can lead to fatigue, headaches, muscle cramps, and even loss of consciousness. Therefore, we need to drink enough fluids throughout the day, especially in extreme travel conditions. The general rule is to drink about 2 liters of water per day. The healthiest drink is pure water, which contains no calories, sugar, dyes, or other artificial additives.
If pure water seems fresh to you, you can add lemon juice, sometimes a pinch of salt, to maintain sodium balance, which is very important in heat conditions and increased sweating. Lemon water is rich in vitamin C, which boosts the immune system. Sports drinks containing electrolytes are also a good option for travelers. They help prevent muscle cramps and dehydration because they can contain electrolytes. However, they may contain sugar, sweeteners, extra calories, flavors, and colors. They are recommended for heavy sweating during exercise and travel.
Popular drinks such as tea, especially green or herbal tea, and coffee can be moisturizing if you drink them without adding a lot of sugar, cream, or milk. However, since these drinks contain caffeine, they stimulate the nervous system and can lead to insomnia. If you are tired during the road, this will help you cheer yourself up a little, but this process cannot be endless, and your reserves will be depleted in the end. They may also have a diuretic effect, meaning you will lose water.
Watermelon juice is an excellent drink for hydration. You can make it by mixing pieces of watermelon fresh or frozen with a bit of water and ice. Green smoothies are nutritious and moisturizing drinks that you can prepare by mixing leafy greens (spinach, lettuce, cilantro, celery) with fruits (bananas, apples, berries) and adding water. They are rich in fiber and water, minerals and trace elements, and will support your forks during the road. Prepare them in advance and place them in a container in the refrigerator. As needed, you will be able to hydrate and restore your strength.
I would not advise you to drink Coca-Cola or Pepsi, Fanta, Sprite, and energy drinks while traveling, as they contain an excess of caffeine, carbohydrates, dyes, and artificial substances, which will create the effect of freshness, but in the end, will lead your body to even greater fatigue from stimulation and overstrain of its reserves.
Healthy Road Trip Food
Healthy snacks consist of foods low in fat and sugar and high in fiber and water. In this case, if you consume fewer calories, you will stay full longer. That means an apple is a healthier snack than a bag of chips. Choose fruits, vegetables, whole grain snacks, and low-fat dairy products. Try to remove foods and drinks with high sugar content from the diet, for example, Coca-Cola and other sweet carbonated drinks that many love. Try to follow these rules while traveling, if you take care of your health, for instance, while traveling by car or train, you have low energy costs, and there is no need to overdo it with high-calorie foods, another thing is if you went on a mountain hike, then you can increase the calorie content of your diet.
Grains such as quinoa, rice, corn, oats, and wheat are high in carbohydrates, fiber, B vitamins, and protein, so their products can be recommended as healthy snacks. For example, granola bars, crackers, pretzels, and cookies are healthy and filling road trip food.
Weetabix whole grain cereal cookies are non-GMO, heart-healthy, kosher, and vegan – perfect for a healthy and satisfying snack.
Popcorn, for example, is a great whole-grain snack high in fiber and antioxidants. You can add spices like cinnamon, turmeric, or paprika to make your popcorn at home. I would not recommend popcorn with butter, cheese, or caramel because it contains excess calories and fat.
Legumes are rich in protein, fiber, iron, and folate. They help you maintain healthy muscles and bones. Examples include beans, lentils, peas, and chickpeas. You can buy canned and dried legumes and look for homemade snack foods.
Dairy products are rich in protein, calcium, and probiotics. They will support your immunity and good digestion, especially if you spend much time on the road. Try bringing yogurt, cottage cheese, kefir, cheese, and alternative dairy products from soy, almond, coconut, or oat milk, for example, in travel-sized containers or fabric packs.
Several fiber-rich vegetables, such as carrots, are high in vitamin A and beta-carotene. You can add some hummus or nut butter to make it savorier. Try other vegetables like celery, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers. These are great to take in a zip-lock bag; cucumbers can be cut into slices, and cherry tomatoes are perfect for on the go.
Any fresh or frozen fruits, such as apples, grapes, oranges, tangerines, berries – blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and some fruits such as melon and mango can be bought dried. You can add berries to Greek yogurt or cottage cheese yourself or purchase ready-made yogurt, and cottage cheese mixes with berries and fruits.
A great healthy snack is a variety of nuts and seeds in their natural form, without salt or sugar. Just don’t buy roasted nuts, as they contain a lot of heat-processed fats, which are bad for you.
Try plant-based protein shakes if you don’t have time to prepare a regular meal but need a recovery boost. You can take your powder and shaker and shake right in your car. Orgain Organic Unflavored Vegan Protein Powder is a great healthy choice.
That’s It Mini Fruit Bars, recommended by sports nutritionists, are the perfect healthy snack on the go. They are delicious, nutritious, and allergen-free.
Dark chocolate with a high cacao bean content, such as over 70 percent is a great healthy snack on the go! I always take a portion of chocolate in squares with me, and to stop myself from eating too much, all I have to do is drink some cold water, and the desire for chocolate disappears.
The most important thing when choosing healthy, ready-to-eat snacks in the store is to read the labels; prefer products low in sugar, salt, artificial flavors, colors, trans fats, and hydrogenated oils, GMO-free, with a balanced composition of micronutrients and vitamins.
The main rule, however, is to drink at least two liters of pure water a day instead of relying on various drinks as an exceptional source of hydration!
Snacks for Kids
Snacks for children on the go are vital for their health, good mood, and parents’ peace of mind. However, choosing snacks from whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, and dairy products is essential.
One of the best snacks for kids is yogurt. But choose natural yogurt with no added sugar, dyes, fruits, or berries. Plain or Greek yogurt is a good choice. If your child does not like plain yogurt, try adding fruit or puree to improve this taste.
Give children several yogurt tubes, which are convenient on the road instead of a spoon, or you can find other options in bags.
Yoplait, Fruits, and Gogurt are brands worth trying.
Fruit puree, either homemade or store-bought, is also an excellent snack for children.
Cereal is an excellent snack for kids, and it’s much easier to keep the flakes from scattering all over the car, so I recommend putting them in individual bags or boxes for each child.
Rice cakes will appeal to children of all ages. They’re also a great option to give a baby a little snack on the road or keep them occupied.
Vegetable crisps and chips will be an option for your family for every taste. You should have healthier chips, and now there is a huge selection of vegetable chips, even with spinach, but this is for an amateur.
Oatmeal crackers are perfect for kids as a snack.
More filling than most crackers and with a more pungent taste than regular wheat, they are another easy option for kids. I recommend Nairn’s Fine Oatcake Crackers.
Graham Crackers are a great choice for kids. Since it is in the car when you travel with children, it is a big problem. These crackers are easily washed, but at the same time, they are very tasty, and children like them.
Fruit salad benefits children, and you can easily make it yourself.
Just wash and slice the fruit and put it in small containers, remembering to bring a plastic fork so your children can eat on the go.
Vegetable sticks are an excellent choice for kids!
To avoid overfeeding children with sweet fruits, cut up vegetables for the road – carrot bars, cucumber sticks, bell pepper slices, and young tomato plums.
A nut mix with peanuts, almonds, cashews, dried cranberries, and other dried fruits will help keep kids full until the next meal. It’s also low in sugar.
On the road, any crackers will do for a little boredom relief.
Goldfish Crackers or Cheese Chips are great snacks to take in the car.
DIY Travel Snack Ideas
We prepare homemade snacks from fresh and natural ingredients such as nuts, fruits, vegetables, seeds, grains, and dairy products. You will prepare them according to your preferences and needs: sugar and salt-free, gluten-free, and GMO-free. They are guaranteed to be less harmful to you and your children’s health, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. In addition, homemade snacks will save you money because you will be using raw materials that you already have at home, you will be able to prepare large portions of the product, and you will be able to freeze them so that you can use them up gradually.
You can find a lot of ready-made recipes on the Internet, and also, with a little experience, you can start inventing your own dishes.
Yogurt with additives, popcorn with spices, nuts with dried fruits, various recipes for green smoothies with bananas and fruits, etc., are the easiest and most popular homemade snacks. And also I offer you some homemade recipes, get acquainted with them, maybe you will like them!
- Overnight Muffaletta Sandwich (if you bring a cooler)
- Mediterranean Wrap with Stuffed Grape Leaves, Spinach-Artichoke Dip, Feta, Kalamata Olives and Pepperoncini
- Argentinian Dulce de Leche Shortbread Cookies (Alfajores)
Junk Food Snacks
Junk food snacks are snacks that are high in calories, fat, sugar, or salt but have little nutritional value, and therefore do more harm than good to the body, but are addictive to people, which is why they are so popular. Candy, cookies, soda, ice cream, and fast food are examples of junk food snacks. McDonald’s Big Mac and Fries and Coca-Cola are the most popular junk foods.
I advise you to choose healthier alternatives that have a similar taste and texture but are made at home from natural ingredients. For example, you can prepare a diet or a vegetarian Big Mac.
You can occasionally try junk food snacks, especially when traveling, when there is simply no other option, but do not eat it all the time, and also do not forget to drink more water and be hydrated.
Road Trip Meal Planning
Road Trip Food List
When I travel, I take meats and sliced cheese, frozen berries, and fresh fruit in the fridge. And in the bag, I pack bread, peanut butter, popcorn, chips, granola bars, chocolate, etc.
For lunch, you will eat meat and cheese sandwiches or peanut butter-flavored snacks such as chips, crackers, and other snacks. Be sure to include vegetables, such as bell peppers and small tomatoes. Anything in the produce section that can be eaten raw is helpful. Don’t forget yogurt for breakfast with fruit and cheese sandwiches.
Between main meals, you can snack on fruit and nuts and drink juices and water.
I recommend bringing a few bottles of juice, milk, and a few gallons of water.
Tips for Packing
- Use zippered bags. For example, you can put tortillas inside, spread them with cream cheese, turkey or ham, or grated cheese, and roll them into a bun.
- Much more water than you think you’ll need.
- You need strong dishes that will not leak and will not break.
- Don’t forget paper towels, wet wipes, plastic spoons and forks, all that Jazz.
- Pack a big salad for your first day on the road, with dark leafy greens, fresh berries, and nuts or tofu or meat. Your body will thank you in a few days when you’ve got basically none of that around.
- Do not take anything that could become gnarly if it spills, spoils or rots.
- Don’t buy sandwiches from gas stations. Hella overpriced. For the price of one sandwich, you could get a quarter pound of meat, a couple of cheese slices, and some bread from Walmart or Aldi.
Tips for Keeping Food Safe and Fresh During a Road Trip
- If possible, try to make pit stops in detours of small craft farming towns. Unlike most gas stations, there is real food here.
- I would recommend stocking up for your trip at Trader Joe’s before heading off if one is relatively nearby. More likely to find road trip friendly food with balanced nutrition that won’t leave you constipated and feeling like garbage.
- You can always stop at a grocery store every couple days to stock up on beverages or whatever, don’t feel like you have to have everything before you go, and don’t be tempted to buy things at the gas store – use Google and pull into town and find a regular grocery store.
- Don’t forget your caffeine habits! If you’re a coffee person, stock up on canned and bottled cold brew before the drive. Don’t fuck around with adding instant to hot water or relying on gas stations for your coffee. You’ll have coffee that tastes like crap and get that nonsense all over your car cause they have shitty paper cups. Tea is a little bit easier to deal with but if you’re used to lots of caffeine and you’re taking long drives, you’re going to need to match your usual intake for safety reasons.
- Take grapes on road trips because they moisturize but does not make you stop and run to the toilet every 30 minutes.
Recommendations for Coolers or Other Food Storage Options
- Freeze water bottles to use to keep the food cold in the cooler. When it melts, you’ve got cold water to drink.
- You can take gazpacho on your road trip. You should put it in a thermos in the cooler.
Eating well is one of my favorite subjects, but since not everyone is inclined to do so, I’ve been talking about different eating styles and the main types of food that can be taken on the road, but I want everyone to take responsibility for their food choices and at least be satisfied with the trip while keeping his body hydrated and avoiding junk food.
Frequently Asked Questions
Take tortillas, spread them with cream cheese, turkey or ham, or grated cheese, roll them up, and put them in a zipper bag. You can make ham and cheese sandwiches the same way. This is a hearty meal combined with water and other beverages in plastic bottles or cans, such as iced coffee or tea, and packaged juices in small bags.
A nut mix, protein bars, popcorn, chocolate, carrots, apples, grapes, and mini cucumbers were great to eat during the ride.