Time to make your road trip calories count—for good! Looking for some healthy road trip snacks? Here are some of the best road trip snack ideas!
Healthy road trip snacks
You've heard it (or even said it) before: road trip calories don't count. Rather than talk about how silly of a statement it is—or maybe it's just wishful thinking!—let's talk about what causes people to say it in the first place.
Driving long distances is uncomfortable, even if you enjoy the trip. You're sedentary for a long period of time, often rather tired, and probably anxious about reaching your destination.
So what do you do? You eat, naturally! And you should. Road trips don't make you exempt from your daily need for nutrition.
But on a road trip, t's really easy to start eating out of anxiety, or just to stay awake. Those are the calories we wish didn't count, right?
You can go into road trips with a game plan for your nutrition that keeps you full, happy, and energized on the journey.
How do you eat healthy on a road trip?
The best way to eat healthy on a road trip is to pack your own snacks from home! Make a list of healthy snacks, pick them up from the grocery store, and pack before you hit the road.
Bringing your own snacks gives you the ability to plan and pack foods you want, rather than relying on what's available at a gas station.
Pack a variety of high-protein snacks, as those snacks will keep your body full for longer. A bonus is that most high-protein snacks have other health benefits such as managing weight, building muscle, and preventing chronic illness. I usually make an order of healthy snacks from Amazon or run to the grocery store before leaving for a trip.
How can I keep snacks in my car?
Bring a cooler in the car so you can pack more healthy road trip snacks! If you don't have a cooler available, there are definitely still healthy snacks you can pack, but having a cooler will let you bring more.
Here's two coolers we use to pack the best road trip snacks:
RTIC Insulated Cooler Bag: This insulated cooler bag is leak proof, zips, and can hold 30 cans. This is our go-to cooler for picnics, road trips, camping, and day trips.
RTIC Hard Cooler: This insulated cooler is durable, has a lot of storage, and is great for multi-day trips. This 45-quart cooler is our go-to for camping trips, longer travel, and grocery runs.
Best road trip snacks
Pro tip: pack individual containers or single-serving snacks so you can easily throw away trash!
Here are some road trip snack ideas:
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Protein bars are one of the easiest and most travel-friendly snacks. There are so many debates about the best protein bars, but it truly just depends on what you like best.
A few slices of jerky is a great source of protein. It’s really lightweight, non-perishable, and does well while traveling! It comes in several flavors, meats, and packages.
- Travel-Friendly: Jerky Packages or Jerky Sticks (My favorites are Trader Joe's Turkey Jerky, Baja Jerky and Chomp’s Jerky Sticks)
- Homemade Option: If you’re feeling ambitious, you can make your own jerky!
Chickpeas are a great nut-free, meat-free, high-protein snack. Crispy chickpeas are crunchy, savory, and make a great addition to things like trail mix or taste great on their own.
- Travel-Friendly Option: Biena Chickpea Snacks
- Homemade Option: If you're feeling adventurous, make your own crispy roasted chickpeas!
Greek yogurt is more strained than regular yogurt, which makes it thicker and creamier. It also means there's more protein in greek yogurt, which makes it a great high-protein, low-carb snack!
- Travel-Friendly Option: Greek yogurt cups (Two Good, YQ by Yoplait, and Chobani are my favorite brands!)
- Homemade Option: Oreo Chocolate Protein Parfait
Cottage cheese is a thick, creamy, curd snack packed with protein and high in several nutrients. Like yogurt, cottage cheese options range in different milk levels and curd sizes.
- Travel-Friendly Option: Good Culture Cottage Cheese Cups
- Homemade Savory Option: Cottage cheese with Everything but the Bagel Seasoning (try it on a rice cake!)
- Homemade Sweet Option: Cottage cheese with fruit and nut butter
These Nature Bakery Fig Bars are awesome! They're vegan, kosher-certified, and taste so delicious.
Often found in trail mix, nuts can also be eaten on their own. Nuts are higher in fat, and a source of protein and fiber. Each kind of nut provides varying health benefits so you can pick which kind you like the best!
- Travel-Friendly Option: Try a single serving packages of nuts or keep a large bag in your office or car.
- Homemade Option: Buy nuts in bulk at the store and split them into smaller portions for snacks.
Whole fruit like apples, oranges, bananas, and pears are great because they are stored at room temperature. You can cut up fresh fruit and bring in a sealed bag or container in a cooler as well. Choose this for a high-carb, sweet snack!
If you're not interested in packing out a peel or core, consider packing dried fruit. Dried fruit generally contains a lot of fiber and antioxidants. It also has a long shelf-life, is lightweight, and tastes like candy! These dried mangos are my favorite.
Raisins, banana chips, apricots, and cranberries are a few more ideas.
Traditional trail mix is typically a combination of nuts, seeds, and chocolate. However, there are so many kinds of trail mix with different flavors, ingredients, and nutrients, that you will be able to pick one perfect for you. People often question if trail mix is good for you, and while it will vary for each person, trail mix is definitely a great source of protein and healthy fats.
This is the perfect snack to bring in a small tupperware or reusable bag for the car ride!
- Snack Option: You can purchase trail mix in bulk, in individual pre-packaged bags, or make your own.
- My favorite recipes for trail mix are my Protein Trail Mix, Copy Cat Trader Joe’s Tempting Trail Mix and S’mores Trail Mix.
Nut Butter Packets
Having nut butter as a snack is so good! It’s delicious, high in healthy fats & protein, and so good any way. Spread some nut butter on a piece of fruit, crackers, pretzels, or enjoy it straight out of the package!
- Travel-Friendly Option: My favorite nut butter packets are the RX Nut Butter packets and Justin's Almond Butter Packets because the flavors are amazing. because the flavors are amazing.
- Homemade Options: Nut butter on fruit, toast, pretzels, cottage cheese, or seriously anything.
Hummus & Veggies
Hummus is an awesome source of protein for those looking for a plant-based option. There is usually at least 8 grams per serving, along with other health benefits. Hummus is great with veggies, pretzels, or on sandwiches.
- Travel-Friendly Option: Try a hummus cup and bring a bag of things to dip!
- Homemade option: Buy a large tub of hummus to keep in the fridge or make your own hummus.
Deli-style turkey meat is a great high-protein, low-fat snack to bring in a lunchbox. There's no cooking necessary and so many ways to use it!
- Snack Options: Turkey slices wrapped around string cheese, turkey slices with cheat things, turkey with cheese wedge on a rice cake or tortilla
There are several kinds of cheese sticks, but a low-fat string cheese can have about 50 calories and 8g of protein per serving. This snack is super convenient and a travel-friendly option because it is individually wrapped and portioned. Cheese wedges or string cheese sticks are my favorite!
Whisps cheese crisps are made from 100% real cheese, but more travel-friendly than fresh cheese. They're high protein, gluten-free, low carb.
Chips & Crackers
There are so many kinds of chips & crackers, so there's not really a wrong option. These Popcorners chips are a lower-calorie option that are so delicious!
These Bada Bean Bada Boom snacks are a great plant-based protein option. They're salty, crispy, and come in several flavors.
Make your own sandwich at home for your road trip! This will definitely stay fresh in a cooler you keep in your car.
Cereal might not be at the top of your mind for road trip snack ideas. But plain cereal is a great snack option to pack & you can elevate by buying milk in the cooler or picking up at a gas station.
Hard-boiled eggs are a great high-protein, nutrient-dense snack! Each egg usually has about 75 calories and 6 grams of protein. You can easily meal-prep several hard-boiled eggs at one time and use them as a snack throughout the week.
- Travel-Friendly Option: Hard-boiled eggs are travel-friendly as is! You can often find these in wrappers of 2 or 3 at gas stations and grocery stores.
- Homemade Option: You can make your own hard-boiled eggs to keep in the fridge all week long. Try a hard-boiled egg with Everything but the Bagel Seasoning or mashed with avocado on a rice cake.
I like to bring healthier granola to snack on by itself or for the top of yogurt bought at the airport.
A protein shake is a really effective way to get a high amount of protein in at one time. Unlike most whole food protein sources, the protein in a shake usually comes from protein powder. If you're looking for a sweet, easy, travel-friendly, high-protein, low-fat snack, try a shake!
- Travel-Friendly Options: Fairlife Protein Shakes (chocolate, salted caramel, vanilla, strawberry, and coffee available!). The shakes are normally cheaper if you can find in a store near you by using this product locator.
- Homemade Options: Any protein powder you like (my favorite is Bad Athletics, code JORDO for a discount) mixed with frozen fruit, milk, ice, nut butter, etc.mixed with frozen fruit, milk, ice, nut butter, etc.
Pack your favorite fizzy water, juice, cold brew, or whatever you like to drink on long car rides.
I usually bring supplements like protein powder & pre-workout into the car. Not necessarily to use on the drive, but for during my trip. I use Bad Athletics supplements and the code JORDO will get you a discount on everything.
Muffins & Baked Goods
Pack a homemade sweet treat or pick one up at the store so you have something sweet to enjoy on the car ride.
What snacks can I keep in my car?
My favorite snacks to keep in my car are something salty, something sweet, and something with protein. The salty & sweet will satisfy cravings, while the protein will keep me full!
If you have a cooler, you can keep all the same snacks in your car that you keep at home in the fridge!
Road trip snack ideas
The best thing to do for yourself is to make a plan in advance—even if the road trip is spontaneous.
Tricky situations come when you run out of options. If you're hungry and all that's available at the gas station are bags of chips, guess what you're probably buying and eating?
It's not that "junk" food or candy need to be entirely off-limits. I even recommended my favorite candy above! But when you're thinking of road trip snack ideas, go heavy on the really good stuff. You'll thank yourself!
What food should I pack for a road trip?
Here are some of my favorite road trip snack ideas! You can pack a variety of snacks to bring on a road trip! Here are some healthy snack ideas for long drives:
- Protein bars
- Crispy chickpeas
- Cottage Cheese
- Fig Bars
- Dried fruit
- Peanut butter packets
- Cheese sticks
- Cheese Crisps
- Crunchy beans
- Cooked meats & veggies
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Baked goods
- Protein shake
More Snack Roundups
Looking for more snack ideas? Here are a few more posts for your travel needs!
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