Road Trip Snacks: The Best Foods for a Family Drive
Snacks That Keep You Raring to Go!
When you're road tripping with your family, it may seem easy to fall back on takeout food and processed snacks. Unfortunately, munching on unhealthy foods during a long drive can reduce energy levels and leave you feeling drained once you reach your destination.
Nutritious treats will keep everyone energized, happy, and healthy this road trip. For your next grand adventure, try creating some tasty snacks at home or pick up some wholesome pre-packaged items for easy and good-for-you snacking.
Homemade Snack Options
Processed snacks like potato chips can be tempting. They’re neatly packaged, making them easy to pass around a crowded car. You might worry that bringing healthier food will require a lot more preparation, but it’s easier than you think to create a few simple snacks for your trip. All you need is one set of picnic utensils and a small cooler with an ice pack. Check out the following tasty, healthy, and affordable on-the-go treats.
Apple Slices with Peanut Butter
Cutting apples before heading out on the road can be tricky because fresh apples oxidize and turn brown quickly. Prevent oxidization by adding a bit of lemon juice to your cut apples. Alternatively, wait until you’re ready to eat the apple to cut it up. Finish the slices off with a dab of peanut butter to add extra protein.
Yogurt and Granola
With a mix of the right yogurt and granola, your kids will think they're eating dessert. If you save this snack until you're nearing the end of the drive, you'll arrive packed with protein and have lots of energy to explore your destination. A 6-oz serving of non-fat, Greek-style yogurt provides you with about 17 grams of protein, as well as calcium.
Veggies and Hummus Dip
Veggies like carrot sticks, celery, broccoli, and bell peppers can be easily chopped in advance and tossed in your cooler. The distinct flavors of each vegetable go well with hummus, the traditional Middle Eastern dip made from chickpeas. According to the USDA, the average store-bought hummus contains a meager 1.5 grams of fat per tablespoon, while the same amount of ranch dressing contains almost 8 grams. Hummus makes veggies more interesting, without adding a ton of empty calories.
Ants on a Log
This kindergarten classic is the perfect road trip snack for any age. With so many flavors and textures, it's easy to forget that celery is the main ingredient. Prepare these treats ahead of time by taking a slice of celery, filling it with peanut butter, and adding a few raisins on top. Toss your creations in a to-go container and enjoy when the scenery calls for something sweet and crunchy.
You don’t have to resort to empty sugar and fat if you don’t have the time to prep homemade snacks. Giving your kids a pack of gummy bears or a candy bar will have them bouncing off the car windows. To stave off sugar-highs, try bringing along some healthier pre-packaged snacks. Some tasty foods like the following are easy to pop in your bag in a hurry.
These low calorie foods are the perfect salty treat to spice up your drive. All you have to do is drain the juice before you head out the door. Other bite-sized pickled veggies, from small cucumber pickles to pickled peppers, can be fun, tasty, and healthy car-trip treats. Just watch out for pickled onions and garlic—these pickled items can be questionable in close quarters!
Packaged popcorn with light flavoring is a great alternative to potato chips, especially if you pick up a low-sodium variety. Low in saturated fats and cholesterol but high in fiber, popcorn is bursting with benefits. Watch out though: some varieties like caramel-corn, cheese-coated, and chocolate-drizzled can compromise those health benefits. Plain popcorn can still be mighty tasty, very healthy, and it’s much less messy!
You may think it's only for hikers, but trail mix offers everything you could want in a snack: it’s crunchy, full of protein, and easy to take on the move. Depending on the variety you choose, trail mix can be slightly sweet and slightly salty—just take care to make sure it isn’t too high in sugar or sodium. You can buy packaged trail mixes at your local supermarket, or visit a bulk food store to make your own creations.
Hint: Get Ready to Snack
Road trips often require a lot of preparation, and it’s important to remember to bring healthy food. When you're sitting in a car for hours on end, you and your family are going to get hungry.
If you plan ahead and pack healthier snacks, you’ll find it easier to avoid the temptations of fast food and convenience store candy, you’ll satisfy your cravings, and you’ll get your body ready for the adventure ahead.
- Popcorn Nutritional Information. (2013) The Popcorn Board. Retrieved June 12, 2013 from http://www.popcorn.org/NutritionRecipes/NutritionYou/NutritionalInformation/tabid/96/Default.aspx
- 25 Healthy Snacks for Kids. (November 2012) Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Retrieved June 12, 2013 from http://www.eatright.org/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=108253
- Show Foods. (n.d.). NDL/FNIC. Food Composition Database Home Page. Retrieved June 12, 2013, from http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/219