When you're road tripping with your family, it may seem easy to fall back on takeout food and processed snacks. But munching on unhealthy foods during a long drive can reduce your energy levels and leave you feeling drained once you reach your destination.
Nutritious treats will help keep your family energized, happy, and healthy on your journey. For your next grand adventure, try creating some tasty snacks at home or pick up wholesome prepackaged items for easy and good-for-you snacking.
Processed snacks, such as potato chips and candy, can be tempting. They’re ready to go and neatly packaged, which makes them easy to pass around a crowded car. You might worry that bringing healthier food will require a lot more preparation.
But preparing and packing homemade snacks for your trip may be easier than you think. All you need is a set of picnic utensils, a small cooler with ice packs, and some simple ingredients. Check out the following tasty, healthy, and affordable on-the-go recipe ideas.
Apples and peanut butter
You may be hesitant to cut apples before heading out on the road 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. Top each slice with a dab of peanut butter to add some 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 your drive, you'll arrive with lots of energy to explore your destination. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a 6-ounce serving of nonfat, Greek-style yogurt provides about 17 grams of protein. It’s also rich in calcium.
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. Arrange your creations in a to-go container. Then enjoy them when you crave something sweet and crunchy.
You don’t have to resort to empty sugar and fat if you don’t have time to prepare homemade snacks. Giving your kids a package of gummy bears or a candy bar will leave them bouncing off the car windows. To stave off sugar highs and lows, bring some healthier prepackaged snacks. Explore the following ideas for nutritious nibbles that are easy to pop in your bag in a hurry.
Salty and savory olives provide the perfect treat for your drive. All you have to do is drain the olive juice before you head out the door. Other bite-sized pickled veggies, from small cucumber pickles to pickled peppers or okra, can be fun, tasty, and healthy car trip treats too. Just watch out for pickled onions, garlic, and other strong-smelling options — 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 flavored varieties pack a lot of empty calories. Ditch the caramel-, chocolate-, and cheese-coated varieties. Plain popcorn is much healthier and a less messy choice!
You may think trail mix is only for hikers, but it 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 choose a variety that isn’t too high in sugar or sodium. You can buy packaged options at your local supermarket. Or visit a bulk food store to mix and match your own blend.
Road trips often require some preparation, and it’s important to include healthy food on your packing list. 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 junk food, you’ll satisfy your cravings, and you’ll get your body ready for the adventure ahead.