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. Keep your family feeling healthier and happier this trip with more nutritious treats that will keep everyone energized. For your next grand adventure, try creating some tasty snacks at home or pick up some nutritious pre-packaged items for easy, healthy snacking.

Homemade Snack Options

Processed snacks - like potato chips - tempt us because they are 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:

  • Apple slices with peanut butter: Cutting apples before heading out on the road can be tricky, since fresh apples oxidize and turn brown pretty 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 the right yogurt and sweet mix of 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.
  • Veggies and hummus dip: Veggies like carrot sticks, celery, broccoli, and bell peppers can easily be 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. With 63% less fat than ranch dressing, this dip 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, swiping it with peanut butter, and adding a few M&Ms on top. Toss your creations in a to-go container and enjoy when the scenery calls for something sweet and crunchy.

Pre-Packaged Goodies

If you give your kids a pack of gummy bears or a candy bar, they'll soon be bouncing off the car windows. To stave off sugar-highs, try bringing along some healthier pre-packaged snacks. These tasty foods are easy to pop in your bag in a hurry:

  • Olives: All you have to do is drain the juice before you head out the door. These low calorie foods are the perfect salty treat to spice up your drive.
  • Popcorn Many companies offer packaged popcorn with light flavoring. It's 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, this snack is bursting with benefits.
  • Trail mix: 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 pack when you're on the move. Depending on the variety you choose, you can have a trail mix that is a little sweet or a little 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.

HealthAhead 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, it's certain that you and your family are going to get hungry. If you plan ahead and have nutritious snacks on hand, you'll find it easier to avoid the temptations of fast food and convenience store candy. Pack healthier snacks and you'll satisfy your cravings, plus you'll get your body ready for the adventure ahead.