8 Best Road Trip Snacks with Health in Mind
It can be difficult to find good food when you’re on the road.
Fast food drive-throughs and gas stations are an abundant, efficient way to grab a quick bite when you don’t have time to sit down at a restaurant. While these snacks are easy and tasty, they don’t provide the nourishment you need on your adventure.
These high levels of saturated fats, empty carbs, and sodium can leave you feeling lethargic—and lead to digestive issues that aren’t ideal when you’re trapped in a car for hours!
Since there aren’t a ton of salad joints waiting for you on the road, you need to take matters into your own hands. Autio has you covered with our favorite road trip snacks to keep you feeling nourished on your next adventure.
1. Mix It Up With Trail Mix
Trail mix is one of the best snacks for road trippers, backpackers, and adventurers of all kinds.
It’s the perfect treat to curb your hunger when you’re on the go. It doesn’t require refrigeration, it includes a variety of flavors, and it provides plenty of essential nutrients to keep you energized.
You can purchase trail mix in almost any store (including those plentiful gas stations!), but we like to make our own. Not only is this DIY approach easy and cost-effective, but it also allows you to customize your mix to your tastes and dietary needs.
The base of any trail mix is nuts. Throw in peanuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, even pistachios –– any and all will do! On top of being an excellent source of protein, they also pack a one-two punch with healthy fats. These unsaturated fats are crucial for any active individual because they provide sustained, long-term energy.
Don’t forget dried fruit like raisins, cherries, apricots, bananas, or mango. Dried fruit is rich in fiber, which is necessary to thwart those pesky digestive issues we mentioned above. Plus, they provide the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants your body needs to thrive.
When you’re on the road, mix-ins like candy, sunflower seeds, or pretzels provide extra yummy calories and can make snack ideas for kids even more fun. These little extras are especially important when you’re burning a lot of calories hiking, biking, or taking an unexpected pit stop. An adventurer like you needs a high caloric intake!
2. Peanut Butter Is a Must
What can we say about peanut butter that you don’t already know? It’s an excellent source of key nutrients like protein and healthy fats, it’s easy to take on the go, and it goes great on a sandwich. Ultimately, what makes peanut butter one of the best road trip snacks is its utility.
One of our favorite ways to eat peanut butter—or any nut butter, for all you almond butter lovers out there—is to smear it on apple slices. This sweet and salty combination provides all the benefits of peanut butter and the hydration, vitamins, and fiber of apples. You can also opt for celery sticks instead to up your veggie content for the day.
Peanut butter can also be the cornerstone of a complete meal. Lather a couple of slices of whole wheat bread with peanut butter and jelly for a filling-yet-energizing sandwich that will make you feel like a kid again.
Getting complex carbs like whole-wheat bread in your diet is crucial to maintaining your energy levels. Your body uses the carbs you eat to produce energy, so a lack of carbs in your diet will lead to a lack of energy on the road.
3. Protein and Granola Bars For On-the-Go Goodness
Granola or protein bars are easy to store, typically non-perishable, and pack quite a nutritious punch.
Be sure to look at the ingredients list before you buy since a lot of bars are filled with sugar and a variety of other unhealthy additives. Stick to bars with whole, nutritious ingredients such as nuts, oats, chia seeds, egg whites, and dried fruit.
These treats will provide the nourishment you need through a balanced mix of protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and vitamins and minerals.
You can even make homemade granola bars to really control how you fuel your body. One of our DIY go-to’s is energy bites. All you need to do is mix nuts, nut butters, oats, dates, and any other ingredients of your choosing. Shape them into balls, and you’ve got a nutritious road trip snack.
What makes avocados such a great road trip snack? For starters, they come with natural packaging in the form of their tough outer skin. Plus, they have gloriously high levels of fiber and natural fats. A single avocado provides roughly 200 calories and essential nutrients like potassium, folate, and Vitamins C and E. Not bad, right?
For a filling snack, smear avocado on top of crackers or add it to a sandwich with cherry tomatoes and hummus; this is a great combination of essential carbs and healthy fats. You can even eat the avocado by itself with a spoon. Either way, it’s a delicious and nutritious highway snack.
Pro tip: Pack some unripe avocados. That way, you’ll have ripe avocados as they age throughout your trip.
5. Beef Jerky Was Made For Travel
Jerky and road trips go hand in hand. Not only are these chewy treats high in protein, but they are also shelf-stable and very easy to store. The benefits of jerky don’t end there, though.
Beef jerky is high in zinc and iron, two essential minerals for supporting your immune system and energy levels. Plus, grass-fed beef has even higher levels of healthy fats, like omega-3s.
There are plenty of jerky options out there, so make sure you stay away from treats high in sodium and sugar. You should also avoid unhealthy additives, like nitrites. Jerky with good ingredients, though, will go a long way in supporting your nomadic diet.
6. Hard-Boiled Eggs Aren’t Hard to Love
If you have a cooler with you, throw in some hard-boiled eggs. We don’t have to tell you that these portable snacks are high in protein, but perhaps you didn’t know that they’re also an excellent source of healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.
If you’re watching your caloric intake, eggs provide one of the best protein to calorie ratios in the game. With six grams of protein and 77 calories, you’ll feel satiated without overeating. In other words, it’s the perfect snack between meals.
Best of all, its protein content has an ideal amino acid ratio, which means your body will efficiently absorb and make use of that protein. This makes hard-boiled eggs a stellar snack for the active individual. Pairing it with veggies or string cheese can help you get even more nutrients between adventures.
7. Greek Yogurt Is Better Than Go-Gurt
Another awesome snack to throw into your cooler is unsweetened Greek yogurt. Why Greek yogurt? For starters, Greek yogurt is very high in protein. Just one cup packs a whopping 20 grams of protein to keep you satiated for your long hours on the road.
Like most dairy products, Greek yogurt is high in calcium and is sold in varying levels of fat content––from full fat to fat-free—to suit any traveler’s needs. On top of that, Greek yogurt is a fermented product, meaning it’s high in probiotics. Probiotics support gut health, and a healthy gut means fewer tummy problems on the road.
Greek yogurt is delicious plain, but it's even better (and more nutritious!) when mixed with other ingredients like fresh fruit. From raspberries to peach slices, any fruit pairs beautifully with Greek yogurt. Plus, it provides the additional benefit of antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber.
If you’re looking for a filling snack, try adding granola to your Greek yogurt, too. This will provide an excellent balance of protein, carbs, and healthy fats.
8. Dark Chocolate and Almonds Are a Match Made in Heaven
When you're on the road for hours on end, you need to treat yourself to something sweet.
While dark chocolate certainly feels like an indulgent treat, it also has a wide range of nutritional benefits. Dark chocolate is loaded with powerful polyphenol antioxidants, which have anti-inflammatory and heart-protective properties. Who would’ve thought that eating chocolate could be such a good thing!
By mixing in some almonds or grabbing a pack of dark chocolate-covered nuts, you’ll have a snack full of fiber, protein, healthy fats, and big smiles.
Get the Lowdown With Autio
Every successful road trip requires a full belly and a heart full of wonder. Now that you have sustenance in your possession, you’ve won half the battle and can officially embark upon the road trip of your dreams!
Whether you’re off to get lost in a big city or seek inner peace among natural beauty, download Autio for all the unexpected stories and local insights you need to make the absolute best of your adventure.
Check out Autio today, so you don’t miss a thing.
Definitive Ranking of the Best Road Trip Snacks of All Time | Washington Post
Driver Fatigue: Why Does Driving Make You Tired? | OptAlert.com
Chocolate Date Energy Balls Recipe (Vegan & Paleo) | JoyFoodSunshine.com
How a 4,000-Mile Road Trip Taught Me Everything I Know About Beef Jerky | TheKitchn.com