Family road trips can be a lot of fun, but they can also be expensive if you need to stop for food every so often. You can customize healthy snacks that the whole family will love, whether it is sweet or savory. You’ll save money on road trips and enjoy knowing you’re feeding your loved ones healthy foods. So, instead of buying processed and boxed food, try these healthy road trip snacks.
Table of Contents
- How Can I Eat Healthy On The Road?
- What Snacks Are Good For Road Trips?
- Healthy Road Trip Snacks: Veggies
- Healthy Road Trip Snacks: Fruits
- Healthy Road Trip Snacks: Protein-packed Foods
- Healthy Road Trip Snacks: Sweet Treats
- Drinks for the Road
- Healthy Road Trip Meals
- Additional Packing Tips
How Can I Eat Healthy On The Road?
Eating healthy on the road takes some planning. Pack your road trip food beforehand and choose healthy options. Bring homemade meals and snack along with you. When you’re eating out at restaurants or drive-thru’s, pick healthier options. It’s also good to stick to your eating schedule daily. By that I mean to eat at the same times everyday for each meal to maintain a healthy eating pattern.
Lastly, avoid sugary drinks and snacks high in salt, fat and sugar.
What Snacks Are Good For Road Trips?
Road trip snacks should be healthy. I’m talk veggies, fruits, and protein-packed foods. Below I put together a list of essential road trip snacks to pack on your trip and some of the best healthy road trip snacks for kids to enjoy too!
Healthy Road Trip Snacks: Veggies
- Snap Peas
- Baby Carrots
- Broccoli florets
- Cauliflower florets
- Sliced Cucumbers
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Kale Chips
- Green Pepper Strips
- Red Pepper Strips
Most kids love snap peas once they try them, they have a great crunch and are easy to pack in a ziplock bag or plastic container. Carrots also travel well and will hold up for the duration of your trip. If you don’t mind a little mess, try bringing individual size packs of organic ranch, peanut or other nut butter, guacamole or hummus for a tasty and healthy dip. If you don’t want to splurge on individual packs of dip, you can buy a bigger container and divide it into baby food jars and throw them out when they are empty.
Kale chips are so easy to make and are a delicious way of snacking on chips without any guilt.
How to: Just remove the kale leaves from the ribs, tear into bite-size pieces and lay them out on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and if you like your chips cheesy, you can even add Parmesan cheese and garlic powder for extra flavor. Bake for about twenty minutes at 350 degrees and turn the leaves over once at the halfway mark. They can be packed into a ziplock bag after they are cooled for a super healthy chip alternative.
Healthy Road Trip Snacks: Fruits
- Dried Fruits
- Dried Strawberry “Candy”
Fruits are super delicious and refreshing on a long road trip, while they can be a bit messier, kids will usually be happier with an apple than a carrot stick.
With careful packing and planning, you can bring a small cooler full of fruit that will keep the whole family happy. Dried or dehydrated fruits are a less messy option, but you will want to buy natural or organic dried fruit that doesn’t contain sulfites or other additives to keep it a healthy option.
If you have time and a dehydrator, you can dry your own fruit or even make fruit leather to bring on your trip.
Strawberries can be slowly dried out in a low-temperature oven and taste even better than licorice bites.
How to: Just place the strawberries curvy side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in an oven at 200 degrees. After two hours, flip them over and bake for an additional two hours. They taste like candy, but are still nutritious. They pack up well, don’t need to be refrigerated or chilled and your kids will love them.
Healthy Road Trip Snacks: Protein-packed Foods
- String Cheese
- Raw Almonds
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Turkey or Chicken Sausage
- Bean and cheese quesadillas
- Cheese crackers
- Roasted Chickpeas
- Rolled lunchmeat and cheese
- Mini Pita Sandwiches
- Protein Bars
- DIY Trail Mix
There is nothing worse than being in a car full of cranky people with low blood sugar. And, after all that fruit, which is usually gobbled up first, you will want to pack healthy road trip snacks that are packed with protein.
String cheese is great for bored little ones. They get the added pleasure of playing with their food, there is less hazard of them choking on a chunk of cheese when they break it into strings and it gives the body plenty of fuel to keep those blood sugars stable.
Jerky also offers a snack that lasts longer and provides plenty of protein. Chicken or turkey sausage is great option too! Just look for brands that are more naturally processed or organic with no added MSG, sugars or preservatives.
Bean and cheese quesadillas also offer significant amounts of protein.
How to: Make them a day before your trip, cut them into triangles and pack them into a plastic container. They should be refrigerated until it is time to go and you will want to eat them on the first day of your trip, but they make the perfect go-to snack when hunger really hits.
Cheese crackers are a childhood favorite and you can find plenty of healthy versions in health food or whole food stores. Even big box grocery stores are starting to carry organic and healthy options.
Roasted chickpeas also have to be made ahead of time, but are well worth it. While chickpeas are known for being one of the main ingredients in hummus, they are also a delicious and satisfyingly crunchy snack that provides plenty of protein. It’s one of my favorite healthy road trip snacks on this list.
How to: Place chickpeas in a ziplock bag with about a tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with your seasoning of choice. Popular seasoning favorites include cayenne, salt and pepper, garlic and barbecue. Shake the bag to make sure all the chickpeas are coated evenly and place them spread out on a baking sheet. Bake for about 40 minutes in a preheated oven at 450 degrees.
Protein bars are a great choice when your tummy starts rumbling, just look for healthy and organic varieties. They are non-perishable and satisfying.
Some delicious and healthy options for healthy trail mix are almonds, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, dark chocolate chips, dried fruit, coconut flakes, raw pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, granola pieces or cacao nibs. The best part of making your own trail mix is that you can customize it to your exact liking.
Healthy Road Trip Snacks: Sweet Treats
- No Bake Protein Bites
- Healthy Puppy Chow
- Dark Chocolate
- Cranberry Muffins
- Oatmeal Raisin Muffins
- Banana Bread
- Cascadian Farms Organic Granola Bars
- Lara Bars
- KIND bars
- Choconut Popcorn
- Choconut Pretzels
There is nothing like indulging your sweet tooth on a long road trip that lifts the spirits and makes the trip fun again. You can reach for the sweets without any guilt by choosing one of these healthy sweet treats.
No Bake Protein Bites only require four ingredients and make you feel like you are eating cookies.
How to: Combine your favorite nut butter, quick rolled oats, mini dark chocolate chips and honey and roll into balls. Pack them into a plastic container and you have a sweet treat that gives you a cookie-quality treat that is healthy and has about 8 grams of protein, depending on how big you roll your bites.
Regular puppy chow made with Chex cereal is sugar and fat laden, but you can make a healthier version.
How to: Instead of regular milk chocolate, use dark chocolate and substitute powdered sugar with honey. Just coat the cereal with a melted mixture of dark chocolate, honey and your favorite nut butter of choice. You can even add a little extra protein, by sprinkling the puppy chow with a vanilla-flavored protein powder after it is cooled. While it is not the healthiest snack on the list, it is a great choice in moderation without totally depriving yourself of sweets.
Dark chocolate is a great alternative to milk chocolate and countless studies have shown that it can be beneficial to your health. Dark chocolate can be found in bars, nibs or chips. And, sometimes, nothing but chocolate will do, especially on a long road trip.
If you love the combination of sweet and salty, this Choconut popcorn is the perfect snack for you.
How to: Simply pop some popcorn and coat it with a mixture of melted nut butter and a dusting of cocoa powder. It can be made a day ahead of time and placed into a ziplock bag ready to make the long trip with you.
If popcorn seems too messy, try dipping pretzel rods into a mixture of melted nut butter and dark chocolate chips. Allow to cool and then pack them up when you are ready to hit the road.
Drinks for the Road
- Organic Juice Boxes
- Soda Alternatives
- Coconut Water
Organic juice boxes have plenty of flavor options available and are an easy way to keep the kid’s thirst satiated. They don’t need to be refrigerated and you can throw the box away when they are done.
For the adults in the car who love the fizzy and carbonated drinks, La Croix is a great alternative. If those don’t quite satisfy your taste buds, try Izze Sparking Juices. Izze drinks are naturally flavored with fruit juice and don’t have nearly as much sugar as regular soda pop.
Coconut water is a great choice and you can find plenty of varieties that come in easy travel packs that look like juice boxes. With natural electrolytes and a great taste, coconut water is a wonderfully refreshing alternative to water.
Healthy Road Trip Meals
Here are some healthy road trip meals that you can use as a guide when preparing for you next trip.
Breakfast: homemade breakfast burrito or sandwich, breakfast muffin and hard-boiled egg, quick oats topped with sliced bananas, greek yogurt topped with strawberries or blueberries.
Lunch: Salad (in mason jar), homemade sandwiches, homemade wraps, low sodium vegetable soup (in a thermos) with crackers
Dinner: homemade whole grain pasta with meatballs, rice with chicken and vegetables, homemade chicken stored cold to enjoy in sandwiches, salads or eat alone
Additional Packing Tips
The easiest way to bring healthy road trip snacks is to plan ahead. It’s not always easy, but it is well worth the time. While boxed and bagged treats are easier and more convenient, they are laden with not so healthy ingredients. Some snacks, like fruit leathers and oven-dried strawberry “candy” can be made a few days ahead of time and still be suitable for your trip.
Bring Baby Wipes
All-natural baby wipes are a must have on long car trips. They wipe any spills in the car and clean up sticky fingers and faces like a breeze.
Bring a Cooler
Bring a large cooler to store your food on the road. Pack it with ice to keep your food from spoiling. Make sure to replace the ice every few days. To keep your food chilled longer, try not to open the cooler often.
Bring a Bag, or Two
You will want to bring a small grocery store bag that can be used to place any peels, wrappers or garbage during the trip. The second bag you will want to bring is a barf bag. Kids have a tendency to wind up needing it, at least once, on your road trip. And, it is much better to wind up with a bag that you didn’t use, then to need it and not have it.
Road trips can be a lot of fun and a fantastic way of making memories that will last for years to come. And, with these healthy road trip snacks, you can pass the time munching and crunching along the way without a moment of guilt.