Our Favorite Frugal & Healthy Road Trip Snacks
We’re headed out on a 1,500 mile journey next week with our two kids (and a cat!) in tow, so I’ve been making plans and of course, coming up with a list of our favorite healthy road trip snacks. In general, we eat a pretty nutritious diet, so I try to keep that up especially on the road when we need our immune systems to be at their best.
For the sanity of everyone involved I try to avoid super messy or crumbly snacks. This is one area where individually portioned snacks are definitely helpful, so I’ll either spend a bit more on individually packaged items or portion out a bigger container into snack size zip lock bags before we hit the road.
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Easy to eat fruits and veggies are an obvious choice for healthy snacks for a road trip. Here are some of our favorites:
- Oranges – especially clementines as they are so sweet and easy to peel.
- Grapes – washed and in snack sized portions.
- Apples – washed and whole or in slices.
- Baby Carrots – with or without ranch for dipping.
- Cucumbers – peeled and sliced into snack sized bags.
- Olives – black or green, drained and portioned individually.
- Celery – awesome for dipping in hummus or peanut butter.
- Grape tomatoes – washed and ready to eat.
- Bananas – delicious and easy to eat, but must be stored gently.
- Applesauce – either in pouches or cups (don’t forget to bring a spoon).
- Dried fruit such as banana chips, raisins or apricots.
Side note: I absolutely love chopping up fruits and veggies. It’s so relaxing! Am I the only one?
Of course fruits and veggies aren’t the only healthy road trip snacks. We like to pack our cooler with at least a few of these each trip:
- Cheese sticks – both cheddar and low fat mozzarella.
- Yogurt – the cups work if you have a spoon, but the tubes are especially nice. We really like greek yogurt for the added protein boost.
- Cottage cheese – look for individual portions, some even have fun fruity add-ins.
- Meat & Cheese Roll-Ups.
- Hard boiled eggs – don’t forget a small container of salt and pepper!
- Sliced grilled chicken breast – this is a surprisingly good healthy road trip snack!
- Hummus, ranch or peanut butter for dipping.
- Granola bars or Lara Bars.
- Individually wrapped dark chocolates.
- Bottled water.
- Juice pouches or boxes – we love these because of the lower sugar content!
We have found that the best snacks to take on a road trip have to include fresh, juicy foods like fruits and veggies, a good source of protein, and of course something salty and crunchy.
The salty/crunchy category is the hardest to keep in the healthy category, but we try! You will notice there are a few less-healthy options on this list:
- Dry roasted peanuts.
- Roasted salted almonds.
- Roasted, salted, mixed nuts.
- Gardetto’s or Chex Mix – we buy a family sized bag and portion out into individual servings.
- Trail Mix – savory or sweet. (Watch out for melty stuff if you’ll be travelling in warm weather though.)
- Pirate’s Booty.
- Cheeze-its or goldfish crackers.
- Pita chips and hummus for dipping.
- Crunchy puffed veggies like these.
Of course we don’t bring everything on the list for one trip.
I usually pick a few items from each category that are in season or on sale, and if I’m restocking mid trip I’ll go for more of the convenience food options that don’t require much prep (like baby carrots, clementines and packaged hard boiled eggs and cheese sticks).
Packing good road trip snacks has been so helpful to us – we save money, feel better eating healthier options, and save time (less wasted time trying to choose from overpriced convenience store snacks). In fact, when we bring our own favorite road trip snacks, we only stop at gas stations when we absolutely have to – most of the time we are able to stop at rest stops for bathroom breaks and to stretch our legs. It’s one of the biggest reasons I take time to pack healthy snacks to take on a road trip!
What are some of your favorite healthy road trip snacks? Is there anything that I should add to my list? Please let me know by sharing in the comments below!
Jamie Siebens is a freelance writer and owner of Always-an-Adventure.com, a blog focused on living intentionally and finding beauty in the everyday adventures of life. When she’s not behind a computer screen, you can find her with her husband and two daughters enjoying their current adventure – turning a former 1890’s one room schoolhouse and town hall into their cozy family home.