By: Melissa Mitri, MS, RD
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Heading on your next road trip? Stick to your healthy eating plan with these 10 healthy road trip food ideas. They are easy, affordable, and will keep you and your family fueled for your adventure.
Here is your go-to healthy road trip food list for your next epic trip.
1. Beef jerky
Beef or turkey jerky doesn’t have to be refrigerated, and is one of the easiest and most nutritious road trip snacks. It is high in protein, low in fat and carbs, and super portable.
High-protein snacks like this hold you over longer than carb-heavy ones, so are good to have on hand when you won’t be getting out of the car for a while.
CHOMPS jerky is one of my favorite jerky brands both for flavor and its nutritional profile, as it is higher in protein and lower in sodium than most other jerky brands.
2. Trail mix
Make your own trail mix with a simple mix of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and even a bit of dark chocolate. Homemade trail mix is so much healthier than the store-bought kind, and only takes a few minutes to make.
Trail mix is rich in anti-inflammatory fats, fiber to keep your blood sugar levels steady, and plant-based protein to sustain your energy. It is one of my favorite convenient options to keep in my car at all times!
Popcorn sometimes gets a bad rap – but it’s really the butter and salt often added to the movie theatre version that ruins its reputation. On its own, popcorn is a low-calorie and nutritious snack you can easily take anywhere.
Most popcorns are only around 30-40 calories per cup, so you can go ahead and enjoy 2-3 cups if you’d like. It is a good source of whole grains, complex carbs for energy, and fiber for healthy digestion and blood sugar control.
It will prevent you from getting ravenous on those long car rides!
Boom Chicka Pop is one of my favorite popcorn brands (my boys love it too) and is only 40 calories per serving.
4. Protein bars
The right protein bars can provide quick energy and stave off hunger on your road trip. They are really easy to eat in the car and not messy, especially if they’re chewy instead of the crumbly kind.
My favorites are RX Bars or KIND protein bars. For more on protein bars and other kinds I love, check out my article on the 5 best protein bars for weight loss.
5. Peanut butter sandwich
Some good old PB (minus the J) is one of the best healthy road trip food options if you need something more substantial. Spread 1-2 tablespoons of all-natural peanut butter on whole-wheat or whole-grain bread, put in a zip-loc bag, and you’re good to go.
Peanut butter is rich in healthy fats and is a good source of protein and fiber.
You can feel free to add the J too – just be careful not to spill it, especially if you’re the driver!
6. Roasted chickpeas
When craving something crunchy or salty on the road, roasted chickpeas are a great option. Chickpeas are high in fiber, vitamins, and protein for a satisfying, portable, and delicious snack.
You can make your own roasted chickpeas at home or buy the premade kind such as Biena Chickpea snacks. I love the sea salt and habanero versions the most depending on my mood.
7. Sunflower, pumpkin, or sesame seeds
Seeds are a super simple road trip food rich in vitamins E, magnesium, and protein. Magnesium is a mineral that may help keep blood sugar levels steady, and the protein content will help curb your hunger longer.
Enjoy a handful of all or a mix of these seeds together on your next road trip.
8. No-bake energy balls
If you’ve never tried energy balls or bites, you’re seriously missing out! Practically anyone that knows me knows about my infamous peanut butter energy balls that I make on the regular.
Energy bites are typically a combination of oats, nut butter, a binding sweetener like agave or honey, and a mix of cacao chips, coconut, or other delish additives to marry all the flavors together. You mix them in a bowl and roll them into bite-sized balls.
They satisfy a sweet tooth while providing the sustainable energy you need for a long drive. For a recipe idea, check out my 5-minute no-bake energy bites with peanut butter.
Two balls are a good serving to aim for to satisfy while keeping calories in check.
9. Dried fruit
Dried fruit like raisins, craisins, or pineapple is a high-fiber road trip snack that’s incredibly easy to pack. Pack a handful into small ziplock baggies for a quick, energizing, and no-fuss car ride snack.
10. Premade protein shake
If you’re packing a cooler on your trip, you can bring premade chilled protein shakes as another option with you. Depending on your preference, there are plenty of healthy premade protein shakes available, such as Orgain Clean Protein or Owyn plant-based shakes.
I personally love the Orgain Clean Protein shakes, and they are available in whey or plant-based versions depending on your preference. Many of my clients also love these shakes and not only take on road trips but on their commute to work.
When looking for a protein shake that will fill you up without blowing your calorie budget, look for one with 150-250 calories and at least 10 grams of protein. I also recommend as little added sugar as possible, ideally less than 5 grams per bottle.
I hope this list of healthy road trip food ideas comes in handy for your next road trip adventure! It is possible to eat healthy while traveling and fully enjoy yourself at the same time.
With just a teeny bit of planning, you’ll be more in control of your eating habits and will feel your best while on the road (and beyond!). These healthy road trip snacks are not only great for long trips but can be kept in your car whenever hunger strikes.
Happy travels!! ~Melissa