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Top Ten Healthy Snacks for the Road

Top Ten Healthy Snacks for the Road. Road tripping? Bring along your healthy snacks!

Last week we spent 10 hours in the car from Lehi, Utah to Newport Beach, CA!  I knew I didn’t want to not stop along the way for food, so I planned accordingly.  It’s not that I think we couldn’t get healthy food ON the road (a post for tomorrow), but my husband and I really don’t like to stop once we get going.  You know, we’d rather get there! So we plow through, full steam ahead and bring our food instead.  Here is what we brought to eat, that I felt worked for us. Top Ten Healthy Snacks for the Road. Road tripping? Bring along your healthy snacks!

The plan was:

  • Breakfast: Hard boiled eggs, homemade muffins, yogurt, apple slices.
  • Lunch: Bagel sandwiches, string cheese, pretzels, carrots.
  • Snacks: Trail mix, oranges, dried fruit
Top Ten Healthy Snacks for the Road. Road tripping? Bring along your healthy snacks!

So, here is our new “Top Ten Healthy Food for a Road Trip”

  1. Hard Boiled eggs– I don’t know when my kids started loving these things, but they can’t get enough of them!  They were perfect for the road.  The protein and the good fat in them make them a filling way to start the day.
  2. Pre-sliced bagged apples!  Lucky for us, Chiquita had just sent us some vouchers for their bags of fruits or vegetables. I redeemed them for this trip, and they were perfect.  As with bringing whole apples, the bagged variety never got bumped around and bruised, they were easy to eat, and left no core behind!  Top Ten Healthy Snacks for the Road. Road tripping? Bring along your healthy snacks!
  3. Frozen water bottles–  My husbands idea really, but it worked great!  If my kids are holding a water bottle, they will literally drink it all in one gulp, and then have to pee every 20 minutes.  And since we don’t like stopping every 20 minutes on the road, freezing the water and letting it slowly melt, self regulated the drinking! They could hold their bottle, and take sips as it melted.  Genius!
  4. Baby carrots-  My kids have slowly been weaned off the NEED for dipping their carrots. Don’t get me wrong, they love to dip, but they will also eat them plain.  And with long car drives, the boredom and mindless eating sets in, and baby carrots are the perfect cure.
  5. Trail Mix- (single serving sizes).  You can make these yourselves, or buy trail mix in 1 oz bags.  I bought them this time, but we’ve done both.  I prefer the single serving because in the car, with everyone dipping their hands in a big bag, it tends to get messy.  And I love portion control!
  6. Bagel Sandwiches– I finally figured out the problem with bringing sandwiches on road trips.. THE BREAD!! On the road, bread gets squashed, limp, stale, whatever.  So I bought some pretty hardy whole wheat bagels, some deli meat, lettuce and provolone cheese.  The bagels held up well. I put the fillings on (we didn’t even need spread the bagels were super moist), and we ate!  I will never bring bread for sandwiches again on a road trip, only a hearty bagel!
  7. String cheese- Nice little source of protein, a little calcium.. and kind of a treat to my kids.
  8. Pretzels- While pretzels aren’t that special, and completely devoid of nutrients, they do make a clean snack, and after all.. we like clean snacks when it comes to road trips.
  9. Dried fruit (in little boxes). Remember when you only used to be able to buy raisins in little boxes?  Now you can buy anything.. dried apricots, dried craisins, dried apples, dried raspberries.  And if you really feel like forking out the money, you can get these boxes of dried fruit with Sesame Street Characters on them
  10. And our tenth best , healthy, road trip food,  Cuties!  While oranges get pretty drippy and messy, we’ve had good luck with the cuties.  And if you are my kids and are thirsty because your parents froze your water bottle… cuties are thirst quenching!

What not to bring:

  1. The muffins! Complete mess! They got squished, the bag tipped over, and then the kids stepped on them! Never again!!
  2. Candy– just makes the kids cranky and more thirsty!!

So, now you share… What works on your vacations or road trips?

Related post: Tired of snacking- check out our REAL MEALS ON THE ROAD!

Natalie Monson

I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

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I like packing wraps for our “sandwich” – they are not messy and wraps are a treat for us. We also do individual bags of veggies and bags if nuts. Thanks for the water bottle idea 🙂

Thanks for sharing these snack tips! I always seem to choose the worst snacks (like muffins) for a trip and then end up frustrated at the mess!

Great ideas! We like to toss in homemade granola bars in addition to some of the goodies that you’ve listed. I stay away from muffins too. Not so much because they get squished, but we end up with crumbs everywhere.

I am so glad you made this post! We are making the same trip in two weeks. We are traveling on Sundays, so my husband warned me we wouldn’t be stopping. Now I have the perfect food to bring! We like to bring beef jerky and dried fruit and nuts!

This is great, Amy! Just today I was trying to figure out how I was going to do my food for the drive to Minnesota later this week. I also dislike stopping.
I laughed hard at the water bottles/cuties at the end.
I think you covered every good snack I’ve packed before. I like the idea of the pre-cut and cleaned fruit for a road trip. I get tired of all the garbage piling up in the car.
Another great post!

my husband has to have a can of salted nuts open while he drives. Weirdo…

I don’t have anything else good to add. I always always choose the wrong thing and end up buying $2 bananas at the gas station. One time I tried a small bag of skittles that they could only have one of every time they saw an animal but it was in Lovelock so there was mostly just roadkill. It took us 26 hours to eat the whole bag.

Besides string cheese, we like to make our own bags of cut up cheese – jack, cheddar, colby – to go with the pretzels. If I’m exceptionally organized, there may be cookies or brownies – homemade is better.

I just found this post via pinterest. I know I’m late commenting, but we’ve been doing bagel sandwiches for a long time too. We get the mini bagels, because the regular size bagels are just too much for our little ones. We bring pepperoni (don’t have to worry about it getting warm in the cooler if it’s a long time between ice stops) and cheese sticks to put on the sandwiches. We just tear the string cheese into thick strips and lay it on there.
Another tip for portion control when using a big bag of crackers/pretzels/trail mix/etc is to purchase a package of bathroom size plastic cups and scoop out a cup for each child. In fact, we keep a stack of these in our car all the time for snacking in the car.

holy cow that’s an enormous amount of snacks for a 10 hour drive. does your family only snack? do you not stop for a meal? one of the most asinine blogs i’ve ever read.

Asinine? Really Jason? That’s pretty harsh. There are 5 of us. We brought all the food. it wasn’t all eaten, but no- we tried not to stop for a meal at all, as I mentioned in the post.

Snacking on long trips is better for us than stopping for meals. It saves both time and money, plus we don’t feel heavy and gross like we do after eating too much fast food. Also, spreading things out makes a long day go faster, and the kids will be asking for snacks all day anyway.

Great ideas! We have done lots of road trips and tried many snacks. We too prefer to snack and eat one large meal at the end of the day. My go-to’s are: boiled eggs, cheese, crackers, trail mix, granola bars, fruit of all kinds, and grass-fed beef sticks. Occasionally I break out packages of fruit snacks for fun 🙂

Great list! Definitely the best I’ve seen. The frozen water bottle is brilliant! I’m also a fan of bringing a jar of peanut butter and some spoons. I hate to admit this because it wouldn’t make the healthy list, but my kids get a real kick out of bringing a bag of white bread, and then compacting it into dough balls.

Grapes, uncrustable pb&j (they start out frozen so they last longer), Pringles (although not super healthy – the can makes them durable)

Great post! Homemade cookies and brownies cut into small squares works great for us. I took burgers along once and that worked out too. And o usually pack cheese spreads, jams, peanut butter and a loaf of bread. Though I love the idea of taking bagels instead!

We just finished our California road trip and although we packed sandwiches for myself and kids (you’re right the bread went yucky) my husband does sandwiches on the thin-wich bread and it worked really well. My kids also really like the squeeze applesauce.

We also take wraps over bread! Rice crackers work well with sliced cheese and smoked sausage our butcher makes without any preservatives etc. I also find as a treat homemade brownies work better than muffins or cookies as they don’t crumble as much. Frozen juice boxes are also a hit (but my kids are older…they can be messy for younger kids)

Strawberries are our favorite. Low sugar, high flavor, relatively clean, and super healthy. Between kids and parents we can happily put away 2 pounds in about 10 minutes. We do cut the stems ahead of time.