When you get hungry on a road trip, eating junk food is an easy fix. But with a little planning, it can be just as easy to eat healthy snacks on the road! You can plan to pack snacks—just like you plan to pack your clothes.

Use the following shopping list to pack your snacks wisely. That way, you can eliminate emergency junk food stops—and avoid a “snaccident”!


Here’s a list of simple, pack-and-eat foods…

  • Apples
  • Baby carrots
  • Berries
  • Celery, veggie sticks (such as red pepper and jicama) and cucumber slices
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Crispbread (such as Wasa or Ryvita)
  • Edamame
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Homemade popcorn
  • Low-sodium, whole-grain fruit and nut bars (such as KIND bars)
  • Pears
  • Single-serve peanut-butter packs (such as Justin’s or Crazy Richard’s)
  • Snack packs of your favorite unsalted nuts
  • Whole-grain crackers


These foods involve a little more work up front and will have to be put in travel containers or wrapped to go. And don’t forget—those containing cheese, yogurt, eggs or hummus will require a cooler for a longer ride.

Note: While these snacks are easy for passengers to eat, the driver will need to wait for a break to indulge in many of these snacks.

  • Almond butter (1 Tablespoon) on whole-grain crackers
  • Apple with peanut, almond or cashew butter (2 teaspoons)
  • Avocado toast—¼ of an avocado on a slice of whole-grain toast
  • Cottage cheese (½ cup) topped with blueberries and strawberries and 1 or 2 Tablespoons of slivered almonds
  • Crispbread (1 ounce) with tomato and ¼ cup of feta cheese
  • Hard-boiled egg and mixed veggies (red peppers, celery and carrots)
  • Lettuce wrap with 2 ounces of sliced turkey, sliced apple and mustard
  • Low-fat, plain Greek yogurt with blackberries and 1 Tablespoon of crushed walnuts
  • Hummus (¼ cup) with mixed vegetables (jicama, carrots, cucumbers)
  • Peanut butter (1 Tablespoon) on a rice cake
  • Popcorn (2 cups) with a handful of nuts and your favorite seasoning (try Old Bay, chili powder or a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese)
  • Whole-wheat pita bread (1 ounce) with ¼ cup of hummus and cucumber and tomato slices


Of course, water (or sparkling water) should always be your first choice, especially if you are driving to a warmer or drier climate or a higher altitude. But you can also pack some mini cans of low-sodium V8 juice—drink one for a quick a boost of veggie energy for less than 50 calories.

When you need a jolt of caffeine, opt for coffee (with low-fat milk or a milk swap such as unsweetened almond milk) over a sugary cola.

Make your own travel smoothie: If you’re feeling ambitious before your trip—and you have a thermos handy—make your own travel smoothie—blend ½ cup of blueberries and ½ cup apple with 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk or low-fat milk and ice.


You can also make your own healthy trail mix by combining a ½ cup of whole-grain cereal (such as Cheerios or Barbara’s Puffins), ¼ cup of roasted chickpeas, 2 Tablespoons of your favorite nuts and seeds and 1 Tablespoon of dried blueberries (or diced, dried plums for a sweeter taste).

Source: Lisa Young, PhD, RD, adjunct professor of nutrition and food studies at New York University in New York City. She is author of the upcoming Finally Full, Finally Slim: 30 Days to Permanent Weight Loss One Portion at a Time.

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